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Free the rivers!

For the common Nose, salmon and co..

The Swiss rivers are among the world’s most obstructed waters. Over 100’000 dams and small barriers prevent fish from migrating to their spawning grounds. With the project Fluss frei! (Free the rivers!)  Aqua Viva wants to free our watercourses from unnecessary obstacles. So that rivers can develop dynamically again and fish can migrate unhindered.

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A country full of obstacles

In the past, the Swiss rivers were extensively straightened. In order to secure these unnatural river courses, small barriers had to be installed. On average, such an obstacle is found in the river every 650 meters. Although they look harmless, they are insurmountable for many fish.

Fish must migrate

Fish migrate to search for food, to reproduce or to seek shelter. If their path is blocked by obstacles, migratory fish such as eels, salmon or the common nose suffer in particular. Their populations have declined sharply in recent decades – in the case of Rhine salmon to the point of extinction.

Dam removals are the best solution

Many obstacles are only relics from the last century. Today they have neither an economic value nor are they necessary for flood protection. We can remove them without disadvantages and give our fish back a piece of quality of life.

Living rivers

The dismantling of weirs and barriers creates connected and dynamic habitats. Numerous animal and plant species benefit from this, as do we humans. Living and diverse bodies of water provide clean drinking water, protect against flooding and are valuable adventure and recreation areas.

Give us your voice!

There are also obstacles in the watercourses of your canton that we no longer need. With your help, we will work with the cantonal government to get them to dismantle local your fish barriers. The common nose, salmon and co. will thank you!

About us

Aqua Viva is dedicated exclusively to the subject of water so that we can look forward to living streams, rivers and lakes in Switzerland in the future. For 60 years, all our resources have flowed into the protection and revitalization of native water habitats.

Together with our partners, we have already identified many unnecessary obstacles in the watercourses of the cantons of Zurich and Aargau. Some of them will be removed as part of the project. However, the responsibility for dismantling them lies with the cantons and municipalities. We pass on our experience and knowledge to them. It will then be up to them whether our watercourses will once again become attractive habitats for the common nose, salmon and the like.

Project partners

Contact us

Christian Hossli
Project lead “Free the rivers!”
+41 052 625 26 67

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© 2024 Fluss frei!

This microsite is part of the project “Free the rivers!” by Aqua Viva. Impressum