Rather smaller in scale than the record-breaking demolition of the PNW’s Elwha dams, but probably no less significant for other reasons, is the very recent installation of a £300,000 multi-species technical fish and eel pass on the previously-impassable Hadfield weir in Sheffield.
Via the Don Catchment Rivers Trust and A Torn Construction comes this fascinating step-by-step video for anyone trying to visualise the construction of a Larinier pass, complete with eel tiles, on a 150 year old historic weir.
What’s not so obvious, even to the trained eye, is the project’s background: at least two years’ diplomatic hard labour by DCRT directors David Rowley and Chris Firth, author of the totally-comprehensive Domesday to the Dawn of the new Millennium: 900 Years of the Don Fishery.
“As recently as April we’d become convinced that there was no hope of getting this pass built,” Chris told us at last week’s Living North Sea plenary conference, at which the project won the Rivers Trust’s coveted Award for Contribution to Fisheries and the Environment.
“But then the owners of the Meadowhall shopping centre suddenly changed their minds, gave us the go-ahead, and now we’ve got a finished fish pass.
“Our agreement with the landowners also includes maintenance in perpetuity, thus addressing one significant problem that’s already been encountered elsewhere on the river. So this a major success for fish passage on the Don, but the Trust’s work doesn’t end here: we still need to tackle another 12 impassable barriers above the massive Sprotborough weir in Doncaster.”
Update: the Don Catchment Rivers Trust have now posted a higher-quality video on their site: click here to watch.