Department Fish Ecology and Evolution

River restoration

In the Swiss Plateau more than 50 % of streams and rivers have insufficient morphological conditions and all over Switzerland rivers are highly fragmented by artificial barriers. There is therefore a huge potential for rehabilitation. This research focus was particularly addressed in the Rhone-Thur project (,, and continues in the “Integrated River Management” project. This project focuses on 2 subjects:

  • River engineering (flood protection) and habitat diversity
  • Longitudinal and lateral connectivity of rivers

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Priority setting in river restoration

In the next years Switzerland will carry out many river restoration projects. In order to ensure ecological benefits the restoration activities should be prioritized. The project is funded by the Federal Office for the Environment and is based on studies of benthos (department of Aquatic Ecology) and fish (Fish ecology and evolution department). In addition modeling approaches are included (System Analysis, Integrated Assessment and Modelling department).

The output of the research project will support river managers in setting priorities for restoration projects.