Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has asked Conwy County Borough Council to appoint independent consultants to investigate what measures can be taken to improve fish spawning grounds in a stream in the Conwy Valley.
Conwy County Borough Council’s scheme to reduce the risk of flooding to properties near Nant Cae Person, Llanrwst was completed last year.
The work was undertaken on the understanding that the stream continued to provide a natural gravel bed when it was completed so fish could spawn there and swim further upstream.
Mitigation work was planned during construction to re-use dredged material from the watercourse to provide a natural gravel bed.
However, the dredged material was not deemed suitable by the Council for use due to the presence of Japanese Knotweed and other foreign matter.
Six months after the work was completed, this part of the watercourse has insufficient gravel and natural habitat to support a healthy fish population.
NRW is asking the Council, as originally agreed, to restore some of the natural habitat and processes to improve the spawning grounds, while also ensuring that local homes continue to have adequate flood protection.
Tim Jones, Executive Director for North and Mid Wales for Natural Resources Wales, said:
“At the moment there is not enough gravel on the river bed, insufficient overhead vegetation cover, and the water flows too quickly so fish can’t spawn in this area or pass through it to reach the higher parts of the stream.
“The Local Authority has agreed to seek independent advice to find a solution that will encourage gravel build up and provide vegetation cover for the fish within the watercourse.
“We hope that the consultant’s report will show if it is now possible to reinstate gravel in the stream without increasing flood risk for people living nearby.”
Cllr Dave Cowans, Conwy’s Cabinet Member for Highways, Environment and Sustainability said:
“We have been working closely with NRW throughout this project and have agreed to share the findings of the consultant’s report with them.
“In addition, we will actively assist in the delivery of reasonable watercourse restoration actions as advised by NRW, subject to the availability of funding.”