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Mandate for the Project Group “Upper Rhine”

Based on the mandates given by the 15th conference of Rhine Ministers and successive discussions, the ICPR founded a Project Group ORS during the PLEN-CC15 and for the period 2015-2018.

Apart from the members designated by the delegations , the PG ORS can consult further technical experts and ask them to participate in meetings of the PG ORS if required.
On behalf of the ICPR, the Project Group ORS follows up on the implementation planning of an efficient fish passage system at the impoundments on the Upper Rhine located at Rhinau, Marckolsheim and Vogelgrün and adopts the role of an advisory information and discussion platform. Thus, the PG ORS contributes to provide the developer EDF with expert knowledge and technical support during the phases to plan for the studies and work launched by EDF on the Upper Rhine.


When carrying out this task it must be taken into account that it is closely linked to all further (implemented, ongoing and planned) measures of the Master Plan Migratory Fish in the downstream and upstream Rhine as well as in the programme waters.


•    Cooperation with the WG B and the EG FISH

According to Article 8 Par. 1 d) of the Berne Convention, the task of the ICPR is to evaluate the efficiency of the measures decided upon by the contracting parties. In this light, the efficiency of construction measures adopted within the implementation of the Master Plan Migratory Fish should be evaluated as rapidly as possible in order to dispose of an up-to-date basis for the optimisation of future construction measures.

In order to be able to judge on the solutions proposed, the members of the PG ORS require all necessary planning documents, including plans of the navigation locks and of the hydropower plants. Certain documents made available by EDF and concerning security aspects are restricted to intern use within the PG ORS and are confidential [In practice, this means: These planning documents will only be made available to members of the PG ORS designated by the delegations and to the heads of delegation in the ICPR in a protected folder in Workplace, not to the NGOs. They may not be passed on to third parties.].

Since 2009, the measures aimed at implementing the Master Plan Migratory Fish in the Rhine and its programme waters are being collected and evaluated in the WG B and its EG FISH. Therefore, this work will be carried on in these groups with relevant expert members. If required, activities in connection with catches of returning salmon in the fish passages on the Upper Rhine are to be discussed with the PG ORS.

The WG B and its EG FISH are instructed to continuously and rapidly pass on new knowledge on existing fish passages in the Rhine and in programme waters or on those still to construct as well as evaluations of their effects to the PG ORS. This also applies to important measures relevant for sustainable continuity of the Upper Rhine. From that point of view, in particular measures in the confluence area and aimed at renaturing/river continuity of further rivers/alluvial waters along the Upper Rhine, the High Rhine and R. Aare and its tributaries are concerned, which only take effect if the sustainable river continuity for fish will be re-established in the Upper Rhine. In this connection, additional supporting arguments are required for the negotiations with the operators of hydropower plants on the Upper Rhine in order to make clear that in the sub-basins, the potential habitats are or will be accessible at the date fixed.

Furthermore, the EG FISH has been working on joint stocking strategies for the Rhine and its programme waters and on genetic issues concerning the re-introduction of the Atlantic salmon for many years. A joint stocking strategy among others aims at achieving a sufficient occurrence of salmon in the existing (and planned) fish passages. The effectiveness of the strategies will be evaluated with the help of a total monitoring to be planned and implemented at the fish passages. Findings from this work must be continuously and rapidly passed on to the PG ORS, which will also pass on its own findings to the WG B and EG FISH.

If required, the WG B or its EG FISH can be instructed by SG to gather, compile and process further information relevant for the Upper Rhine.


•    During 2015 - 2018, the Project Group ORS shall conduct the following work closely related to the phases initiated for the construction measures and to EDF engineering work for the progression of fish passage constructions on the Upper Rhine (Rhinau to Vogelgrün) and concerning the implementation planning:


Feasibility phase: 2015-2016

(1)    Follow-up of the feasibility check of the EDF during the 1st semester of 2015 for the fish passage at Vogelgrün (attraction current in the tailwater and both solution variants for the routing of the fish passage described in the document SG-K(4)14-05-01) including an evaluation of results. It is recommended to include those experts who presented relevant solutions during the workshop on the hydropower plant Vogelgrün in 2014. The PG ORS will be informed about the requirement specifications for the feasibility studies and the preliminary projects in due time;

(2)    Follow-up of the feasibility study for a classical fish passage at the Rhinau hydropower plant during the 1st semester 2016 taking into account the available knowledge on conditions for the attraction current in the tailwater at Vogelgrün and including an evaluation of results;

(3)    Follow-up of the feasibility study for a classical fish passage at the Marckolsheim hydropower plant during the 2nd semester 2016 taking into account the available knowledge concerning the conditions for the attraction current in the tailwater at Vogelgrün and including an evaluation of results;

Pre-project phase (i.e. until shortly before the authorisation is granted and cutting the first sod): 2017-2018/19

(1)    Follow-up of the pre-project to be developed by EDF during the 1st semester 2017 for the classical fish passage at the Rhinau power plant, for which investigations began in 2016, including an evaluation of results;

(2)    Follow-up of the pre-project to be developed by EDF during the 1st semester 2019 [The availability of experts at EDF does not allow for the beginning and implementation of several projects at the same time. The work of the teams concerning the issues to be solved at Vogelgrün has prioirity over work on Marckolsheim.]  for the classical fish passage at Marckolsheim, for which investigations began in 2016, including an evaluation of results;

(3)    Follow-up of the pre-project to be developed by EDF during the 1st semester 2018 for the new fish passage at Vogelgrün, for which investigations began in 2015, including an evaluation of results;


Smaller measures aimed at river continuity (before 2020)


(4)   Follow-up of the plans for pre-projects to draft and of the construction phase for several smaller measures aimed at river continuity or optimisation in the loops at the agricultural weirs (among other fish passage at the agricultural weir in Breisach), including an evaluation of results.


Reporting to SG

The PG ORS is instructed,

(1)    to regularly report on work, progress, eventual problems and the respect of the schedule to SG;

(2)    to present, as a result of the feasibility study, a table with all deadlines for the different planning and implementation phases for all fish passages on the Upper Rhine to SG by the end of 2016 .

Preparation of the next phase 2018-2021

In 2018, the ICPR will take new decisions concerning the next phase of the mandate for the period 2018-2021 and concerning an eventual adaptation of the mandate.