Ribble Rivers Trust is carrying out important river restoration work at Samlesbury on the River Ribble, which involves removing a redundant gauging weir adjacent to Brockholes Nature Reserve. Lowland rivers such as the Ribble at Samlesbury are often heavily influenced by human activity and are subject to man-made barriers such as weirs which no longer provide any function. While Samlesbury Weir is a low-head structure, fish are forced to expend energy to move upstream, especially those with poor swimming ability. Additionally, in low flows fish are exposing themselves to excessive predation.
The removal of this barrier will promote natural river processes, allow free movement for local and migratory fish species, and improve population resilience. A number of rare and endangered species, such as smelt, lamprey, and eels will benefit from the removal of this structure. Fish are not the only benefactor of this project as pre-works invertebrate surveys have shown. The upstream habitat is degraded due to the impoundment and the removal of the weir has great potential in improving habitat complexity. This will lead to a greater abundance of invertebrates and a wider diversity of species, which will also benefit other riverine creatures which forage for them.
River restoration projects such as this involve the reversal of human influence by restoring the natural state and function of a river and, as the widest weir removal in England, will have maximum benefit to the Ribble, its tributaries, and the wildlife that are dependent on it.
This project is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, and Ribble Rivers Trust are looking forward to working with Wade Group, a local family-run company, who will be carrying out the works.
Please click here for updates on our ongoing and soon to start works and for updates on the current COVID-19 work position.