Measures Map  


Within 6 years, numerous measures of revitalization shall be carried out.

What exactly was done?
The realization of measures only takes place in agreement with the owners of the plots or the land-using farmers!

Why cutting the spruces?

Spruces are not indigenous in the Eifel.
In the 19th century, the spruce has been introduced at large scale into the Eifel as the "Prussian tree". Actually, it is not indigenous here. Its extended occurrence near the water has an important impact on the indigenous living communities: Its needles cannot substitute the litter being essential as food base for numerous inhabitants of the brook. As a consequence, indigenous living communities become poor and are replaced. Besides, spruce forests are migration barriers for terrestrial insects and other animal species, and they prevent the exchange of individuals between the habitats. Also micro-organisms, naturally contributing to the purification of the brook, are absent, as well as microhabitats as aquatic moss pads. In places, the needle litter leads to a continuous acidification. Last, but not least, the spruce forests shadow the soil, the brook and the sources during the whole year, which can result in a lowered mean annual water temperature.

Spruce cutting
Along the upper course of the Rur and the Perlenbach, there are still spruce forests up to the brook at large scale. In the source region of the brook "Kyll", the percentage of spruces in the floodplain is only about 5 %. By the LIFE-project "Living brooks in the Eifel", about 70 ha of the spruces near the water shall be transformed into riparian forests or wet and nutrient-poor grassland typical for floodplains.

The black alder - a multi-functional miracle.
Opposite to the spruce, the black alder is a typical tree species of riparian and swamp forests; the floodplain is its natural habitat. The alder litter is the main food source for numerous inhabitants of the brook. Its extensively branched root system stabilizes the banks in a natural way and offers refuges to fishes and other brook animals. On its roots, there live a lot of micro-organisms, contributing to the purification of the brook.

Why is the free circulation of flowing water important?

The river trout seeks oxygen-rich gravel banks for spawning.
Not only salmons, but also smaller fish species and cyclostomes like the bullhead (Cottus gobio) or the brook lamprey have to migrate to get to their spawning grounds or to their winter and summer habitats. However, a lot of brooks are blocked up by migration barriers (e.g. dams, plunges and tubes). Already small plunges of 20 cm are inconvincible barriers for small fishes and invertebrates. Therefore, the restoration of the free water circulation is an important goal of our project.

In the three project areas, the migration of the brook inhabitants is hindered by 80 barriers in total (e.g. dams, tubes, ponds on the brook). In the Perlenbach, ponds on the brook separate the upper valleys of seven tributaries from the main valley where there is a dam. Additionally, about 85 % of the Perlenbach tributaries are separated from the main brook by tubes. In the area of the Rur brook, there are four dams with a differing barrier effect. Besides, several tributaries are split or separated from the Rur brook by ponds on the brook or by tubes. Also in the Kyll brook, the free circulation is interrupted by three ponds on the brook and tubes in almost every tributary. It is the goal of the project to remove all migration barriers and to replace them by bridges of different construction.

Plunges of 20 cm height are already inconvincible barriers for small fishes and invertebrates.
Tubes are replaced by so-called special steel profiles open towards the river bed.

Restoration of the natural water dynamic

Artificial bank and brook bed pavements are removed.
By the rectification of the brook and the consolidation of the brook bed and the banks with concrete slabs, ripraps or other material, valuable habitats in the brook are lost. Natural brook structures like undercut banks or the cavity system of the brook bed are absent in consolidated parts of the brook. However, those structures are indispensable for the indigenous brook inhabitants.

Natural brook course

In the Perlenbach, the consolidation of the brook is limited to some tributaries and some parts of the main valley just above the mouth into the Rur brook. In the Rur area, such consolidations are only present in the Schwarzbach and in small sections of the main brook. These are mainly bank consolidations where strong lateral erosion threatens the banks. For the Kyll brook, this threat is hardly relevant.
The present consolidations shall be removed, so the brook can develop once again its own dynamics. Diverse structures like cutbanks and slip-off banks, plunging pools and gravel banks can develop once again.

Why extensify?

Species-rich spignel meadow
The water quality is charged by nutrients from agricultural cultivation. The nutrients are applied to the field as mineral or organic fertilizer (slurry). If more nutrients are applied then the plants can absorb, a surplus of nutrients arises. These nutrients are washed out and the water is eutrophicated.
By extensifying (reducing the agricultural production) the agricultural used lots in the project area, the immission of nutrients into the brooks which naturally are extremely nutrient-poor shall be minimized. This includes the creation of fallow strips along the water offering a very effective protection against diffuse immissions.

In the whole project area, the agricultural use of the floodplain lots is already extensive. Within the scope of the project, this surface shall still be extended by the districts' programme for the cultural landscape.

What is the negative effect of increased fine sediment immissions?

The cavity system of the brook bed (interstitial) is the most important habitat for numerous water insects and the juveniles of the pearl mussel. Also fishes or cyclostomes like the brook trout (Salmo trutta) or the brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri) need an open cavity system for spawning or as a habitat for their larvae. Obviously, the blocking of the interstitial by fine sediments is an important reason for the absence of young pearl mussels in the Perlenbach. Also negative effects on the fish species spawning in gravel banks are probable. Besides, a strong clouding of the water is a stress factor in general for all aquatic organisms which should not be underestimated.

Especially after heavy rains, the fine sediment load of the brooks becomes visible.
Arable land and vegetation free surfaces, unconsolidated fords and strong erosion are the mean sources of fine sediments. In the Perlenbach, the main part of the fine sediments origins from the Belgian military training area Elsenborn. There are large vegetation-free firebreaks and several unconsolidated fords used by heavy vehicles. The training area is situated outside the project area; therefore it is not possible to carry out project measures in this zone. In agreement with the base administration the sediment emissions shall be reduced in a distinct and sustainable way. Thus, the problem areas are recorded and the first sedimentation basins have been built below fire lanes. Additionally, a stronger consolidation of ten fords, a careful maintenance of the route ditches and a sensibilization of the military staff are planned. In the further course of the Perlenbach and in the areas of Rur and Kyll, there are smaller, dispersed fine sediment sources, mostly unconsolidated fords and smaller bank sections without vegetation and with intense lateral erosion. Here and there, increased fine sediment emissions occur after clearings or the sporadic use of a quarry in the Kyll valley.

Overview of measures in LIFE-nature-project "Lively streams in the Eifel (1. Oktober 2003 bis 31. August 2009) Measure Nr./Name Measures in accordance with the LIFE-proposal Finished measures A.1: Charting of biotop-types Charting of different areas Completely finished A.2: Check-Ups - flora & vegetation - Makrozoobenthos incl. crayfishes - fishes - mammals - stream-birds - flora & vegetation - Makrozoobenthos incl. Crayfishes and freshwater pearlmussel - fishes - mammals - butterflies - stream birds A.3: Detailled management-plans Landcare and development plans fort he project-areas, Detailled-management plans for building-measures Completely finished A.4: Applying for water-right-approvals Applying for measures-approvals Completely finished B.1: Buying of ponds and buying of land for carrying out the measures 3 ponds 2,8 ha spruce forests 3 ponds 2,8 ha spruce forests B.2: Compensation of earlier clearing forests For about 18 ha compensation-payment for 16,1 ha compensation-payment have been payed B.3: Extensive using of ponds Clearing up-work Completely finished C.1: Initial planting of cleared grounds About 14 ha initial-planting about 19,4 ha initial-planting C.2: Later landcare - about 49 ha elimination of young spruce trees - about 21 ha landcare of measuresd - about 48,5 ha elimination of young spruce trees - about 29,1 ha landcare of C.3: Riverside lengths about 8 km about 11,8 km C.4: Planting the banks with local trees about 13 km about 17,5 km C.5: Disposal of water barriers and borders - 73 tubes - 14 borders - 10 ponds Total: 97 - 76 tubes - 19 borders - 11 ponds total: 106 C.6: Elimination of borders und buildings belong the streams about 3 km about 4,3 km C.7: Rebuilding of "Furten" replacement for often used "Furten" by bridges - rebuilding of 7 Furten - replacement by bridges:4 - rebuilding of 12 Furten - replacement by bridges:4- C.8: Rebuilding of ponds near the stream-systems - 19 ponds - 18 ponds C.9: Removal and reducing of pollutes not fixed Completely finished C.10: transformation of spruce-forests - 39 ha private - 31 ha public total: 70 ha elimination of spruce forests - 38,9 ha private - 38,7 ha public total: 77,6 ha elimination of spruce forests and local 14,4 ha D.1: Extensive using of measures Not fixed 41,6 ha extensive using of measures D.2: Landcare of the river sides Not fixed Completely finished D.3: Consultation of fishers Not fixed Completely finished E.1: Information-papers Information-Flyer 3 editions E.2: Internet-presentation Completely finished E.3: information-events Not fixed 134 information-events E.4: Publishings Not fixed 9 publishings and a lot of press-texts E.5: Conference 2-days Conference - 2-days conference - publishings E.6: Film-documentation Poject-film Project-film E.7: Exhibitiong 3 mobile exhibitions Exhibition would be finished as a bigger one for used in different locations E.8: Report for normal people Report in three languages Report in 2 languages E.9: Local informations - temporary local information signs for measures - information signs - Rur-hiking path with information paper - temporary local information signs for measures - 3 information signs - Rur-hiking path with information paper - F.1: project-personal Completely finished F.2: first equipment Completely finished F.3: Fortbildung nicht festgelegt Completely finished F.4: monitoring - water-quality - interstitial - flora & vegetation - makrozoobenthos crayfishes - fishes - mammals - stream-birds - water-quality - interstitial - - flora & vegetation - Makrozoobenthos incl. Crayfishes and freshwater pearlmussel - fishes - mammals - butterflies - stream birds Carrying out the project : Biological station in the government of Euskirchen e.V. (project-leader) Biological station in the government of Aachen e.V. (project-partner) Project-manager: Stephan Miseré Project-personal: Bettina Krebs, Karin Wagner, Ursula Franke, Bianca Eulner