CNR model

Preserving biodiversity

Great attention is given to the fauna and flora of the Rhone in the management of the 27,000 ha of land belonging to CNR’s concession. CNR participates in preserving its biodiversity.

Dynamic partnerships for biodiversity and wetlands

passe-a-poissons-compsAlong with the government, the Rhone-Mediterranean and Corsica Water Agency and the National Water and Wetlands Agency (ONEMA), CNR has signed a second framework agreement for the period 2014-2018. The aim is to make the Rhone a living river with vigorous natural functions, by restoring the ecology of the Rhone’s natural river bed and ensuring the return of migrating fish.

In its capacity of funding body, CNR, which also either supervises the operations or provides expert technical advice, is an essential partner in this active approach taken by the partners. By virtue of its Missions in the General Interest, CNR is investing €47 M from now to 2018 to preserve the biodiversity of the Rhone and contribute to the balanced management of water resources.

Contribution to the Green and Blue Corridor

CNR and its partners act within the framework of the Government-Region Projects of the Rhone Plan and the Green and Blue Corridor of the Grenelle 2 law: this entails creating a coherent ecological corridor in the territory to ensure the living conditions of the animal and plant species present and to combat climate change.

Restoration of fish migration routes

CNR is restoring the migration route of diadromous migratory fishes (shad, lamprey, eel, etc.) which live in the sea and breed in fresh water (or vice-versa for the eel). It builds fish passes on some of its infrastructures to recreate the continuity of migration routes.
Furthermore, it adapts the management of its locks of Beaucaire, Avignon and Caderousse by installing specific lock operations for fishes.

Restoration of the natural environment of the Rhone

lone-de-champagneux-haut-rhoneAnother target of CNR’s actions are oxbows. These secondary branches of the Rhone accommodate great biological wealth and allow species to breed, grow and shelter. It therefore carries out earthworks to fill these former branches with water by removing sediment and sometimes dismantling old structures (groynes and spur dikes built at the end of the 19th century). These operations are completed by revegetation works.

Dragonfly, beaver, otter, and more: a wealth of biodiversity to be preserved

Actions in favour of preserving biodiversity associated with balanced land management, contribute to the presence of many species along the Rhone such as beavers, otters, dragonflies, and bats. It is precisely to preserve this rich natural heritage that CNR participates in implementing actions in partnership with the Rhone-Alps Nature Protection Federation (Frapna) and the Bird Protection league (LPO).

Passe-a-poissons-sauveterre-CNRA new fish pass at Sauveterre (Gard)

The works performed on the plant and dam of Sauveterre consist of an itinerary composed of forty successive basins allowing the fish to climb the 10 m high dam. The species targeted in this case is the shad, a species that migrates over long distances and belongs to the herring family.

Objectives of the 3rd MGI plan (2014-2018):

  • €47 M invested by CNR for water resources and biodiversity
  • Restauration of 20 oxbows
  • Construction de 4 fish passes


Jean-Michel Olivier
CNRS research engineer

The CNRS has worked with CNR for more than thirty years. We discuss the goals, the working methods, the presentation of results, how they are used, and we share our data, assets and competences. The quality and scale of our partnership makes our programme for the hydraulic and ecological restoration of the Rhone exceptional and there’s nothing else like it elsewhere in the world.

On the same subject

  • Missions in the General Interest: water resources and biodiversity 

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