Station 7 - English
Lake landscape created by human beings
When it was built in 1905, the Urftsee reservoir dam was the largest in Europe, and was regarded as a masterpiece of engineering. The Rur valley dam, completed in 1959 with a height of 70 metres, became the highest German dam structure. A system of additional reservoir dams finally created an artificial lake landscape in the North Eifel, which exerts a strong influence on the nature of the National Park.
The most important motive for the construction of the reservoir lakes was to control the outflow of the sometimes dangerously high volumes of water in the Eifel Rur river and its tributaries.
Welcome side effects of this lake landscape included assuring the drinking water supply, meeting the water requirements of industry, and generating power. The Kölnische Rundschau newspaper stated: “This is why electric light was already available in the remote Eifel area, at a time when the large cities still had smoky oil lamps.”
Reservoir lakes attract new guests
Scarcely had the first lake been flooded when it began attracting to the Eifel not only human beings seeking recreation; the lake landscape has also long been an important wintering place for herons, cormorants, geese, diving ducks, rails and great crested grebes.
Pros and cons of reservoir lakes
A reservoir lake changes the temperature and oxygen content of the water, and the zone of reeds and rushes is almost completely lacking. The dams constitute impassable barriers for migrating species of fish, thus displacing a number of plant and animal species.
Other species benefit from the large water bodies of the reservoir lakes, particularly those that take advantage of the abundant supply of fish, or that feed on adult insects which emerge from aquatic larvae. In addition, special guests are attracted by the particularly warm rocks on the shore.
On the left side of this station is a model of a Daubenton’s bat that you can touch.
Above it you can learn which animal species benefit from reservoir dams, and which suffer negative consequences. Simply press the two buttons. As winners, the following light up:
• Daubenton’s bat
• Black kite
• Great crested grebe
• Wall lizard
• Brook trout
• Freshwater pearl mussel
• Beautiful demoiselle