Fish for LIFE - Restoration of migration corridors and habitats for rheophilic fish species in Gilort River

LIFE16 NAT/RO/000778

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Contact details:

Contact person: Nicolae Calma
Tel: 40253215384
Fax: 40253212892
Email: apm.gorj@gmail.com

Project description:


The Gilort is one of the rivers in Oltenia, western Wallachia (Romania), not significantly affected by human intervention. For this reason, the river`s diversity is considerable. Notable species present include the Ukrainian brook lamprey, the white-finned gudgeon and the golden spined loach: three species listed in Annex II of the Habitats Directive with unfavourable-inadequate conservation status. The river is also important for Eurasian otter and yellow-bellied toad. The Raul Gilort (Gilort river) Natura 2000 network site is located in the county of Gorj and includes part of the Gilort, the tributary of the river Jiu, and wetlands of the Continental biogeographical region. On the Jiu, upstream of the confluence with the Gilort, a series of dams for hydropower and the supply of water to a large coal power station were built. Because of this situation, all species that migrate upstream for spawning go on the major tributaries of the Gilort and Motru. The remaining area in the Jiu river basin in the county is therefore inaccessible to migrating fish.


The Fish for LIFE project aims to restore river connectivity and improve habitat variety for rheophilic fish species (i.e. living in fast-moving waters) in the Gilort river system in Romania.

Specific objectives are to:

  • Improve habitat variety for four fish species on a 26 km stretch of the Gilort through the restoration of the river channel’s morphology and physical characteristics;
  • Ensure river continuity for five water bodies in the Gilort river Natura 2000 network site, and improve the longitudinal connectivity of the Gilort with interventions involving 19 water bodies over a 120 km river stretch;
  • Enhance the ecological coherence of the Natura 2000 network by establishing full connectivity for 175 km of river bodies between two Natura 2000 network sites (Gilort river and Jiu corridor);
  • Improve the hydro-morphological status of five water bodies covering 26 km of river stretches in order to reach Water Framework Directive objectives embedded in the Jiu River Basin Management Plan (RBMP);
  • Increase institutional capacity for rheophile fish species conservation through an integrated management of water bodies that harmonises both watershed management plans and Natura 2000 network conservation aims; and
  • Improve knowledge on the status and ecological needs of rheophile fish species in the Gilort river Natura 2000 network site.
  • Expected results:

  • Improved conservation status for four species of freshwater fish in the Gilort river Natura 2000 network site, by reducing the negative impacts of morphological alterations on 120 km of rivers;
  • Restored hydro-morphological conditions favourable for maintaining breeding, feeding and sheltering habitat on 19 river sectors, over at least 26 km in total, for example, by placing wooden logs in the river;
  • Sustainable bank stabilisation measures and buffer strips on at least 10 ha of river corridor, by planting native species and log-jam deflectors on key river reaches;
  • Construction of two functional passageways for fish on thresholds spillways located on the river Gilort that will provide longitudinal connectivity for 175 km of river between the two targeted Natura 2000 network sites;
  • Updated RBMP for Jiu river basin administration, with measures based on hydro-morphological pressures and measures concerning the monitoring of water bodies and maintaining a favourable conservation status of freshwater fish species;
  • At least 50 people (e.g. river basin administration staff) trained to implement integrated measures for the conservation of freshwater fish species, and at least 40 young professionals trained in river restoration and priority fish conservation;
  • Communication strategy for stakeholder engagement, focusing on three key institutions responsible for water management, nature conservation and management of water construction works;
  • Events and seminars organised for landowners, fishermen’s associations, experts and other stakeholders to promote in-situ conservation measures for species of freshwater fish in Natura 2000 network sites in Romania; and
  • Dissemination activities reaching 10 000 people.



Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Ecological coherence
Species - Fish


migratory species‚  river‚  management plan‚  restoration measure

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Barbus meridionalis   Eudontomyzon mariae   Gobio albipinnatus   Sabanejewia aurata     

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ROSCI0045 Coridorul Jiului
SCI ROSCI0362 Râul Gilort



Coordinator Agenția pentru Protecția Mediului Gorj - Environmental Protection Agency Gorj
Type of organisation Development agency
Description The Gorj environmental protection agency (APM Gorj) is the authority for environmental protection in the country of Gorj. It activities include environmental monitoring and the protection of natural habitats and species in the county of interest at national, European and international levels. Its departments coordinate and develop the standard forms for Natura 2000 network sites in the county.
Partners Invisible Nature, Romania Universitatea din Bucuresti, Romania


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/RO/000778
Duration 01-SEP-2017 to 31-MAR -2022
Total budget 1,497,642.00 €
EU contribution 896,336.00 €
Project location Centru(Romania) Vest(Romania)


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Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version