Delivering the Nutrient Management Plan (DNMP)

After receiving initial approval in August 2016, we finally got the go-ahead for our "Delivering the Nutrient Management Plan" (DNMP) partnership project in January 2018.

Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, Environment Agency and Welsh Water, the project is rather less to do with nutrients than originally planned*. After 23 revisions to the project bid, DNMP now has three main areas of action:

Project objectives for the Foundation

For the Foundation, the major element of this project is a "Larinier" fish pass at Ballsgate weir on the middle reaches of the Lugg. This will be the first pass of this style that the Foundation has built.

Although some fish species could use the existing baulk pass, they could only do so in certain water heights. This might not have been such a problem if Ballsgate was the only weir in the Lugg system. However, there are so many that the river is often likened to Grand National for migrating fish species. Also included in the project is one smaller upstream “easements” on the Lugg and another on the Back Brook, a tributary of the Arrow.

While the fish passes will help migrating salmon, trout and grayling (Lugg passes), we will also be helping upstream migration of the endangered European eel. The plan is to install 100 metres of eel brushes on 8 Lugg and Arrow weirs.

Ballsgate Weir before Ballsgate Weir after

But the project is not just about upstream migration of fish species. Understanding of the importance of weirs in downstream migration has been growing in recent years. Young salmon (smolts) on their way to sea and brown trout are reluctant to enter water less than 12cm deep. In low flows shallow sill weirs can be a complete barrier to downstream migration.

Fish that collect above weirs in such conditions suffer heavy losses, where they are an easy target for a host of predators. During dry springtimes, the time of year when the majority of trout and young salmon migrate, it has been shown to result in as much as 100% predation in catchments with lots of weirs.

Within the DNMP project, the Foundation will cut and secured suitable notches into twelve Lugg and Arrow weirs that have been identified as barriers to downstream migration.

The Foundation has been allocated £273,196 of the £1,225,000 combined budget for all the project's partners. With this we will deliver the actions above by 2020.

Reports will be posted on this page as the project progresses. We are very grateful to our project funders, the European Regional Development Fund and our partners Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

* The main part of our original project was for farm advisory work but this was moved into another project leaving just the fish access work.

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