• KWVR at Haworth

  • Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

    Rodley Nature Reserve Fish Pass

  • Green Ripples

  • Castleford Millenium Bridge

  • River Aire at Ferrybridge

  • Malham Cove

  • Saltaire

More weirs made swimmable!

Aire Rivers Trust has agreed to fund work to improve fish passage and reinstate connectivity on several small to medium-sized weirs on tributaries between Bingley and Malham. The work is being coordinated by Professor Jonny Grey, Research & Conservation Officer for the Wild Trout Trust, in partnership with the Environment Agency and various other organisations and land-owners.

Ideally, these redundant weirs would be removed completely to reinstate a more natural channel form and flow of water, plus transport of material (cobbles / gravel) downstream, and reduce flood risk. However, other surrounding infrastructure that potentially could be affected by complete removal requires some thought. The proposed solution at each weir varies slightly because of the differing nature of each beck and immediate environs. Most will be ‘notched’ in some format, i.e. the crest of the weir will be lowered in a specific location to create a focus of flow during low flow conditions.

Eastburn Beck has been a particular focus for related work (see blog post, here). The last in a series of privately owned weirs just below Glusburn Bridge was notched in May. Jonny noted that there were trout fry in abundance during the works – a good sign of the population bouncing back from the previous year’s unprecedented flooding that effectively scoured out all the eggs and juveniles. The weir owner was delighted! The notch will allow them better access both up and downstream, and also reduce the amount of stagnant water and silted sediment upstream in the formerly impounded section.

Image (1&2): Eastburn Beck weir, pre and post notching

Kirkby Beck is much smaller than Eastburn, and much higher in the Aire catchment at Hanlith. The weir is less than 10m upstream from the confluence and hence is an immediate obstruction on the system. The local farmer agreed to a notch and several hundred metres of fencing to prevent livestock access from degrading the beck banks, thereby improving the habitat at the land water interface for birds, mammals, insects and plants, as well as fish. The work was carried out in May when the beck had all but dried up! The aquatic organisms living in such ephemeral streams have evolved to cope with occasional dry periods in all sorts of ways; with a notched weir, now the fish can recolonise more easily after having migrated downstream to avoid the low flows.

Turbines at Chapel Haddlesey and Knottingley

Two hydros and fish passes are under construction on the lower Aire. Chapel Haddlesey The turbines have already been installed and the baffles for the fish pass will be delivered in early June 2017. The fish pass and the two Archimedes Screws are expected to be in use by the end of June. Knottingley The… Continue Reading

Walks around Bradford’s Becks

Friends of Bradford’s Becks have just published a (FREE!) guide to a series of walks around Bradford’s Becks. The booklet contains detailed guides to several walks around the area as well as background information on the becks, the wildlife to be found, the history of the beck and how to keep our watercourses clean. You… Continue Reading

Catchment Improvement Lead – an opportunity

The Aire and Calder Catchment Partnership, which is hosted by The Aire Rivers Trust, is  advertising a role to help lead the Partnership to the next stage of our development. With funding from Defra we are now looking to issue a contract for someone to lead the initial stages of delivering our Actionable Plan and… Continue Reading

A Place for SUDS

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) are much talked about these days, but  what are they and what is the point of them? Sustainable drainage mimics natural processes and reduces flooding by managing rainfall close to its source and wherever possible at, or near the surface. By building in permeable paving, channels, green roofs, swales, soakaways… Continue Reading

2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage

[mp_row] [mp_span col=”12″] 2017 – An important year for River Aire fish passage Work has been going on for a number of years to improve fish passage for migratory fish in the Aire below Leeds. This work has provided fish passes at Castleford, Lemonroyd, Fleet, Rothwell Country Park and Thwaite Mills. Fish passes are required… Continue Reading

Walking in the Aire

A new walking guide to the Aire has been published. Written by Lee Senior from East Morton, the small book details 14 walks, all in Airedale. More details of the book and walks, and of how to buy a copy, are available either in Lee’s blog or there is a short article in The Craven… Continue Reading

Upper Aire Project – another award!

The team running the Upper Aire Project have picked up yet another award for this great scheme. Here is what the Environment Agency, who have devoted considerable funding to the scheme,  had to say upon hearing the announcement: A pioneering scheme that is leading the way in improving some of Yorkshire’s best countryside has won… Continue Reading

Shoal removal

The EA have started a programme of removing some of the shoals (gravel banks) deposited by last year’s flooding. They tell us that this is an essential part of flood protection work. More details can be found in the attached briefing note from the EA – Shoal Clearance 2016 Continue Reading

Chapel Haddlesey update

Work on the weir at Chapel Haddlesey continues apace with some serious excavations adjacent to the weir. At the bottom of this post is an update from UK Hydro, the company which is building the hydro and fish pass on Chapel Haddlesey (CH) Weir. The weir is the bottom weir on the River Aire and… Continue Reading