Hydropower

Hydropower Creates Second-Hand Habitats

Hydropower plants impact the environment. The example of Kreuzbergmaut shows that apart from being restrictive, they may also produce quite positive results

The Salzach hydropower plant Kreuzbergmaut near Bischofshofen was built by Salzburg AG in the years between 1993 and 1995. Ecological aspects were given much attention right from the start. Already in the projection phase, comprehensive data material on plants, birds, amphibians and reptiles was collected with a view to minimising the negative impact on these species and improving their living conditions through adequate planning and follow-up measures after completion. The data material was collated in 1991 by experts from the independent Institute of Ecology of Salzburg’s House of Nature on behalf of Salzburg AG and VERBUND Austrian Hydro Power AG. Shortly after plant completion, another survey was conducted; based on this survey a landscape conservation plan was developed to guarantee optimal living conditions for the aforementioned groups of organisms in the newly created compensation areas.

The nature conservation decree for the power plant laid down that five and ten years after plant completion, respectively, a further survey evidencing the fulfillment of targets must be conducted. These surveys were also mainly performed by House of Nature experts.

Owing to persistent monitoring over many years, the Kreuzbergmaut plant as well as another Salzach power plant at Pfarrwerfen (which was built in the same manner and recently started operation) are most likely the best documented hydropower plants in Austria from an ecological perspective. Because of the long monitoring period the efficacy of the compensating measures can be perfectly demonstrated.

To read the full article please download file.

(Source: aqua press Int. 3/2009, Mag. Christof Hahn)


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