Two-step weir, Slovakia

The removal of the step weir will improve wild fish populations in the contact zone of two national parks, the Veľká Fatra and Nízke Tatry.

Introduction

The watershed of Starohorský Creek belongs to the Hron sub-catchment and is located within Danube River Basin. It is a mountain brook (torrent) river with high flow velocities during the year and is surrounded by a narrow valley. It discharges into the Bystrica River in the Uľanka Village. In the upper parts of the catchment, there are historical water reservoirs built in 1923 and 1926.

At a glance

Project typeDam removal (demolition)
Project statusLive
Removal DateNovember 2023
CountrySlovakia
RiverStarohosrský Creek
Km to be opened28.29
Focal speciesBrown trout, grayling, alpine bullhead, minnow
Websitehttps://www.srzrada.sk/open-rivers-programme/

Project context and opportunity

As the watershed is not fragmented by other significant migration barriers with negative impact on any water dependent migratory species, there is a good potential to gain high effect of habitats reconnection through weir removal.

Starohorský Creek is a water body delineated in Slovakia for WFD purposes as a Priority 2 of ecological importance. Starohorský creek is mentioned also in the River Revitalisation Concept (2020). By removing these steps, the measures defined within Slovakian RBMP (2021 – 2027) will be realised and the revitalisation of ecological and hydromorphological processes of Starohorský Creek, its tributaries and wild fish population of contact zones of two national parks NP Veľká Fatra and NP Nízke Tatry will be supported.

Project aims

By removing these step weirs, the project team will reconnect approximately 28.29 kilometres of the river, including its tributaries. This will enable and encourage further fish migration and improve their populations within this area, positively impacting the entire watershed within Hron River Basin. The removal will also contribute to a favourable conservation status of the European otter and the black stork.

Another important outcome of the project is disseminating the lessons learnt and best practices that will come from this project. As not many barriers have been removed in Slovakia, this could be used to raise awareness among local communities and politicians on the benefits of dam removal.

Partners

Slovak Angling Union

Slovak Water Management Authority