Environment Agency staff have rescued hundreds of fish which were in danger of being stranded following emergency works on a bridge that carries the Rea Brook in Sutton, on the southern outskirts of Shrewsbury.
Cracks appeared in the bridge at the end of January, indicating that the bridge is starting to fail. Shropshire County Council needed to carry out the work to repair the bridge with the assistance and support of the Environment Agency, as the work involves a watercourse. The embankment above the bridge also carried utilities, including a gas main.
Work is well underway to divert the watercourse. Shropshire County Council excavated a section of new channel which, together with the existing mill leat, will carry the Rea Brook while the bridge is repaired.
Shropshire County Council are now almost ready to divert the brook into the its new channel. But diverting the brook would leave hundreds of fish stranded in pools of water as the original course of the brook dries up.
So, Environment Agency officers used specialist electro-fishing equipment to lightly stun the fish, making them easier to catch using nets. The fish were then placed in tanks of oxygenated water to recover before being released elsewhere in the Rea Brook.
Ecological Appraisal Officer, Martin Fenn, says “We had to work very quickly to help Shropshire County Council, but diverting the brook will leave many fish stranded. We will be using specialist equipment to catch them tomorrow before finding them a safe new home elsewhere in the Rea Brook.”