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Salmon homecoming events

Published Tuesday, 02 May 2017

Avon Barriers project - Ferniegair Weir near Hamilton

Four special events have been set up to mark the return of the iconic Atlantic salmon to the upper reaches of the Avon Water.

In May and June along the Avon Water in Hamilton, Larkhall, Stonehouse and Strathaven, there will be four Salmon Homecoming events celebrating the much anticipated return of the iconic Atlantic salmon to the area.

All ages are welcome to drop-in to the sessions which are being organised by the Clyde River Foundation. Everyone attending will be able to find out more about their local stretch of the Avon Water through live demonstrations of electrofishing, aquatic invertebrates and fishy crafts and games.

The Salmon Homecoming Celebration events are at:

  • Smithycroft, Hamilton - Saturday 6 May, 11am-1pm
  • Millheugh, Larkhall – Saturday 13 May, 11am-1pm
  • Linthaugh Bridge, Stonehouse Park – Monday 5 June, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • John Hastie Park, Strathaven – Thursday 22 June, 5:30pm-7:30pm

The riverside events form the final phase of the Salmon Homecoming project, which has so far seen almost 500 school children from 21 local schools connect to their river through a range of hands-on environmental activities including raising a close relative of the salmon – the brown trout – from eggs to fry in school.

It follows the recent completion of the Avon Barriers project which saw two obstacles to migratory fish made passable by the creation of natural rock fish passes on the sites of Millheugh and Ferniegair Weirs near Larkhall and Hamilton.

The Salmon Homecoming project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and the Greggs Foundation, and is delivered by the Clyde River Foundation.

Dr Gemma Jennings, Community Engagement Officer at Clyde River Foundation said: “This Salmon Homecoming for the Avon Water is an opportunity for us to celebrate the River Avon and shine a light on some of the wonderful wildlife that lives there, including the Atlantic salmon, a protected species which migrates as far as Greenland before returning home to breed.

“Salmon, once extinct in the River Clyde catchment due to pollution, are now returning in numbers but they still cannot reach the entirety of their natural spawning areas. The modification of Ferniegair and Millheugh Weirs on the Avon is a major step forward and is of national importance for the species. The Avon is a stunning river and we hope these events help promote its stewardship so it can be enjoyed by all.”

And CAVLP Manager Donna Marshall, added: “The Salmon Homecoming Celebration events with the Clyde River Foundation provide a fantastic link to ensure the broader community get involved in understanding the improvements and caring for their river.

“Rivers are such an important part of our daily lives and yet it is a connection that is easily forgotten. They’ve shaped the landscape in the Clyde and Avon Valley, and local towns have often been designed around them.  Given how important rivers are for our everyday lives and our environment, we’ve all got a role to play in making sure our rivers are as healthy and cared for as they can be.”

The Avon Barriers project was funded by Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA’s) Water Environment Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) and was delivered by Rivers and Fisheries Trust Scotland (RAFTS) in association with South Lanarkshire Council, Clyde River Foundation, anglers and local communities.

The flagship engineering project that saw the creation of fish passes at Ferniegair and Millheugh Weirs in 2016 has led to the upgrading of Water Framework Directive status of eight rivers, six of which will achieve high status.

For more information please go to www.clydeandavonvalley.org and www.clyderiverfoundation.org/salmon-homecoming.