LIFE Dee River, a European project funded under the LIFE programme has helped build a river gate on a weir, which quickly led to easier migration for young fish on the renowned river. Young fish can now swim across the weir. It positively impacts their survival rates and the wider river ecosystem.
The LIFE Dee River project has successfully installed
a custom river gate on the River Dee in Chester (Wales), aiding salmon and sea trout migration. The gate, built around a weir notch at the river's tidal limit, allows young fish to move freely as part of the restoration effort.
The previous dysfunctional gate had caused delays for young fish migration. But shortly after its installation, video footage showed them using the new gate. Gethin Morris, Senior River Restoration Officer, highlighted the importance of river connectivity and improved access for fish migration. The gate's stainless-steel design, operated by a winch, prevents fish from accumulating and serves as a vital route for downstream juvenile fish.
The gate is part of the broader LIFE Dee River restoration program, contributing to the preservation of fish populations and ecological balance.
Many angling clubs around Europe are engaged in campaigns to support dam removals and are also leading projects to remove dams
and improve fish migration. Fish ladders and gates are useful solutions to improve fish migration ways, but when and where it is possible, barrier removal should be favoured as the most impactful way to restore river continuity which provides benefits for the aquatic life, beyond fish migration. There are more than one million barriers in European rivers and about 10 % of them are obsolete.