Case study:Removal of five Lakes on the Val des Choues stream

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Location: 47° 47' 6", 4° 44' 39"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Country France
Main contact forename Bertrande
Main contact surname Barre
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Office National de Forêts
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
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encompassing the following
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Project summary

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The Val de Choues stream is a tributary of the Ource and is 5.5 kilometres in length. In 1968, with a view to salmonid farming, the ancient Narlin pond, originally created by the monks of a local abbey, was transformed into a complex of five ponds. This fish farm proved to be unprofitable and was abandoned in 1973. The fragmentation of the stream by the ponds modified the environment and increased the fragility of the crayfish population (the watercourse was cut off from its main tributaries, temperature changes occurred, there was influx of undesirable fish species and an obstacle was created to the free movement of fish and crayfish). In the framework of the “LIFE” Nature Programme, this site was chosen for a project concerning the restoration of white-clawed crayfish. The water bodies were drained in two phases. In June 2006, the three upstream ponds were drained and the fish were rescued. The embankments were opened in August. In September 2006, the two remaining downstream ponds, which until then had been acting as sedimentation basins, were drained and the embankments were then opened in November. The most upstream pond could not be removed due to its major heritage value (historic and faunistic). This pond was linked to the other ponds by the watercourse and a parallel canal (created for fish-farming purposes). In order to reduce the drying out of the watercourse, the entire flow emerging from the pond was redirected towards the stream by dismantling the dividing weir that was responsible for supplying water to the canal and by partially filling in the upstream section of this canal. Developments were made in order to diversify the habitats in the original watercourse (laying of limestone blocks) and a gate was installed in the upstream water body.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

The most upstream pond is retained. It is a site of heritage interest (historic and faunistic).
The preserved heritage pond embankment.
The Val des Choues stream reforming its bed in the sediment left by the ponds (March 2009).
The new sinuous course of the stream in June 2009.
The Val des Choues stream within the impoundment area of the former ponds. Detail of particle size in the watercourse in June 2009.

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Seine-Normandie
River basin


River name Val des Choues
Area category 10 - 100 km²
Area (km2) 18 km²
1,800 ha
Maximum altitude category 500 - 1000 m
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology Calcareous
Ecoregion Western Highlands
Dominant land cover Woodland
Waterbody ID


Name Villiers-le-Duc
WFD water body codes FRHR4
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology Embanked
Reference morphology Sinuous
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body true
National/international site designation EU - Special Area of Conservation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present
Invasive species present
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology Quick run-off, Artificially regulated
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use Woodland, Extensive agriculture
Average bankfull channel width category Less than 2 m
Average bankfull channel width (m) 2
2 m
0.002 km
200 cm
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient 0.01
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m) 700 m
0.7 km
70,000 cm
Project started
Works started 2006/06/01
Works completed 2007/01/01
Project completed
Total cost category 50 - 100 k€
Total cost (k€) 50 k€
50,000 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources European Commission, French Ministry responsible for Environment, Regional Council, Rhône, Water Agency of Mediterranean & Corsica and Seine-Normandy Regions, EU LIFE Programme

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design 10 - 50 k€ 13 k€
13,000 €
Stakeholder engagement and communication 1 - 10 k€ 5 k€
5,000 €
Works and works supervision 10 - 50 k€ 50 k€
50,000 €
Post-project management and maintenance

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Reservoir impoundment
Hydromorphology Width & depth variation, Continuity for organisms, Continuity of sediment transport, Quantity & dynamics of flow
Biology Fish: Species composition, Fish: Abundance
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern Removal of impoundments, Removal of derivation of watercourse
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)
Other River contract


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Quantity & dynamics of flow Yes Yes Yes

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative
Fish: Abundance Yes Yes Improvement
Invertebrates: Taxonomic composition Yes Yes Improvement

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

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Supplementary Information

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