fishway at the Melk power plant on the Danube
purpose of the measure was to create for fish in the Danube a link
between the Wachau section and the upper end or head of the
reservoir. This is also where the Ybbs flows into the Danube. Like
other Danube tributaries, the Ybbs is a destination for migrating
fish, for instance during spawning. The fishway results in
improved conditions for many fish species living in the Danube and
the rivers belong to the Natura 2000 “Lower Austrian Alpine
Foothills Rivers” region. Rare and endangered species are also
benefiting from it.
fishway at Melk
fishway was erected when the power plant went into operation in
1982. Such facilities were included in construction work only in
the case of the Freudenau power plant.
power plant is thus the first power plant on the Danube in Austria
to have been retrofitted with a fishway. There is a difference of
12 metres between the water surface level upstream and downstream
from the power plant. The second free-flowing course of the Danube
in Austria, the Wachau region, is located downstream from the
power plant. The Pielach and Melk rivers flow into the Danube
below the Melk power plant and above the Erlauf and Ybbs rivers.
of power plants and tributaries
migrate along a river, for instance in order to travel from their
summer habitat to their wintering grounds. “Spawning migration”
is the term used to refer to groups of fish travelling to their
Obstructions interrupting the flow of the
rivers are partly responsible for the decline in previously
abundant fish stocks. Such obstructions include dams built as part
of power plants.
Today we know that
every domestic fish species travels from one habitat to another
over a greater or lesser distance. This is necessary for survival.
fishway is a newly created nature-like channel. It is 2 kilometres
long and an average of 12 metres wide.
60.000 cubic metres of excavation material
was moved during construction and the bed has been sealed with
clay. The river bed has been enhanced using pebbles, rocks and
wood. Construction was completed in only 7 months, and the
facility went into operation on 5 March 2007.
Grafic of Melk power plant with fishway (© Andreas Bachmayr)
view of the 2 km long fishway (© Andreas Bachmayr)