, Volume 565, Issue 1, pp 229–242

Long-term Developments in Ecological Rehabilitation of the Main Distributaries in the Rhine Delta: Fish and Macroinvertebrates


DOI: 10.1007/s10750-005-1916-4

Cite this article as:
de Vaate, A.., Breukel, R. & van der Velde, G. Hydrobiologia (2006) 565: 229. doi:10.1007/s10750-005-1916-4


Significant anthropogenic pressure in the Dutch part of the River Rhine is present from the 12th century. River engineering and water pollution were the main stress factors for flora and fauna. From the middle of the 20th century measures were taken to reduce water pollution. Recently, from 1987 onwards, these activities were put into a wider context of ecological river rehabilitation. Effects of improvements on fish and macroinvertebrates in the main distributaries in the Rhine delta are reviewed. The conclusions are that (a) most of the alterations in the Rhine delta are irreversible due to hard socio-economic boundary conditions (e.g. safety, navigation); (b) chances for the development of riverine biotopes have therefore to be found in the forelands and not in the main channels of the Rhine delta; (c) further reduction of pollutants, especially thermal pollution, is needed to help original species to colonise the Rhine delta again; (d) non-indigenous species clearly leave a mark on recolonisation possibilities of original species.


water quality river engineering non-indigenous species exotic species 

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. bij de Vaate
    • 1
    • 3
  • R. Breukel
    • 1
    • 3
  • G. van der Velde
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA)LelystadThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Animal Ecology and Ecophysiology, Institute for Wetland and Water ResearchRadboud University NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Participant of the Netherlands Centre for River Studies (NCR)DelftThe Netherlands