24 October is World Fish Migration Day and Kier has been working as the lead delivery partner on the Unlocking the Severn project and is delivering fish passes at four weirs – Holt, Bevere, Diglis and Lincomb. The ambitious Unlocking the River Severn restoration project is being undertaken by the Canal & River Trust in partnership with the Severn Rivers Trust, the Environment Agency and Natural England.
It is the largest river restoration project of its kind in Europe, with funding from the National Lottery – awarded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the European Union LIFE programme. Overall, the aim is to unlock 158 miles of river for shad, a type of herring, to reach their natural spawning grounds once again.
The Bevere Weir fish pass has recently been completed and for the first time in 170 years river fish have free passage past the weir at Bevere. The works at Bevere included the construction of a 120m long naturalised bypass channel fish pass adjacent to the weir. The fish can swim up a gradually sloped rock-ramp channel around the weir. There are blocks cast into the base of the channel to slow the water and break up the flow and this creates conditions that fish can comfortably swim through.
Eddie Quinn, director of Regional Civils at Kier, said: “We’re thrilled to reach this major project milestone at Bevere and we now have three more fish passes to go – with Diglis the next due for completion. I would like to send my thanks to the team and our supply chain; the expertise shown has enabled us to reach this point and will benefit rare and endangered fish in the river.”
Jason Leach, programme director at Canal & River Trust “Opening Bevere fish pass marked the end of over 4 years of planning, development and construction. Next spring, we expect many migratory fish to be able to access the reaches upstream of Bevere and start to thrive. This has been a true partnership approach between us and Kier and has resulted in an amazing achievement.”