The Lippe River flows through the state of North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany. It is 220.3 kms (136.9 miles) in length and is a right tributary of the Rhine. Its source is located at the edge of the Teutoburg Forest and it runs west through the cities of Paderborn and Lippstadt, then along the northern edge of the Ruhr area until it finally enters the Rhine at Wesel.
The District Government of Arnsberg in North Rhine-Westphalia is the responsible body for the maintenance of 112km of watercourses on the Lippe and Ruhr rivers.
Since the 1980s, Germany has been promoting the restoration of its rivers and streams and, with the Water Framework Directive in 2000, this gave stricter targets for Europe-wide water and habitat quality. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the region’s ‘Living Waters’ programme aims to fulfil the objectives of the WFD and, consequently, weirs have been removed on the Lippe and large restoration projects been carried out.
The Lippe had been an important river for migratory fish in the past as the water quality was good and this gave rise to a thriving fish population including sometimes salmon. Thus there was the potential to improve fish populations but the morphological conditions in the river as a whole were unsatisfactory. Starting in 1996, projects to restore the river were realized at other sites (Klostermersch, Lippeseeumflut, Hellinghäuser Mersch, Goldsteinsmersch) and fish populations gradually increased. This created the need to improve passage for migrating fish and ecological continuity.