South Yorkshire Salmon Revival

by Don Catchment Rivers Trust in Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

Total raised £50

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+ est. £12.50
£314,440 target 306 days left
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Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 31st March 2025 at 12:00pm

To ensure the future survival of Atlantic salmon in South Yorkshire by enabling the migration of this inconic species

by Don Catchment Rivers Trust in Sheffield, England, United Kingdom

The story of salmon in the river Don

Once abundant in the Don catchment, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) became extinct 200 years ago, around the time of the industrial revolution. This was due to the number of weirs built across the river that obstructed the migration of salmon, and the severe pollution caused by the burgeoning populations of Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Chesterfield. With improvements in water quality and a 20-year, multi-partner effort to ease fish passage over weirs, salmon are now starting to find their way back towards their natural breeding grounds in the upper reaches of the Don catchment. This however is only the beginning of the story…


A map showing the current status of barriers to the upstream migration of Atlantic Salmon on the River Don


            One of the first salmon in 200-years found at Salmon Pastures                                  on the River Don in Sheffield. This female hen had been found                                        to have spawned (photo credit: Environment Agency)

Continuing this journey...

Now that salmon have made it back to the Don Catchment, we need to ensure that a healthy population re-establishes in the catchment. To that end it is essential that salmon can easily migrate through the Don, and we need a better understanding of how salmon are doing in our river. Our project will: 

  • Undertake two feasibility studies at two remaining barriers to salmon, Oughtibridge and Middlewood Weirs, to establish what fish passage solutions are needed at these weirs - for example, can they be removed, or do fish passes need installing. These two weirs are downstream of good spawning habitat for salmon. They are challenging weirs to address and Ground Investigations will be required to establish what the river bed and banks are made of.
  • Notch six weirs on the River Don. Once salmon have successfully bred, the offspring will live in the Don until they reach the stage (during which they are called smolts) when they are ready to migrate downstream and out to sea. Studies have shown that smolts are reluctant to swim over weirs, and as they accumulate upstream of weirs many are eaten by predators. The notches in the weir crests make it easier for smolts to overcome these barriers and reach the sea.
  • Install a salmon counter on an existing fish pass. This will allow us to take an annual census of the adult salmon migrating up the Don. This information, combined with data we’ve collected via electrofishing surveys (as pictured), will give us insight into the effectiveness of our current fish passes, whether salmon are successfully breeding and if not, and what factors might be affecting this and what can be done to improve habitats. 

 Be a part of re-establishing this iconic species back into South Yorkshire!

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