Salmon have been discovered in new locations along the River Calder, including Towneley Park in Burnley and Colne town centre, for the first time in decades.
The news was celebrated by the Environment Agency and Ribble Rivers Trust, who are currently undertaking their annual fish surveys.
The discovery shows adult salmon migrated upstream from the sea over winter and went on to successfully spawn in the upper reaches of the Calder system.
The Trust has spent five years working in the Calder Catchment to remove barriers to migration, enabling fish to migrate to their preferred spawning grounds high up in the river system.
Catherine Birtwistle, Office & Publicity Manager for the Trust, said: “The fact that migrating salmon used all of these restoration features and went on to spawn successfully is testament to the Ribble Trust’s willingness to take on innovative projects in their strife to improve our rivers for the people and wildlife living in the catchment.”
The Environment Agency has worked for years to improve the Calder’s water quality, and in 2010 funded work on Padiham Weir to make it passable to all fish species in all flow conditions.
Another great example of how hard work and dedication of everyone working together to improve the local environment can really pay offBen Bayliss, Environment Agency
More recently, they funded work altering the Calder’s artificial, fast-flowing, cobbled river channel to create resting places for migrating fish, improving their chances of moving upstream through the town and reaching suitable spawning grounds.
Ben Bayliss, Environment Programme Manager for the Environment Agency said: “Seeing the benefits of the fish passage work so quickly is fantastic news and is another great example of how hard work and dedication of everyone working together to improve the local environment can really pay off.
“This really helps prove how much the water quality has improved over the years.”