As part of our River Brosna Special Area of Study 2014, we visited the small hydroelectric station on the River Brosna at Clara on the 30th June 2014. This site is a major barrier to migrating salmon, trout and eels on the middle reaches of the River Brosna. There are two weirs and mill sites at Clara and this is the lower one, and is currently operating as a small hydroelectric station. There is no barrier to stop fish entering the tail race and migrating upstream into the dead end of the turbine draft tube. The fish pass on the regulating weir has no jump pool, and to make matters worse poachers had wedged a log into the lower pool of the fish pass which was preventing fish from passing upstream. We got a report about this being stuck in the fish pass a number of months ago, and it was still present when we visited it early this week. We removed it while were on site. The river Brosna has many problems but one of the most significant impacts on the river are these unregulated small hydroelectric facilities.
There are other weirs and small hydroelectric stations upstream from here and we will be investigating these , and other issues such as drainage maintenance and water quality issues, which continue to affect migratory fish populations in this river.
We are highlighting issues affecting this catchment as an example of the challenges facing rivers in Ireland, as a result of environmental pressures and poor management/regulatory enforcement. These issues have acted in combination with fish passage issues at the Shannon dams to ensure that salmon runs to this sub-catchment are now at negligible levels.The River Brosna is ideal for such a study as it unfortunately has all the significant pressures affecting Irish Rivers in this one catchment. By raising awareness of these issues and highlighting the failures of the regulatory agencies in addressing same, we hope to contribute to informing more effective management protocols for Irish rivers, and in particular rivers in the River Shannon catchment, in the future.