Should we remove weirs?

Zerkalo

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Reading the AT and have seen this article lurking about for a few months.



It's not something I know much about. Clearly they stop fishing moving about, but they also make for good fishing spots?

What do you think?
 

Robwooly

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If they are redundant, maybe as they can block migration. However I've witnessed some very negative results after a double weir removal on a local river. It is not a step to be taken lightly and can actually eradicate certain species in an entire stretch
 

Ken the Pacman

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Something that will need to be dealt with on an individual basis because some weirs are essential to maintain river levels above and some are between salt and freshwater.
Cant see it being of much benefit overall as some have fish passes anyway like the one in Chester on the river Dee.
There was a counter on that one that was supposed to count the numbers of Sea trout and Salmon returning to the river but the local ducks used it as a water slide so I think the numbers were inaccurate.
 

mickthechippy

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better to spend money in improving the fish passes, though it really only benefits the game fish anglers
 

Lee Richards

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Most weirs are there for a reason such as to support a lock system,hold back the flow to enhance the environment - we fought a campaign for three years on the Lower Teme which if removed would have dropped the river to a perilous level for many miles, as a source of HEP and to hold back flow for power plant.
Probably many more but if manmade they were done for a reason and angling would not have been in most instances not one of the main ones.

"though it really only benefits the game fish anglers"
Not so as there is a major construction project on the Lower Severn/Teme to ensure fish of all species can navigate upstream to spawning grounds.
Once completed the Warks Avon is in the offing as being next and that is a million miles away from being a game fish anglers paradise.
 
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rd115

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Can you imagine the uproar if Cromwell weir was removed? The circus would be raging.
 

Neil ofthe nene

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Weirs and the locks that go with them were, I believe, created to make rivers navigable before the advent of the motor car.

C. S Forester gives a good description of navigating canals and rivers (Thames) around 1815 in a barge at the start of the book Hornblower and the Atropos.

I cannot see many inland boat owners being happy if we remove weirs and render rivers once more unable to support boat traffic.
 

Zerkalo

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They would have some job removing the weir on the Severn Tributary I fish as I believe it's structurally part of the road bridge. Although saying that, I imagine it would be some job to remove any weir? I believe the weir I fish is the first weir along from the Severn so that is as far as fish can get upstream but I could be wrong. Apparently there are plenty of fish upstream of it, closer to its source, too but I've not experienced that.

Thanks for the insights. (y)
 

Chervil

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BBear

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My view is don’t remove existing weirs and don’t build new weirs. Just leave rivers alone.
 

The Runner

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If they are redundant, maybe as they can block migration. However I've witnessed some very negative results after a double weir removal on a local river. It is not a step to be taken lightly and can actually eradicate certain species in an entire stretch
Think I might know what stretch that was' ; totally destroyed the roach fishing on what my mate who was in the controlling club reckoned was the best bit of the whole river for them.
Were proposals to remove a weir on our bit a few miles lower down which would have left the barbel swims upstream of it at most 18 inches deep on a good day. Thankfully its all gone quiet on the subject.
Smaller weirs at least aren't necessarily a barrier to fish migration either' More than once have watched dace heading upstream over ours
 

davepellet

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The canals and rivers trust has just completed work on removing weirs and installing fish ladders along the length of the river don throughout South Yorkshire, it’s supposedly to allow salmon to reach their ‘historic’ spawning grounds in the stretches thru the centre of Sheffield.

I contacted them to ask the reason and their answer was people are less likely to use the river as a dumpit site if they hear salmon are present... screw the grayling and wild brown trout that have been present for decades, they’d rather wazz money away on some ridiculous marketing stunt!

The real affect is that it’s buggered up a couple of stretches of the upper river as the levels have dropped upstream of where two weirs have been totally removed, rendering them more or less unfishable or void of fish for much of the year, the long term effect is yet to be seen, but you could argue that if salmon do return in numbers some of the free fishing areas lower down the river might very well suddenly become off limits to anyone not wanting to pay for a permit
 

Alantherose

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I don’t know much about it, but I would have thought there were better things to spend the money on when it comes to rivers, right?
 

Chris Calder

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Just leave them alone in my view, removing them would create barren areas where the fish decide to keep swimming upstream for a better environment.
 

The Landlord

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Something that will need to be dealt with on an individual basis because some weirs are essential to maintain river levels above and some are between salt and freshwater.
Cant see it being of much benefit overall as some have fish passes anyway like the one in Chester on the river Dee.
There was a counter on that one that was supposed to count the numbers of Sea trout and Salmon returning to the river but the local ducks used it as a water slide so I think the numbers were inaccurate.
Haha - I remember that...think it was known as The Salmon Steps.
 

dave brittain 1

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Just leave them alone in my view, removing them would create barren areas where the fish decide to keep swimming upstream for a better environment.
Chris, not necessarily upstream, fish would also migrate downstream to slower, deeper waters in winter.

I can see two sides to this one where they are removed increasing flow, desirable in low water summer conditions, however this would be offset by uncontrolled water abstraction to the point that the levels drop dangerously low.

Removing weirs may also help with spawning habitat creating more gravel runs and no obstructions for migratory fish to overcome.

It would allow the rivers to empty more quickly in spare conditions however what if there's nowhere for the fish to shelter. Add the fact that many fish will migrate to a slower deeper holding area in winter, what will happen with predation, noting otters and cormorants are to a degree reluctant to come into built up areas, often where the weirs are located which helps preserve some fish stocks?

If they are worried about migratory fish and river flow, why not tackle the two main issues instead of looking at an option that is fraught with unknowns.

Offshore fishing has irreparably damaged migratory trout and salmon stocks entering UK rivers and badly needs to be addressed. Add the predation of cormorants and otters which needs to be controlled by culling to control numbers to ensure fish stocks are protected. Both are controversial and have politics attached which is why the underlying issues that cause the problems are not addressed. Also what about water abstraction and farming nitrates washed into the river that affect the whole river eco system, yet another one that is too difficult for the governing bodies and politicians to address.

Instead of spending a great deal of money on projects that may or may not have benefits, they need to look at the underlying issues that are directly affecting our fish stocks today and tackle those.
 

Griffo

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The canals and rivers trust has just completed work on removing weirs and installing fish ladders along the length of the river don throughout South Yorkshire, it’s supposedly to allow salmon to reach their ‘historic’ spawning grounds in the stretches thru the centre of Sheffield.

I contacted them to ask the reason and their answer was people are less likely to use the river as a dumpit site if they hear salmon are present... screw the grayling and wild brown trout that have been present for decades, they’d rather wazz money away on some ridiculous marketing stunt!

The real affect is that it’s buggered up a couple of stretches of the upper river as the levels have dropped upstream of where two weirs have been totally removed, rendering them more or less unfishable or void of fish for much of the year, the long term effect is yet to be seen, but you could argue that if salmon do return in numbers some of the free fishing areas lower down the river might very well suddenly become off limits to anyone not wanting to pay for a permit
Don’t worry the EA aren’t paying for the fish passes on the Don, but they are making it part of project planning permissions, I was part of the project team that built the EFW plant on the Don at Rotherham 4years back we put a new bridge in over the Don to the plant and as part of getting planning approval we also had to put a fish pass in. Daft as that means salmon could get as far down or up as the weir in in Rotherham town centre?
 

MarkW

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When the lower Stour (Longham to Iford) was systematically dredged in the 60s/70s the water authority was forced to put in stone/gabion weirs after the drought year of 1976 as the river all but dried up. Some of those weirs have largely disappeared and one has been rebuilt. There has been work on a weir further up the river at Blandford to make a weir passable.
 
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