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Barrier to fish migration removed on Levern Water

Date published: 13 March 2024

Partnership working

River quality and biodiversity have been boosted by the removal of Crossmill Weir in Barrhead.

A project to remove an industrial-era barrier to migrating fish on the Levern Water has been successfully completed. The removal of Crossmill Weir was part of a wider river restoration project along the Levern Water in Barrhead, Glasgow and will help to make the river a better environment for nature and the local community.

In addition to opening up 4km of quality spawning habitat to migratory fish like Atlantic salmon, the work at Crossmill has restored the physical condition and ecological status of the Levern Water as designated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) from ‘poor’ to ‘good’. Longer term benefits include reduced flood risk downstream, increased resilience and diversity of the local ecosystem upstream and increased fish stocks for local fisheries and fishermen.

To deliver the project, a partnership was formed between East Renfrewshire Council, SEPA and Green Action Trust, with support from the local community and the Clyde River Foundation.

Funding was provided by the Open Rivers Programme and by the Water Environment Fund, which is administered by SEPA on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Karen Sutherland, Technical Director at the Green Action Trust, which project managed the works to completion, commented:

“It’s been fantastic for Green Action Trust to play a part in restoring the Levern Water to its pre-industrial condition, providing more habitat for salmon and improving the quality of the river.

“Projects like this one play a vital role in the ongoing efforts to restore habitats and improve environmental quality across the wider Central Scotland Green Network.

“It’s also wonderful to see the positive effect that the weir removal and wider river restoration project has had on interest, engagement and access to nature in the local community.”

SEPA’s Lucie Stewart, River Restoration Specialist for the Water Environment Fund, said:

“Projects like this are vital to restoring the health of Scotland’s rivers and are a testament to what can be achieved when we work together. 

“With migratory fish now able to enjoy unimpeded access to spawning and feeding grounds in the Levern Water, we look forward to their return in the not too distant future.

“SEPA will continue to support this essential work, with the Water Environment Fund enabling more rivers to be opened up across Scotland.”

For more information about the project. 

Notes to editors

This is a partnership press release. For further press information, please contact the Green Action Trust.

Green Action Trust

The Green Action Trust is Scotland’s leading environmental regeneration charity and the trusted delivery partner for the Scottish Government and a wide range of stakeholders including local authorities, regional partnerships, landowners, environmental groups and local communities.

The Trust provides bespoke solutions to support action on climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental inequality linked to national policy across a range of sectors. We are also responsible for delivery of the Central Scotland Green Network, a 40-year programme and one of the largest green infrastructure initiatives in Europe.

Open Rivers Programme

The European Open Rivers Programme is a Dutch grant-giving foundation funded by Arcadia. The foundation aims to restore endangered European rivers by supporting interventions that lead to the removal of small dams and the restoration of river flow and biodiversity.

Central Scotland Green Network

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is one of 18 national developments for Scotland included in the Scottish Government’s fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4).

The initiative is designated a national priority. With an all-encompassing remit, far beyond just a ‘green initiative’, the CSGN aims to improve the social, physical, cultural and environmental health and well-being of Central Scotland, as well as assisting the area to meet the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.