Sunday 14 April 2024
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Drone views show completed Fish Pass at Colwick – the UK’s largest

The fish pass at Colwick ( Holme Sluices ) is now complete, these images and video shot from a drone on 16 March 2024 show the completed facility on the River Trent.

The fish pass is now complete, with all major works finished.

There are eight large weirs along the lower River Trent from Cromwell near Newark to Sawley near Long Eaton without a fish pass.

These barriers affect the natural migration of fish as they try to reach spawning habitat upstream into the Midlands.

Holme Sluices is the largest barrier and is owned and maintained by the Environment Agency.  Species that will benefit include salmon, lamprey, eels and other coarse fish.

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fish pass colwick holme sluices © westbridgfordwire.com 2024
© westbridgfordwire.com 2024

Holme Sluices spans the full width of the River Trent to the south of Nottingham and was built in the 1950s as part of a large-scale flood defence scheme.  It is a major Environment Agency operational structure that helps to protect Nottingham from flooding and controls river levels upstream.

It is the largest barrier to the natural migration of fish in the Midlands.  Alongside over 30 local partner organisations we have been developing an ambitious project to restore the River Trent and reconnect communities and wildlife within it – the third longest river in the country.

As part of the Lower Trent & Erewash Catchment Partnership, the Trent Gateway project aims to create a healthy watercourse that not only reduces flood risk and provides better wildlife habitats but also engages local communities about the natural and social history of the river.  The Holme Sluices fish pass is the first major project that will help towards the delivery of the Trent Gateway vision.

Fish Pass – February / March 2024

Stop logs were removed from both the inlet and the outlet for the first time at the end of January, allowing the radial gate to be tested under pressure.

When the gate is closed there is still a residual flow through the eel chute, as eels will travel against the direction of flow and tolerate very low water levels, this feature ensures that when the gate is closed no eels will become trapped inside the pass, and will be able to exit along the ramp.

fish pass colwick holme sluices © westbridgfordwire.com 2024
© westbridgfordwire.com 2024

The Environment Agency said:

‘Despite multiple delays from the unusually high number of storms resulting in extensive flooding this season, full commissioning was carried out at the beginning of February.

‘Following activation of the radial gate, the first flows entered the pass, bringing the structure up to operational levels in a startling 90 seconds.

fish pass colwick holme sluices © westbridgfordwire.com 2024
© westbridgfordwire.com 2024

‘There will now be a period of testing and training for the operatives who will operate the pass going forward, ready to hand over to Environment Agency control in the Spring.

‘Usage of the pass will depend on adequate water levels in the River Trent, meaning that there may be periods when the pass must close to maintain navigable levels in the main channel.’

The public viewing platform is almost complete, with most of the signage installed. The viewing platform features detailed information boards on the likely species of fish and aquatic life which may frequent the pass, along with bespoke artwork from environmental artist Steve Pardue illustrating the wider ecosystem associated with the River Trent.

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Public viewing platform with specially commissioned artwork

 

The blue resin visualises the path of the River Trent, with nine cast concrete blocks spread along the route.

These provide seating for visitors and also represent the locations of each of the large weirs that present barriers to fish migration without the work of the Trent Gateway project.

The block indicating Colwick Sluices is coloured red to provide context to the current location.

The mesh flooring and side panels are designed to allow visitors to see the channel, and hopefully spot any aquatic visitors. There are a few more items to install, once completed the platform will be open to the public.

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