Dunmere Camel Connection

Assessing the feasibility to remove the Dunmere Weir and open 6 km of river.

Introduction

The Lower River Camel, winding through Cornwall’s captivating landscapes, tells a tale of ecological diversity and cultural heritage. Originating from Bodmin Moor, this 30-mile journey weaves through charming villages, verdant valleys, and diverse ecosystems. Marked as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC), it hosts otters, Atlantic salmon, and rich birdlife. The region’s historical and cultural treasures, intertwined with centuries of human settlement, add to its allure. Yet, the challenge lies in balancing human activities with sustainable practices to preserve this precious environment.

At a glance

Project typeDam removal: pre-demolition
Project statusLive
CountryEngland
RiverCamel
Potential km to be opened6
Focal speciesAtlantic salmon and seatrout, bullhead, eel, otter and kingfisher

Project context and opportunity

The River Camel project in Cornwall revolves around the potential to remove weirs to benefit the river and its ecology. Historically constructed for various purposes, these weirs have introduced ecological and hydrological challenges, disrupting the river’s natural flow and hindering fish migration. Addressing these weirs provides an opportunity to restore the river’s dynamics, enhance biodiversity, and bolster local fish populations. It also improves habitat connectivity, mitigates flood risks, and balances historical significance with ecological restoration. As climate change impacts escalate, restoring natural flow patterns through weir removal becomes crucial for the river’s resilience. This project offers a multifaceted approach, fostering a healthier and more resilient river ecosystem while engaging the community in shaping its future.

Project aims

The project’s main objective is to commission designs and flow modelling for options identified in the Dunmere weir impact assessment, aiming to restore the river’s ecological integrity and hydrological balance. The focus is on strategically dismantling the Dunmere Weir to generate positive impacts for the environment and local communities. The project prioritises enhancing the river’s ecosystem health by reinstating natural flow patterns, promoting fish migration, and improving water quality for increased biodiversity. Weir easements and removal facilitate sediment and nutrient movement, supporting stable riverbeds and sustaining flora and fauna. The initiative benefits fish populations and recreational fishing and reduces flood risks downstream. The revitalised river becomes an attractive destination for outdoor activities, contributing to local economies and enhancing resilience to climate change. While respecting historical significance, the project harmonises cultural heritage with ecological restoration, aiming to create a balanced environment for future generations. Overall, the River Camel project seeks to reclaim the river’s natural rhythm, fostering thriving ecosystems, mitigating flood risks, and ensuring long-term sustainability.

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