It summarises an extensive and innovative programme of work carried out by APEM on the River Worfe, on behalf of the Severn Rivers Trust. Detailed surveys on the ground had previously identified more than 70 potential barriers to fish in the Worfe catchment, such as weirs and sluices, as part of the River Worfe Restoration Initiative.
Limited by both budget and timescale, the Trust needed to find a way to make it easier for fish to move throughout the Worfe and its tributaries. APEM therefore conceived a prioritisation strategy, aiming to deliver fish passage at priority locations in the catchment, in a timely and cost effective manner.
A number of factors were considered, including how difficult the barriers were for fish and other species to pass, where they were located, and whether there were protected or invasive species in the area.
Work by APEM whittled the 70 barriers down to 20. Ten of these were identified as high priority sites and fish passage options and feasibility studies were prepared for them.
Fish passage improvements were ultimately carried out at five structures, including one weir being completely removed and another partially removed, plus the construction of a multi-species pass on a Crump weir and two eel ramps.
Dr Stewart-Russon said: “This has been one of my favourite projects while I’ve been at APEM, because we were part of the process at every step. Starting out with identifying the presence of potential barriers to fish we worked alongside the Severn Rivers Trust to culminate in undertaking five mitigation measures.
“It was a real group effort, with a full walkover survey of the catchment by APEM’s field team that identified the potential barriers to fish in the catchment, through to the design and construction of fish passes.
“It is great to get recognition of the importance of work to allow fish to return and move easily within their habitat. I would like to thank the Institute of Fisheries Management for the generous prize money, which we have donated to the Mahseer Trust to support the excellent work they are doing to conserve these iconic fish.”
If you have any queries, please contact Paul Gratton, principal fisheries scientist.
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