Avon Water Homecoming Celebrations announced
Hamilton, Larkhall, Stonehouse and Strathaven
Four Salmon Homecoming events celebrating the much anticipated return of the iconic Atlantic salmon to the upper reaches of the Avon Water have been planned for May and June.
Taking place in Avon Water locations in Hamilton, Larkhall, Stonehouse and Strathaven, all ages are welcome to drop-in to the sessions, the details of which are listed below. Organised by the Clyde River Foundation, participants 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 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, South Lanarkshire. 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.
The Salmon Homecoming Celebration events take place on each day as listed below:
Smithycroft, Hamilton - Saturday 6 May, 11am-1pm
Millheugh, Larkhall – Saturday 13 May, 11am-1pm
Linthaugh Bridge, Stonehouse Park – Monday 5 June, 5:30-7:30pm
John Hastie Park, Strathaven – Thursday 22 June, 5:30-7:30pm
Dr Gemma Jennings, Community Engagement Officer at Clyde River Foundation explains, “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.”
She continues, “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.”
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 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,” says CAVLP Manager Donna Marshall.
She continues, “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 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, click the news items below and visit www.clyderiverfoundation.org/salmon-homecoming.