We will never be able to remove the dams at Ardnacrusha and Parteen – too much development has taken place on the flood plains. I took this drone shot in January 2016 at the University of Limerick when the ESB were spilling 440 cumecs at Parteen weir – and another 400 cumecs was going down the headrace! The Shannon scheme will always need to be used for flood management. Sustainable management is the best that we can get.
This is what this campaign is about – sustainable management and compliance with the EU Habitats Directive and Water Framework Directive. It’s not too much to ask – and ESB should be doing this already.
The photo below is of the fish pass at Parteen Regulating Weir in January 2020 – blocked! It is always like this – and the trap is only opened to collect broodstock. How can salmon be possibly expected to use this? Why are we not all demanding a major change in how ESB is managing this river and its fish populations? This is just one of a myriad of problems that are all down to bad management. I have been raising the issue of Parteen Fish pass for over 20 years. We have to take this trap out and let more water down the pass. This would cost nothing to do. But there is no change because there are not enough people asking for it.
A new fish pass at Parteen Weir linked into the 10 cumec “compensation flow” would also be no better for salmon than just operating the existing pass effectively. Irish Water are offering nothing that should not be done immediately anyway. We need much more of course – but we need to sort out the problems on the Lower River Shannon before we start talking about taking water to Dublin!
Despite this being the Lower River Shannon SAC, ESB were abstracting >96% of the water for hydroelectricity generation during January 2020. Water is abstracted at Parteen Regulating Weir severely reducing flows along >15km of Natura 2000 river. The ‘Year of the Salmon’ came and went; the Habitats Directive, Water Framework Directive and Eel Regulation came into force; but the River Shannon is still being managed in the same way as it was in the 1930s!
Let’s make 2020 the ‘Year of the Shannon Salmon’.