• Outdoors Outdoors

Officials rejoice as salmon spawn for first time in 100 years following dam removal project: 'It's very rewarding'

"They became sort of local celebrities really."

"They became sort of local celebrities really."

Photo Credit: iStock

After more than 100 years of being blocked from the area, Atlantic salmon have been able to spawn in the upper waters of the River Derwent, thanks to the removal of a weir in their way, Phys.org reported.

Salmon are some of the most well-known species of fish that spend their lives at sea but swim up rivers to lay eggs and hatch the next generation. Atlantic salmon, which can be found in the North Atlantic Ocean, used to spawn in many rivers, including the River Derwent.

However, in the last few centuries, humanity has had a massive impact on rivers. In addition to being polluted, many rivers have been dredged, straightened, or dammed, physically destroying the routes of spawning salmon. The rising temperature of the planet, which has caused droughts and dried-up rivers, has compounded the problem.

Now, though, many people are working on restoring these aquatic routes so that salmon can once again swim upriver as they are driven to do, hopefully increasing the dwindling salmon population.

Locals in England had been working on the health of the River Derwent for years. However, Phys.org revealed one remaining barrier: the Snake Lane Weir, a low dam meant to raise the water level upriver from it.

"We'd started to see large salmon turning up in the Derwent in winter," said Dr. Tim Jacklin, a conservation officer for the Wild Trout Trust, per Phys.org. "They became sort of local celebrities really. People were going out with their head torches at night and looking into the river. … So they attracted quite a lot of attention. But it also highlighted the fact that Snake Lane Weir … was a complete barrier to fish getting upstream."

Spurred by this knowledge, locals removed the concrete weir and replaced it with boulder rapids that would do the same job while allowing fish upriver to where it becomes the Ecclesbourne, Phys.org explained.

"It's very rewarding," said Jacklin. "We opened up a good [6.2 miles] of spawning habitat upstream, so that translates into hundreds more juvenile salmon that make their way downstream and hopefully to come back and spawn."

This is great news for the fish and also for everyone who relies on the salmon population for food.

Join our free newsletter for cool news and cool tips that make it easy to help yourself while helping the planet.

Cool Divider