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Major funding boost for River Aire regeneration project

Thursday September 12th, 2019

A project to revitalise one of Yorkshire’s longest river has been given a further boost after The National Lottery Heritage Fund announced today it had awarded a £714,000 grant to the Environment Agency to return salmon to the River Aire.Funding

The funding completes a package of £2.3 million that will enable the Developing the Natural Aire (DNAire) project to reconnect the ecology of the river by building fish passes on the last four high weirs below Gargrave, allowing salmon to return to the river for the first time since the Industrial Revolution.

All four fish passes – at Armley, Kirkstall, Newlay and Saltaire – will be installed in summer 2020 and will allow those salmon which already get as far as Leeds to finally reach their spawning grounds upstream of Skipton.

Using the return of salmon as a catalyst, the project will be carrying out an extensive community engagement programme that will reconnect communities to the river that led to those communities existing in the first place.

Over the next three years it will deliver a series of events with community partners, including working with:

  • Schools, helping to teach young people in river guardianship, so that they understand the importance of looking after our rivers and how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects are vital
  • Volunteers to clean up the banks of the river, removing litter and invasive weeds and making it a more welcoming environment
  • Walkers and ramblers to create a series of short self-guided trails illustrating locally important stories

The project will also train ‘citizen scientists’, who will monitor the river and report pollution.

The project also received £500,000 from Yorkshire Water as well as funding from the EA, Craven District Council, Bannister Trust and Garfield Weston Trust and others.

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