Rivers play an important role in our environment: regulating flood risks, transporting sediments and supporting biodiversity. Many of these services are linked to factors that indicate river health such as river flow and connectivity. River network connectivity influences species migration, diversity, and habitat occupancy.
Rivers in the North Sea region are some of the most fragmented by human development in the world due to the presence of artificial structures installed for water management. Man-made water management structures, or barriers, like weirs, sluices and locks can significantly delay and hinder the movement of migratory fish species subsequently reducing their diversity and abundance.
The Fish Migration Roadmap project focuses on the Thames River Basin and seeks to pull together all barrier, pass, habitat, flood risk and development opportunity area data in one place to develop a strategic approach that looks at rivers as migratory routes that fish would use. This ‘whole system’, sea to source approach enables the visualisation of river network connectivity in entire catchments to aid decision making when it comes to habitat creation and enhancement, river restoration, riverside development and flood risk assessment.