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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Nature-like fishways as compensatory lotic habitats

Tamario, C.; Degerman, E.; Donadi, S.; Spjut, D.; Sandin, L.


Damming of rivers disrupts migration of fish and results in lotic habitats being both scarcer and spaced further apart, ultimately affecting riverine fish communities. Nature-like fishways are often designed as bypass channels, constructed with natural materials that reroute part of the water around weirs and dams, restoring longitudinal connectivity as well as forming nature-mimicking habitats. We evaluated the potential of such bypasses to function as compensatory lotic habitats by comparing fish fauna in 23 bypasses to adjacent lotic stream habitats in a same-river pairwise design. Bypasses were narrower, shallower, and less shaded than adjacent stream habitats, but very few significant differences could be detected in the fish communities, indicating the potential of such nature-like fishways to constitute compensatory lotic habitats for fish. Analyses also indicated how bypass design may be altered to favour or disfavour certain target species. Generally, narrower and shallower bypasses with high gradient favoured brown trout (Salmo trutta), whereas European eel (Anguilla anguilla) were more abundant at sites with lower gradient. Finally, to increase the impact of these compensatory habitats on running water ecosystems, we suggest that the size of bypasses should be maximized in areas where natural stream habitats have been lost.


Anguilla anguilla; bypass; Esox lucius; fish passage; fishway design; nature-like; Perca fluviatilis; Salmo trutta

Published in

River Research and Applications
2018, Volume: 34, number: 3, pages: 253-261
Publisher: WILEY