Following years of fruitless planning and endless disappointments, the fish pass is on course once again. The first steering group meeting was held on the 27th June, when it was announced that plans had been passed and a contractor had been appointed. It is hoped that the project will be completed before the end of the year and that it will take no more than 12 weeks. It will be situated on the south side of the weir.
The scheme, led by the Canal & Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency, is supported by the owner of the land, as well as the Don Catchment Rivers Trust, the Doncaster & District Angling Association and, of course, the Don Gorge Community Group.
The only thing holding up the start date is archaeology relating to the mill which stood on this site for many years, but discussions with DMBC are in hand and it is hoped they will not hold up the work for too long.
The pass will allow course fish to swim upstream, but the ultimate aim is to encourage salmon into the river. Once salmon are enabled to swim to new breeding grounds, their young will return there each year and they will gradually become established. Eels are also declining in numbers and it is hoped the population will increase as a result of easier access. Sprotborough weir is critical in this process as it the first one in the chain of weirs going upstream and one of the last to have a fish pass installed.
The current structure of the weir will be unchanged and the pass will be similar to one being constructed at Adwick-on-Dearne. A photographic/video record of the build process will be undertaken.
There will not now be a canoe pass, but conversations with the relevant clubs about portage above and below the weir are ongoing.
Topics put forward for discussion by the community group were:
Car Parking – this remains a priority for us, but will it ever be achieved?
Viewing Platform - likely
Landscaping of the area – possible
Signage and Interpretation Boards, QR signs, etc - likely
Educational Aspects - possible
Water meadow - possible
Tree Planting - likely
Volunteer involvement in maintenance of the site on completion - likely
Raised walkway – this may be a dream too far!
All these items were discussed with a view to incorporating whatever was possible, finance allowing. They may not all be possible immediately, but could become future projects.
It was agreed that Newsletters would be produced at different stages of the build to keep people informed of progress and these will be reproduced on this blog. Press releases and information boards will also be erected on the site.