The majority of Germany's rivers have been widened and straightened in recent times, and this has had a significant impact on the fish, plant and animal communities in many watercourses. We are attempting to restore the original river beds and banks by rewilding these adjusted river courses. For us, this is more than just a compensatory measure.
When we upgraded the Rhine Valley Railway in Baden-Württemberg, we improved conditions in the Elz, Kinzig and Dreisam rivers and created species-appropriate habitats for fish whose numbers have declined, such as Atlantic salmon, chub, bleak and dace. To do this, we removed weirs that were set up perpendicular to the direction of the current in the form of stone embankments, rows of stakes or concrete ridges.
Also, we design our hydroelectric power plants in a way that does not disturb fish populations, and we install ladders to help fish return to their habitual spawning grounds upriver. In addition, we create new habitats and larger floodplains by moving embankments away from the water's edge.