This month, thanks to funding from the Environment Agency Fisheries Fund, we have completed the removal of three boulder weirs on the Wellow Brook below Wellow, Bath.
The boulder weirs have caused silt to build up in the stretches above and between them which has had a negative effect on spawning gravels. The weirs also present a barrier to fish passage for smaller species of fish as they are only passable under heavy flow. The boulders had also begun to move in some places due to the passage of time and heavy Winter flows and caused unwanted erosion as a result. A great article by the South East Rivers Trust on how weirs affect fish populations in our rivers can be read here.
Removal of the barriers has restored river connectivity and has enabled more natural flow processes – where previously the stretch was all deep, laminar flow there are now riffles, potential spawning grounds and exposed gravel bars!
Further restoration work will be planned once the river has had a chance to recover and adjust over the coming year. These further works will ensure gravels are exposed and kept clean and that the stretch has more diverse in stream habitat for both adult and juvenile fish and invertebrate populations.
The project is part of BARTs Wellow & Cam initiative which involves a series of plans to improve the two rivers and their surrounding land management.
We are extremely pleased with the results and look forward to monitoring how the river recovers over time.
More photos to come!