The Aire Rivers Trust is delighted to announce that, working in partnership with the Environment Agency, we have secured development funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the next major phase of reinvigorating our river – DNAire.
This DNAire Initial News Release was issued 13th October 2017.
DNAire is an exciting project that will help restore the salmon to the Aire.
Why salmon? Salmon is an indicator species: their presence in a river demonstrates the river’s health and this species has an iconic symbolism.
The project includes installing fish passes on four large weirs on the river. These will enable the ‘Salmon to Skipton’ to return to their natural spawning grounds in the Aire’s headwaters. Other species, for example eels, will also benefit from the return of their migration routes along the river.
At the same time as improving the River Aire for wildlife, the scheme will work with local communities to deliver stronger engagement with the river. We will identify around a dozen places where our natural, built and cultural heritage come together and that we can use as ‘Focal Points” for a range of activities. We want local people to enjoy the river, to care for it and to understand it.
Finally, we will be linking with schools, universities and other training providers to offer education and training opportunities in engineering and environmental skills.
DNAire, a £1.8million project, is one of the latest moves after decades of work by many agencies, companies and individuals to improve the quality of the River Aire. Already, salmon are reaching Leeds. This project will develop the Aire as a hospitable environment for all levels of plant and animal life that will enable salmon, our indicator species, to thrive in the Aire once more.
The DNAire Project has a dedicated website with news, technical information and ways to get involved. Here’s the link.
Kevin Sunderland, an Aire Rivers Trust trustee, has spent his career pressing for the return of salmon and improvements to the river and said:
“This is the last link in a long chain of improvements and it’s time to open up the river once again for this iconic species the Atlantic Salmon. This project will make the river more attractive not only to fishermen but also to everyone who either lives near or wants to come and see how this great river has once again been restored to its natural glory.”
The Trust is deeply grateful to the Environment Agency for their tireless support in developing the scheme, without them it may not have been possible. Mark Scott, Area Director for the Environment Agency, commented:
“We are delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has chosen to support the DNAire project. We have worked with our partners for many years to restore and improve the River Aire and with this lottery grant we are finally within grasp of returning salmon to their historic habitat. This is wonderful news for the people and communities along the Aire and for the reputation of Leeds, Bradford and other key cities along the river.”
Chairman of The Aire Rivers Trust, Geoff Roberts, thanked national lottery players for their support:
“Without the players in the National Lottery schemes such as this would not be possible and we owe a huge debt of thanks to them all. There is a lot of work still to do, not least finding the 50% match funding that the project needs, but we are ready, willing and able to drive forward this magnificent opportunity for the benefit of the natural, built and cultural heritage of the river.”