Altenwörth power plant: Cycle path fully open again

28.07.2021Kirchberg am Wagram., Zwentendorf

LIFE Network Danube Plus project: Construction work on Lower Austria’s longest fish pass at Altenwörth power plant on the home straight

The Danube power plant at Altenwörth is no longer an obstacle to aquatic lifeforms thanks to Lower Austria’s longest fish pass. The main construction work is largely completed, and VERBUND project leader Hannes Einfalt together with mayor Marion Török (Zwentendorf) and mayor Wolfgang Benedikt (Kirchberg a. Wagram) were thus able to open the new bridge over the old course to traffic.

“We thank local residents for their patience and are pleased to have completed the work ahead of schedule. The crossing of the Altenwörth power plant and the Danube cycle path on the left bank can now be used again without any restrictions,” said project leader Hannes Einfalt.

First partial flooding connects Krems-Kampf channel with the Danube 

After a year under construction, the bed of the new fish pass is now complete. In total, the work involved the movement of 580,000 cubic metres of gravel and fine sediment. The excavated materials will be used in the area of the old river course. About 75,000 m³ of sludge was pumped out of the old course. Together with the new biotope and fewer deposits of sediment due to the diversion of the tributaries, the water quality will noticeably improve.

Further construction work 

A start will made on flooding the fish pass in stages, starting in August. These trials will last into the autumn and are intended to ensure the ability of the bypass river to retain its water.

Lower Austria's longest fish pass

The fish pass will be Lower Austria’s longest at more than 12.5 km in length. It connects land restoration projects on the Danube and its tributaries, thereby boosting the diversity of species in the Danube. From the Iron Gate in Romania to Ybbs, the Danube is becoming passable again and being upgraded with places of ecological retreat.
In addition to the fish pass, VEBUND is improving the water quality of the old course of the Danube at Altenwörth in cooperation with the market town of Kirchberg am Wagram. An artificial biotope is being constructed on both banks of the old course. The idea behind this “constructed wetland” is that the water should clean itself. The excess quantity of nutrients is filtered out and reduced. This is intended to reduce the growth of algae to a natural level. A model for the water quality of the old course at the Danube power plant Greifenstein.

Project partners in LIFE Network Danube Plus

The project "LIFE Network Danube Plus" is being implemented by VERBUND and financed to a significant extent by the EU within the scope of the LIFE+ programme, the Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism, the provincial government of Lower Austria and the provincial fishing association of Lower Austria. Also involved are the companies entitled to purchase electricity at the Greifenstein and Altenwörth power plants: EVN AG, Wien Energie AG, Energie AG, Kärntner Elektrizitäts-AG and Vorarlberger Kraftwerke AG.