Reconnecting the salmon rivers of Wales is one of 29 confirmed projects that will benefit from the Welsh Government's Nature Networks Fund.

The Swansea University project will receive almost £500,000 to help reconnect five iconic Atlantic salmon rivers in Wales of Western Cleddau, Eastern Cleddau, Usk, Tywi and Teifi.

It aims to revert the impacts caused by habitat fragmentation, which is a leading loss of river biodiversity and responsible for the decline of salmon and other migratory fish in Wales.

The Nature Networks Fund was confirmed in March this year with the Welsh Government promising to invest in the ‘condition and connectivity’ of the protected site network, supported by the ‘active involvement of local communities’.

The Minister for Climate Change Julie James has confirmed £7m of Welsh Government support for the 29 projects in the Senedd.

“Tackling the climate and nature emergencies is at the heart of everything we do - we must protect our environment for future generations to enjoy," she said.

“Recognising the importance of harnessing the power of local communities, this funding will support citizen science, school engagement programmes and volunteer training to build networks of people engaged with these sites, which are cornerstones of our nature recovery work.

“We need a ‘Team Wales’ approach if we are to achieve our ambitious plans to restore nature. We want everyone in Wales to see nature - because if people engage with nature, they value nature.”

The sites supported provide a vital sanctuary and high level of protection to nearly 70 species, and more than 50 types of habitats which face threats worldwide.

They also contribute significantly to the Welsh economy through tourism recreation, farming, fishing and forestry. And they provide vital life-support services for all of us – including purifying drinking water, and storing carbon.

National Heritage Memorial Fund has taken responsibility for administering the Nature Networks Fund.

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “From restoring wetlands, to creating rich habitat for wildlife to flourish, it is vital that we preserve and rebuild our natural heritage.

“The Nature Networks scheme, in partnership with the Welsh Government, will allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, and will also increase public awareness of how and why we need to protect our future.”