Crowds of tourists who flock to Ludlow to see salmon leaping upstream will soon watch them via an underwater video link when a fish pass is created.
Work to stop Castle Weir crumbling into the River Teme will begin on Wednesday alongside a second project to help fish travel up stream to spawn.
A fish pass will be created through meadowland at Castle Weir’s north-western end, after many salmon failed to make the journey due to low water in 2011.
The structure will mean the fish do not have to jump out of the river to get over the weir – saving valuable energy for spawning.
Although visitors to Ludlow may not see as much activity from the riverside they will able to take a closer look with a visitor video link.
The project by The Environment Agency, with Severn Rivers Trust, will run alongside the two-month conservation scheme initiated by the owners of Castle Weir, Dinham Millennium Green Trust.
Trustee David Edwards said: “Construction of a fish pass by the Environment Agency and the Severn Rivers Trust will provide for a video link to The Mill on the Green.
“We are informed the camera will record the salmon passing through and give an immediate feed to a screen at the Mill.
“Watching salmon make spectacular leaps off Castle Weir in November and December each year has been a popular pastime for many Ludlow people.”
Tony Bostock, of Severn Rivers Trust, said: “Fish will continue to leap the weir although we hope the vast majority will eventually find a route upstream using the fish pass. We shall do all we can to cater for public interest in this miracle of nature.”
Alan Poulton, chairman of Teme Weirs Trust, said he had “grave concerns” about the fish pass.
“I am concerned it will take water from the weir and, in times of low water, it will make the wheel unable to turn,” he said. “People won’t be able to see the fish going over the weir and that’s something that attracts crowds,” he added.
But Paul Nicholls, chairman of Dinham Millennium Green Trust, said: “We have sought and received assurances that it will not seriously divert water ‘cascading’ over the weir. We may also have a ‘Visitor Video Link’ to salmon activity.”
According to Shropshire Council, the fish pass is “much-needed” and must be completed quickly to accommodate the October/November run of salmon.Subscribe to our Newsletter