Fish set to scale heights not reached for over a hundred years at Wharncliffe Side, Sheffield

Yorkshire Water is about to start an exciting fish pass project at Wharncliffe Side, Sheffield, which, when completed will allow salmon, trout and grayling to move further up river than they have, possibly since the Industrial Revolution.

Three fish passes will be built bringing new life to the upper reaches of the River Don. This is the second project of a much wider programme of work which will see a total of £15m invested to create 14 new fish passes built across the region between now and 2020.

Contract partner Ward & Burke will start on the project this month with work set to be completed in July.

Trout and salmon are genetically programmed to swim as far upstream as possible to breed, often to the exact place they were born. However, previous changes to rivers and streams, such as building reservoirs or weirs to manage water levels for mills, have created barriers which stop fish migration.

The investment into the new fish passes also contributes to the Don Catchment River Trusts 'Salmon to Sheffield' project, which aims to return salmon to Sheffield for the first time in 200 years.

Dr Ben Aston, Yorkshire Water’s Lead Ecology Advisor said: "This is a great opportunity to improve the biodiversity of Yorkshire's rivers through an innovative partnership between ourselves, the Environment Agency, the Don Catchment Rivers Trust and our designers, Jeremy Benn Associates.

"Although there are only a handful of customers who live close to the working area, we'd like to assure them that we'll keep any disruption to an absolute minimum."

The fish pass is being built over the summer to take advantage of lower flows in the river which will make the construction easier. It also means the fish passes will be complete in time for the time of year when brown trout usually start their journey upstream to breed.

The company has recently completed a fish pass at Langsett Reservoir, near Stocksbridge and will be officially opening it in April this year to coincide with World Fish Migration Day.