Brand new fish pass to be built on the River Calder

A new fish pass will be built on the River Calder, in Todmorden, as part of Yorkshire Water’s ongoing project to build 14 new passes in the region by 2020.

It will be built downstream of Yorkshire Water’s Eastwood Wastewater Treatment Works on an existing weir. The company is working in partnership with the Environment Agency (EA) and JBA Consulting.

The fish pass will provide ways for the fish to travel over and around man-made obstacles such as pipes and weirs to make the vital journey to and from their breeding grounds.

Yorkshire Water will be building a new, sloping face on the weir and installing a series of baffles to will create a gradient and flow suitable for fish migration. This means once again brown trout will be able to pass up and down the weir, the company hopes that opening up a new habitat and spawning ground will have a massive impact on the wider local environment.

Flood risk is a key consideration on this project, Yorkshire Water has had support and flood risk modelling data from EA flood risk officers in the Calder Valley. The firm has also considered flood risk when working on the design of the pass with JBA consulting.

Weirs help to control river levels to allow for easier boat navigation. However, when being built very little thought went into the negative impact they would have on the fish’s freedom of movement and many are now being removed or circumnavigated to help boost river fish populations.

Ben Gillespie, Lead Advisor of Hydroecology at Yorkshire Water said: “The fish pass we plan to build on the River Calder will make a real difference to the local environment, it will be vital in helping the brown trout swim freely along the river once again.”

“We’re pledging to build more fish passes across the whole of Yorkshire so that we can help shape the local environment for good.”

Joanne Kay at the Environment Agency said: The Environment Agency’s Joanne Kay said: “We’re continually working towards improving water quality, removing weirs and installing fish passes and this is a fantastic partnership scheme that will help improve fish passage along the River Calder.”
“Many species of fish move considerable distances up and down rivers in order to find the best places to feed, spawn or shelter, so anything that interrupts that, such as a weir, can severely affect their chances of survival.”

Yorkshire Water has pledged to build a total of 14 new fish passes across the region by 2020, committing £10m to the project and working closely with partner organisations to deliver this promise. Project locations include the River Aire, River Wharfe and rivers Hull and Don.

The fish pass is expected to be completed in November 2019.