A £370,000 restoration project to clear up Forge Dam and create better conditions for wildlife has been approved by Sheffield Council.
The Friends of Porter Valley conservation group commissioned a masterplan in 2011 and have spent the past four years consulting with the public and drawing up models.
The restoration will aim to remove 6,000 cubic metres of silt from the dam in Endcliffe Park which has been left behind by the river.
The material will be taken to a licensed contractor where it will be cleansed of naturally occurring pollutants and used for park landscaping.
In addition to removing silt, the plan includes the installation of a semi-porous, submerged wall stretching across the pond that will leave a channel of around 4.5 metres – wide enough for water to pass through.
It is hoped this will reduce the amount of silt being left behind by the river without disrupting the flow of water.
Although silt is not in itself harmful to the environment, FOPV treasurer and project leader David Young said the project hopes to improve the ecology of Endcliffe.
“It’s a wonderful place for the wildlife and there have been incidences of water voles but they’re not here any more sadly. In our scheme we want to make it such that the environment can come back.
“The irony is that if you see all the reeds growing here, that’s a habitat for some creature or another but it’s a balance between different needs,” he added.
The island in the pond will be reduced by the restoration, allowing nesting birds to thrive without the risk of being attacked by foxes and other predators.
The project is expected to cost £370,000 to complete and Friends of Porter Valley still need a further £150,000, for which the planning permission will help them in applying to donors.
“We are hopeful that it will encourage people, there’s obviously reasonable footfall here which goes against it being a place for nature, but nonetheless the ducks are happy. If we can have areas where they are not disturbed it should encourage wildlife.
“On the other hand it’s not going to be fenced off because it’s a public park and that’s been what we’ve had to try and do, get a balance between the needs of casual visitors and the needs of nature,” said Mr Young.