The project

At one time, the Chriesbach in Dübendorf snaked naturally through the landscape on its way to its outflow into the Glatt. It frequently flooded the nearby fields. When the Autobahn was built at the end of the 1970s, the level of the Chriesbach was lowered and it became a monotonous channel. Thanks to the upgrading project, it has been returned to its natural state and has awakened to new life – without curtailing high water protection.

Seating and access to the water

The Chriesbach connects the plant and animal habitats along its course with those of the Glatt, into which it flows. It thus fills an important ecological networking function. Upgrading the Chriesbach removed migration obstacles for fish and enabled the formation of new and varied habitats for aquatic organisms. Thanks to seating possibilities and access to the water, the brook has also been made more attractive for people seeking recreation. Along the brook near the Eawag headquarters there are now an open-air laboratory, two ponds and various measuring installations for teaching, research, the public and for the Canton.

Clearing unavoidable– new plantings after the revitalisation

The Chriesbach has been upgraded along a stretch of some 900 meters. The work was carried out in three stages. The first stage between the new Glattalbahn bridge to 100 meters west of the Neugutstrasse bridge was done first and completed in 2010, along with a new stretch of bike and walking paths along the brook. The second stage included the remaining lower stretch up to the outflow into the Glatt and was done in the winter of 2012/2013. The third, upper stage includes the stretch from the Kriesbachstrasse/Dübendorf bridge to the new Glattalbahn bridge (at Neugut). Near the outflow a partial clearing of the trees and bushes along the shore was unavoidable. Where possible, large trees were left in place. April 2014 saw the end of the reconstruction, and finally the shore was planted anew with appropriate bushes and trees. The revitalised stretch was opened with a celebration on 16 and 17 May.

The upgrading project of the cantonal Agency for Waste, Water, Energy and Air (AWEL) cost altogether just 4 million francs. The federal government, the naturemade star funds of the ewz as well as Eawag and the city of Dübendorf supported the project with sizeable contributions.

The revitalised Chriesbach at the opening in may 2014.
(Photo: Andres Jordi)

The Eawag laboratory building, when it was opened in 1970; in the foreground the newly canalised, urbanised and deepened Chriesbach
(Eawag Archive).