Restoration of the Schnegaer Mühlenbach

Photo by Eckart Krüger

This year the EKOenergy Environmental fund will use 18,500 € to finance a river restoration project on the Schnegaer Mühlenbach, a stream in Lower Saxony, Germany. The project aims to add ca. 600 tons of gravel to the river, placed strategically in order to accelerate water flow and thereby restore the aquatic ecosystem. The restoration was carefully Planned by a local branch of the German Nature Organisation BUND and is scheduled for autumn 2020.

BUND is a well-established German Nature protection organisation, active in many different areas of conservation. BUND maintains over 2000 local organisations/branches, one of which has organised this restoration project. This local branch has already organised multiple similar projects in their local area, one of which our Environmental fund already financed in 2018.

This latest project focuses on a ca. 400m long stretch of the river located south of the Brüchau mill. The natural gravel bed was removed from the area in the 1970s in order to lower the water level and thereby drain the adjacent meadows. This restoration will see the creation of multiple 50cm thick gravel beds on a 200m long stretch of the river, with the remaining gravel used to create “gravel noses” along the entire stretch. These “noses” are constructed by depositing gravel on alternating sides of the river, forcing the river into a more rapid and meandering flow pattern. Complementing stones and tree trunks will also be inserted into the river with the goal of creating diverse obstacles to further improve water flow. The overall aim is to create a more meandering river with a faster water flow which is essential in order to restore the local river ecosystem.

The Schnegaer Mühlenbach projects

As stated above, this is the second restoration project on the Schnegaer Mühlenbach that the EKOenergy environmental fund has financed. The map below illustrates where on the river the individual projects are located.  

Both these projects contribute to the long-term goal of transforming the entire Schnegaer Mühlenbach into a diverse ecosystem. The aim is to create a variety of fast and slow-flowing areas, both essential for the plethora of species that can be found in a natural river. The predicted rising of the water level will also benefit the adjacent areas, especially the local meadows.  

The Schnegaer Mühlenbach is already home to many rare and important species, all of which will benefit from the more diverse and natural environments being created through the implementation of these restoration projects. Some of the species that will benefit from the 2020 Project are:  

The river otter(Lutra lutra), the endangered thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus), the brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), the brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri), European crayfish (Astacus astacus) and a variety of dragonflies. On top of these, there are also breeding sites and foraging habitats for kingfisher and black stork available along the river.

We are looking forward to seeing the results from this project. Thanks to all our consumers, it is their contributions to the Environmental Fund that makes such projects possible.

Published on 23 June 2020