Nature restoration for Houting - an endangered fish species




Peter Mæhl

Peter Mæhl

T: +45 7392 3120

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The houting - a salmonid fish- is close to becoming extinct in Denmark and is included on the EU's list of endangered species. Denmark has received eight million EUR from the EU LIFE scheme to support the protection of the houting, and Rambøll has been working since 2007 on a project to increase the species’ numbers.

The project includes a number of sub-projects, such as the removal of dams, the re-meandering of rivers and the construction of shallow lakes. Throughout the design and implementation of these projects, the habitat needs of the houting have been carefully considered.

These include the factors that affect fry in nursery areas, as well as other fish species, the transportation of sediment, and the impact on neighbouring areas. When conditions are improved for the houting, they are improved for other endangered species in the streams such as salmon and lamprey. 

Wetland project

In the River Vidå south of Toender, Ramboll has designed and implementation a wetland project around Lake Nørresø and Hestholm Marshes. Here the River Vidå has been re-meandered and a shallow lake established, giving the Houting fry opportunities to stay for longer time in the river system before entering the Wadden Sea.

A multidisciplinary team of Ramboll experts have been involved: biologists, hydraulic specialists, landscape architects and experienced design and supervision engineers. Ramboll has been responsible for the design proposal, main project, tendering and supervision, as well as project management.

Presented at an international conference

The results of the projects were presented at an international conference entitled "The restoration of streams with special emphasis on the Houting, and the Houting Project 3-5 October 2011 – Tønder – Denmark".

Both projects are funded by the Danish Nature Agency's with support from the EU LIFE fund "Urgent actions for the endangered Houting, Coregonus oxyrhynchus".

What is a Houting?

The houting is a salmonid fish, formerly widespread in the Wadden Sea area of Denmark and along the coasts of Germany and Holland. The number of houting has declined dramatically during the past century and the species is close to becoming extinct – they now only exist in few rivers in southwestern Jutland, which flow into the Wadden Sea.

Earlier attempts to improve conditions with massive releases of fry in the early 1990s have had only a temporary effect on the stock. The Danish Nature Agency has therefore developed a management plan with the value of approx. 13, 5 mil. €, forming the basis for the preservation of the population of Houting in the Wadden Sea in the future.

Since the Houting is a red list species and is included on the EU's list of endangered species, Denmark has received considerable support from the EU LIFE scheme to the project, equivalent to eight mil. €.


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