Restoring access to an Usk tributaryAll river fish need to migrate at various points in their life cycle or at various times of year. They do this for a variety of reasons: to spawn; to make best use of feeding opportunities and to take refuge from extreme flows are just three examples.

The rivers Wye and Usk are host to a number of species that need open, unhindered access upstream and downstream to thrive.

Obstacles to fish migration can be man-made (weirs, pipe bridges, dams, bridge footings) or natural (waterfalls and timber blockages, for example). All can have significant negative impacts on a river’s fish populations.

For more information on these effects and the situation in the Wye and Usk, please see here.

“Restoring access remains by far the most cost effective river management action that can be undertaken

The Foundation's Fish Access Work

Since 1996, the Foundation and its partners have embarked on an ambitious programme of restoring as much free access to A Foundation-built fish pass on the river Luggmigrating fish as possible.

Since then we have completed over two hundred “easements” on both rivers. These range from unblocking timber jams and removing old weirs to the construction of complex fish passes. In total, we have restored full access to over 800km of the Wye and Usk.

Restoring access remains the most important and by far the most cost effective river management action that can be undertaken on either river.


We are very grateful to the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and the many other organisations who have helped us in this area of our work.