Project works are expected to begin this week for the demolition of the Scotton Weir on the River Nidd in England. The weir removal project is led by river conservation charity the Wild Trout Trust and is one of the first programme-supported barrier removals to take place! At 75m wide and 4m high, it is thought to be the largest weir removal project so far in the UK.
The removal was selected by the programme because of its high ecological significance as it will open up 18km of river to migratory fish such as salmon, sea trout and European eel. Moreover, removing the weir will help to restore natural processes to the river. Restoring these natural processes will improve habitat conditions for invertebrates to colonise, which in turn will provide food for bird species.
Professor Jonathan Grey is a professor at Lancaster University and is project managing the Scotton Weir removal for the Wild Trout Trust. He said: “We are aiming to reinstate the natural flow regime to the river by removing the barrier, so if the physical habitat (eg the gravel and cobble) is where it should be and in better condition, then the biology will respond and the ecology of the river and on the land alongside will be more resilient as a consequence. More riverflies does not just mean more fish – bats & birds benefit as well, and more fish means better feeding for their predators too.”
Update: WTT Conservation Officer Jonny Grey was interviewed by the BBC about the removal of Scotton Weir on the River Nidd at Knaresborough. The interview was broadcast on Farming Today on the 28th of July at 7.07 minutes into the programme. The interview also appeared on BBC Look North.
More details are in this news item on the BBC website.