Environment Agency plans for River Don recovery

Posted: Tuesday 8th May 2007

Environment Agency staff have unveiled a project of improvements planned for the River Don over the next five years.

The plans include installing a fish pass at Sprotbrough weir, further stocking of barbel, and working with Yorkshire Water to improve sewage treatment systems at Blackburn Meadows and Aldwarke.

Staff have put together the plans following last year’s pollution in the river which killed thousands of fish at Mexborough.

Environment manager for the Don, John Housham said: “The water quality in the Don is generally at a high standard and it can support a wide range of wildlife. By boosting the river’s fish population it will attract different species of wildlife to the riverside and help the Don’s natural recovery.”

The Environment Agency has already secured £32,000 for the project, and £13,000 of this has already been allocated to angling clubs for restocking. It hopes to secure the rest of the funding from partners and lottery grants.

Staff will carry out some of the restocking this year, however the fish pass will cost more than £100,000 and is a long-term project. John says the work is important to help fish move up and down the river system.

“We have done a lot of work to improve the river’s wildlife habitats but the fish are isolated in parts of the river because there is this major barrier at Sprotbrough. We want to change this by installing a fish pass to allow the fish to move freely.

”The River Don is a valuable conservation and recreational area, and we are doing all we can to help preserve this.”

Around 25,000 roach, dace, chub and bream have already been stocked in the river since the pollution incident last July.

Fish were killed when a lengthy period of dry weather followed by intense rainfall caused sewage to get into the river near Rotherham.

The Environment Agency had to deploy equipment to pump hydrogen peroxide into the river to increase the oxygen levels so the aquatic wildlife could survive.

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