Salmon are spawning along the River Burn in North Yorkshire for the first time in 100 years thanks to the UK’s largest port operator, ABP.
In March 2016, ABP funded a project to remove a weir which had become a significant barrier to the upstream passage of migrating fish. The Breary Banks weir was originally constructed to supply drinking water to workers constructing Roundhill Reservoir before the Second World War. A full archaeological assessment took place, along with a geomorphological audit which was conducted by the Environment Agency. Both assessments concluded that the works to remove the weir could go ahead, opening up an additional 5.5 km of good quality salmon, trout and other salmonid nursery and juvenile habitat. The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust delivered the work and reports migratory fish now travel freely along the river, enabling them to reach pristine habitat in Colsterdale.
The project took place in order to mitigate the possible impacts on migratory fish resulting from the Green Port Hull Project, which was completed in January 2017. ABP established a partnership with The Rivers Trust to administer a grant fund of £180,000 for the purposes of delivering projects in the Humber River Basin that increase the chances of fish successfully migrating and spawning.
ABP contributed £15,000 to the £20,000 Breary Banks weir removal project, which, just over 12 months on, has already proved to be a success.
Tom Jeynes, ABP Humber Sustainable Development Manager, said:
“This project is a resounding success. Not only have we seen the return of bullhead fish but The Rivers Trust has also recorded salmon reds along the river for the first time in a century. This project has been extremely rewarding to work on and shows how collaborative working can really benefit the wider environment.”
Barry Bendall, Director of Water and Land at The Rivers Trust, said:
“We are delighted to have worked on this ground-breaking project with ABP, the Environment Agency and local rivers trusts, like Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust. The Humber estuary is a real superhighway for important migratory fish and this project has already demonstrated significant success. Connecting port development funding to ecologically beneficial projects, such as this one, will reap multiple benefits across the whole river basin, for both people and wildlife.”