Fish Passage

Finding sustainable solutions to fish passage barriers is one of the key ways we are connecting isolated fish populations to improve their resilience.

In order to thrive, complete different stages of their life cycles, and be resilient to climactic extremes, fish need to be able to move freely to enable access to different types of habitat. Centuries of human modification of rivers (e.g. water mills, weirs for abstraction) have left behind an array of barriers to fish and eels which would otherwise be able to migrate freely from the River Thames (and the sea) up and down the River Thame and its tributaries.

Our fish passage work spans both the main River Thame and its many tributaries and is thus varied in the scale of projects and target species. We are tackling fish passage barriers to bolster population resilience whist also addressing the complex issues of habitat degredation and water quality in parallel.

Work in the chalk stream tributaries includes brown trout as a key beneficiary. A recent example is our Stadhampton Mill Bypass Channel on the Chalgrove Brook. We are developing solutions to the remaining barriers on chalk streams and other tributaries.

On the main River Thame, fish passage barriers have a significant impact on fish including coarse fish species. Previous projects include, the Cuddington Fish Pass, and we are currently planning for and consulting on an ambitious fish pass project at Dorchester-on-Thames, near the confluence of the Thame and the Thames.

Our Trust is working on numerous fish passage projects of differing scales, with the support of our skilled partners to remove barriers to connect fish communities, extend habitats and provide more ecological resilience to the impacts of climate change.

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