Migratory fish program in NRW: European eel returns to Lippe | News from Kamen on KamenWeb.de

Sunday, May 22 is “Biodiversity Day”: in 2022, 1.2 million young animals will be released

Sven Linneweber and Berthold Oberkönig of the Lippeverband released a few glass eels into Lippe. Photo: © EGLV

Lippe area. Important contribution to biodiversity: the endangered European eel returns to Lippe. The river animal is seized in Lippe as part of a project by the State Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection NRW (LANUV) in cooperation with the Lippe Association. The purpose of this supplementary measure on Lippe is to counteract the decline in eel numbers. In 2022 alone, 1.2 million young animals will be released in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Dr. Emanuel Grün, Technical Director at Emschergenossenschaft und Lippeverband (EGLV), is enthusiastic: “We are delighted that Lippe has once again become the home of many endangered animals and we are proud to be able to support activities such as the stocking of LANUV on Lippe.

The restocking activity is part of a project by the National Agency for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection NRW (LANUV) to support the stock of European eel. After hatching as willow leaf larvae in the Sargasso Sea, young eels travel great distances from the Atlantic coast of North America to Europe over a period of three years. There, young animals turn into native glass eels. They then spend a large part of their life cycle in Europe’s inland and coastal waters and go through the stages of their development. However, hiking up and down the river is still full of obstacles in many places. The resources in the rivers of North Rhine-Westphalia have decreased dramatically in recent decades. Today, the European eel – like many other animals – is on the Red List of Threatened Species in the “Critically Endangered” category.

Lippe classified as a suitable target habitat
LANUV is countering stock depletion by targeted restocking measures. In 2022 alone, approximately 1.2 million young animals will be released. The activities are carried out in accordance with the EU Eel Regulation (EG) 1100/2007 and the German Eel Management Plans for North Rhine-Westphalia and are financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The state has even classified the reconstructed Lippe as an eel priority body of water and a suitable target habitat. Together with the Lippeverband, on February 8, a total of 82,500 specimens of several centimeter young glass eels were released at Lippe. Here, they now have the chance to grow into healthy animals – over a meter long – and migrate back to the Sargasso Sea when they reach sexual maturity to breed there.

The restoration of the Lippe and its tributaries creates new opportunities for the development of a healthy, ecologically valuable and species-rich region. Numerous animals that have become rare – such as kingfishers, otters and demoiselles – can be observed again today. On the other hand, it is still difficult for migratory fish to do so in Lippe, despite much better water quality due to water barriers in the form of weirs as obstacles to migration.

The Lippeverband counteracts these obstacles by installing fish passes at weirs to ensure the flow of fish. However, the fish path has not yet been cleared on all transverse structures. Therefore, the water management association, together with various authorities and fishing associations, supports rare fish stocks – including burbot and parosz – through active restocking activities.

This is just one example of how Lippeverband is preventing the loss of endangered species of animals and plants. Numerous other activities are already underway throughout the region to actively promote biodiversity and create a healthy, ecologically valuable natural and cultural landscape.

Context: Biodiversity Initiative
The dramatic decline in global biodiversity is worrying. The special legal water management associations Emschergenossenschaft and Lippeverband want to counteract this negative development and further strengthen biodiversity in water bodies and on the association sites.

The ecological conversion of water bodies in the Emscher and Lippe areas, the sustainable use of multiple water management systems and the targeted resettlement of various fish species that have become rare are just a few examples of the measures already being taken.

Biodiversity is at the heart of the Living Waters program, which is being implemented very successfully in the Emscher and Lippe areas in water bodies such as floodplains. For this purpose, the reconstruction of the reservoirs has been accompanied by intensive monitoring for many years. For example, you can observe the development of fauna and flora typical of water bodies, including rare or endangered species.

Thanks to the “Living Lippe” program, the Lippe Association creates new habitats for species-rich flora and fauna. As a result, biodiversity on the Lippe has increased significantly – an outstanding project is the reconstructed Lippe estuary in Wesel with over 600 proven animal species and 425 plant species. Biodiversity is also indirectly promoted by improving water quality, i.e. improving the efficiency of wastewater treatment and rainwater treatment plants.

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