Fish friendly at Leeds beck

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Trout and salmon swimming upstream to reach spawning waters are being helped on their journey.

A fish easement has been created on Guiseley Beck in a £55,000 project led by Yorkshire Water with aid from the Environment Agency.

PROJECT: Fish easement at Guiseley Beck.

PROJECT: Fish easement at Guiseley Beck.

The scheme involved contractor Fishtek installing pre-barrages downstream of the weir to allow fish to navigate it and swim further upstream.

Mark Tinsdeall, Environmental Manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “The easement we have created on Guiseley Beck will allow fish including trout and salmon to swim upstream beyond the weir to reach their spawning grounds.

“Removing this obstacle is another important step in the journey to providing a healthy and resilient river which will encourage the return of the majestic salmon to the River Aire.”

Many weirs were created 125 years ago to help hold flood waters back, as well as controlling rivers levels to aid boat navigation. But little attention was paid to how they would negatively impact on fish’s freedom of movement. Many are now being removed to help boost river fish populations.

Pete Turner, Fisheries Officer at the Environment Agency said: “The quality of the water in our rivers and streams has never been so good and fish are thriving because of it.

“It’s fantastic that organisations like Yorkshire Water are actively addressing barriers to fish movement which are on their land. In the future I’m sure that this work will contribute to even better, more resilient fisheries in the area.”

Yorkshire Water has pledged to build a total of 14 new fish passes across the region between now and 2020, committing £10m and working closely with partner organisations to deliver.

Projects will be carried out on the River Aire to help salmon travel upstream, as well as on the rivers Wharfe, Hull and Don.