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Ecological Connectivity

With the recast of the Federal Water Act (WHG) of 1st March 2010, the German Federal Government has committed itself to maintaining or restoring the ecological connectivity at barrages on the federal waterways. The implementation of the legislation is required to fulfil the objectives of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), which requires a good ecological state in running waters. This objective requires, amongst others, that the numbers of fish migrating through the rivers, and their biodiversity, should correspond to those of a natural state.

At present, this ecological connectivity does not exist in many federal waterways. It is therefore necessary to provide functional fishways for upstream and downstream migration all over Germany. Together with the Federal Institute of Hydrology (Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde, BfG), the BAW will be involved in a consultancy function to ensure the adherence to and implementation of biological and structural requirements using state of the art technology.

In the BAW, this task is the responsibility of section W1. The task includes consultancy and support services for the WSV (Waterways and Shipping Administration) at all stages from preliminary planning to implementation, and the efficiency control required subsequently. The individual working steps are carried out, in each case, in agreement and cooperation with the BfG.

Please refer to further information an studies on BAWiki.

WSV, BAW and BfG set up a joint working group to implement a new Manual on Ecological Connectivity for the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration. It will replace the “Guideline: Upstream Fishways on German Federal Waterways”. Contents will be optimized planning procedures, up-to-date results of R&D and science as well as standardization of connectivity measures. For results please refer to WSV > Umwelt > Durchgängigkeit (German only).


Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW):
Department W1 - Waterways and Environment

Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG):
Department U4 – Project Team River Connectivity