Water for Growth

Improving the Rivers Camel and Fowey

This project has now closed

About Water For Growth (W4G)

Through Water for Growth, Westcountry Rivers Trust are working to improve stocks of migratory fish such as salmon and seatrout in the rivers Camel and Fowey. 
Funded by the European Union Structural Development Fund and in partnership with the Environment Agency, Natural England, South West Water, we will look to;

  • improve upstream and downstream fish passage
  • improve in river and bankside habitat
  • improve spawning habitats
  • aim to increase numbers of juvenile salmon and seatrout 

Watch our 2023 project celebration film.

River Camel Electrofishing Report 2020

Read the results of our electofishing surveys on the River Camel in 2020.

Camel EF Report 2020

River Fowey Electrofishing Report 2020

Read the results of our electrofishing surveys from the River Fowey in 2020.

Fowey EF Report 2020

Read about some of completed work on barriers here

Updates on habitat work can be read here

Learn about or new angling app Fish Pass here 

The project is about improving Cornwall’s ‘natural capital’ (the rivers and their associated plants and animals) and in return encourage and facilitate a responsible and sustainable exploitation of this natural capital in the form of angling.

Water for Growth News

Old Weirs, New Problems

Improving fish passage on weirs is one of the core activities of the Westcountry Rivers Trust's Fisheries team.  However, it is not uncommon to encounter the view that we are wasting our time, and considerable amounts of money, on fixing a problem that does not need...

£2.2 million project to restore freshwater fish habitats in Cornish rivers

The Westcountry Rivers Trust today (15th February 2017) launched a £2.2 million project to restore freshwater fish habitats in two iconic Cornish rivers – the Camel and the Fowey. Working in partnership with the Environment Agency, Natural England and South West...

Water for growth: one year in!

The 15th of February 2017 saw Westcountry Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England, Scott Mann MP, TV and radio crews, convene on Camelford park on the banks of the river Camel to officially launch Water For Growth. One year on and the full significance of...

Water for Growth: Barriers to Migration

Rivers across the world have long been exploited for powering industry, from 19th and 20th century mills to more modern hydroelectric generation. Weirs were built to impound an artificial and consistent head of water, allowing abstracted flows to feed the...

Fish Pass: our innovative new angling app

The funding we received to improve fish passage and salmonid habitat was balanced with our aim to get more people fishing. If our work on weirs and the rivers can increase stocks of fish, then bringing a greater number of anglers to experience the fishing will bring...

The natural capital in Cornwall has been diminished by a wide range of factors including the construction of weirs, that can affect fish passage, and the loss of habitat; both of which are essential for migratory species such as salmon and seatrout. With stocks currently low, angling and the economic input that it brings to local enterprises has fallen.

We will assess and aim to improve major barriers to upstream and downstream fish migration, simultaneously providing a benefit to the native stocks of wild brown trout, eel, bullhead and brook lamprey which also need to move up and down the river.  Alongside two hectares of in-stream habitat works, we aim to open up access to over 60 hectares of fish spawning area.

With an increase in populations of fish, the rivers will be able to support a greater amount of responsible angling.  This improvement of Cornwall’s natural capital will bring economic benefits to many local enterprises and the wider community.

The project has received £1.6 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.