Michael Clyde

Removing the Merhyr Vale weir

Location: Merhyr Vale, Wales

Last week I visited the river taff and met Michael Clyde from Natural Resources Wales. He showed me around the river Taff. The important task Michael has is to improve the  improve the water quality and the ecology of the river Taff for people and also, for wildlife.

The highlight of the day was the Merhyr Vale weir, named after its location the town Merthyr Vale, south-Wales. The weir was the last significant remaining barriers in the river Taff for migratory fish. In removing the barrier the future of the river Taff aquatic ecosystem is not as bleak as it used to be, by ensuring better habitat connectivity. As and added benefit the risk of flooding in the area is reduced, due to the ampel “room” the river now has for natural fluvial processes.

Natural Resources Wales started digging in May and the removal of the weir goes on for 12 weeks. When I visited, I saw the removal of the weir in action. With exceptional skill the digger operator is removing the last remaining part of the weir. In the video you see how he reinforce the river bank with rocks. Making sure the river flow stays the same and does not affect the land at all. So even though this dam removal is taken place in an urban environment, the only consequence is that fish can migrate with ease.

Expected is that; after the removal the river will soon start to adjust to its new flow. Moving gravel around and making new shallow and deep pools for fish to hide in. Making a better environment to give fish a fighting change to more upriver to the spawning grounds.