Berlin Environmental Atlas

02.08 Fish Fauna (Edition 2004)

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Artificial Lakes

This category includes 16 of the lakes sampled. Their size varies between 0.5 hectares (Körner Lake) and 30 hectares (Airport Lake). In them, a total of 20 species of fish were verified, six fewer than in 1993; each lake had at least 3 (Elsengrund Basin, Elsengrund Lake and Dreieck Lake), and at most 15 (Airport Lake). The high numbers of fish species can be explained by stocking.

A representative of this category is Arkenberg Lake, a former gravel pit located in northern Berlin (Blankenfelde). The lake, which is today eutrophic, was created in 1979 in the course of freeway construction, and has since then been managed for fishing by the Berlin State Fishermen's Association. A construction rubble dump is operated on the west shore of the lake. A further source of anthropogenic water pollution is the extremely heavy summertime bathing use. The shoreline of this artificial lake is very structurally poor and monotonous; an extensive growth of submersed makrophytes deserves mention, however. All 13 species of fish occurring were caused by stocking; however, today they predominantly reproduce naturally, with the exception of catfish and carp.

The so-called BUGA bodies of water on the terrain of the former Federal Horticultural Exhibition (BUGA) were created for the scenic design of the park. They are artificially fed. Their water is relatively low in nutrients, and clear. Parts of the shore region have been near-naturally designed and planted, and are home to a large number of plant species. Thick growths of submersed makrophytes grow in the water. Although numerous species of fish, including bitterlings, were stocked in these bodies of water, only seven could now be verified. The bitterlings have not taken hold.

The Airport Lake, over 30 m deep, is the deepest body of water in Berlin. It was created as a gravel quarry for the construction of Tegel Airport, and is today managed by fishermen. Near-natural shore vegetation is found in places not frequented by bathers. Some of the reed-bed stands are endangered by the drop in the ground-water level. The herbaceous bays at the southern part of the lake serve fish as spawning areas, and their brood as growth shelter. Only 15 species of fish have currently been verified, 4 fewer than in 1993.

In the Great Tiergarten, there are a number of park bodies of water which are in some cases interconnected by trenches, of which two, Faule Lake and Neue Lake, are classed as artificial lakes due to their area. Their water is supplied from the Spree, but this connection is not passable for fish, so that the very high number of fish species, 15 compared with 18 to 1993, is still largely due to stocking. Wolter & Vilcinskas in 1993 proposed a connection passable for fish from these bodies of water to the Spree, but it has not been realized to date.

The Kaulsdorf Lakes, located in the borough of Hellersdorf, are a very recently created recreation area containing 5 manmade lakes, of which Butz and Habermann Lakes are the two oldest. The latter was created in connection with the construction of the German National Railways Wuhlheide detour track in 1942. The Kies ("gravel") Lake was excavated in 1970; since 1980, gravel has been quarried at Elsengrund Lake. As former quarries, these bodies of water have a gravelly sediment. Only in the Elsengrund Basin was foul sludge determined, connected with hydrogen sulfide formation.
All lakes are heavily fished, and also extremely heavily frequented by bathers in the summer, numbering up to 30,000 in a day. The strong bathing use in summer and the wintertime frequentation of the frozen surfaces have led to considerable shore erosion and an almost complete disappearance of the once extensive reed-bed stands. Only in those shore sections where trees and bushes prevent sun-bathing has near-natural preservation-worthy shore vegetation developed. Other valuable structural elements include the various species of submersed aquatic plant growing in all the lakes except the Elsengrund basin.
Altogether, 14 species of fish were found in the Kaulsdorf lakes; between three and eleven (Kies Lake) in individual lakes. Pike still find suitable conditions for natural reproduction in the lakes. Since, as a result of the loss of spawning grounds and thus restricted possibilities of the survival of the species, this species of fish is predominantly present in Berlin due to stocking, so that the few remaining spawning grounds are particularly protection-worthy.

The former gravel pit in the Lasszins meadows is a near-natural body of water, protected and fenced in due to its significance for birdlife. The shore structure consists of a broad reed-bed belt and trees. A thick growth of submersed makrophytes exists in the clear, relatively low-nutrient water. Pike find particularly suitable living and reproduction conditions here, too.

Retention Basins

Retention basins are artificially created bodies of water. As their name implies, they serve as catchment, collection and sedimentation basins for rain and surface water. The run-off from roofs, courts, streets and other sources collected in these basins is heavily contaminated by nutrients and pollutants, particularly PCBs. The toxic sediments washed in do not reach the open bodies of water, so that rain retention basins contribute to the reduction of the diffuse nutrient and pollutant immission often required of other surface bodies of water; they have been conceived and designed for this purpose.
Due to the pollution of the water and the sediments which accumulate in the fish, these bodies of water may not be fished. Since retention basins can of course not be settled by fish either, they should actually be fish-free. The opposite is the case. None of the six rain retention basins examined was home to less than two fish species (Dahlwitzer Landstrasse retention basin). On average, 8 species were verified, the maximum was 14 (Wuhle basin).

The Wuhle basin in Marzahn is structurally an exception, however, since the Wuhle sewage-treatment plant discharge channel flows through it. Both bodies of water are also managed by the DAV. With the closure this year of the Falkenberg sewage-treatment plant, which has fed the Wuhle and the Wuhle basin, future changes in the water course and flow are to be expected, which will also have a medium-term effect on the fish-species association.

The Klötz basin is located in the Lübars neighborhood. It was built in 1968, as part of the planning of an industrial area. The shores are monotonous, and overgrown with grass only above their reinforcement. Submersed makrophytes and other structures which could be used by fish as a spawning ground or shelter are largely lacking. The verified 9 species of fish are the result of stocking. Except for the three-spined stickleback, there seems to be no natural reproduction of fish species present.

The Osdorfer Straße rain retention basin is completely fenced in. The shores are thickly covered with bushes and trees. A thick growth of cow-lilies is found in shallow places. As was already suspected in 1993, the bitterlings have disappeared from the basin, since the species of mussel essential for their successful reproduction is lacking.

The 1.8-hectare Seggeluch basin is in the Märkische Viertel. Its shores are artificially reinforced and largely vegetation-free. The verified 11 species are stocked. It would appear an unsuitable habitat for so many fish species, because of its small size and lack of structures.

Unlike the other retention basins, the Rahnsdorf basin was built as a survival pit for the fish from the Fredersdorf Mill stream, the lower stretches of which periodically dry out. More than 14,000 fish from 11 species were counted in the mass fishing of approx. 250 sqm area survival pit carried out a 1999 (Fredrich & Wolter. unpublished). This included one single stocked catfish, for which both the basin and the stream itself are completely unsuitable as a habitat.

Small Bodies of Water (ponds, tarns, meres, kettle-holes and the like)

Ponds are artificial, dischargeable bodies of water. The other bodies of water were usually naturally created as a result of landscape processes during the Ice Age, including "dead-ice" lakes, and kettle-holes, or as abandoned clay or gravel quarries, or peat cuts. These bodies of water are different from ponds due to the fact that in principle, they are not drainable. Since no pond management is carried out in Berlin and therefore the ponds are drained only in the course of rehabilitation work, both forms have been categorized together. No further distinctions of the small bodies of water are required, either, from an ichtheologic point of view in the examination area.
Their quality of inflow waters, anthropogenic impairments (mainly by fish stocking), and their areas (usually less than 1 ha) are all similar and make them comparable. A total of 49 Berlin small bodies of water were verified as home to a total of 24 species of fish, 20 of them indigenous. The average number of species per small body of water is 5, which is very high, considering their small areas. Only a few examples of these bodies of water are to be introduced briefly in the following:

The Buch ponds, three interconnected ponds in the midst of sewage farms which operated until the mid-eighties, are located in the north of Berlin. The fisheries management is carried out by the DAV. While Pond III is still completely surrounded by trees, Pond I lacks them almost entirely. The latter is surrounded principally by great sedge reed. Pond II represents the transitional form between the other two. Pond I is fished considerably less than the other two, which are heavily frequented. This is primarily evidenced by the uninterrupted shore vegetation. The shores of Ponds II and III are trodden and eroded in the accessible places. All three ponds are strongly silted. Altogether, 11 species of fish have been verified in the Buch ponds.

Eckern pond is in the middle of a park in Tempelhof. Its shore structures are a monotonous, regularly-formed reinforcements. Five species of fish were verified here, all euryecoid species.

The Erlengraben pond is connected with the upper Havel by a trench. Its shores, overgrown by reeds and trees, make it seem relatively near-natural. The fish population results largely from stocking and consists of 12 species.

The polytrophic Faule Lake is located in the protected area of the same name in Weissensee. Originally, it had no outflow; in the last century it was connected by a trench to the Panke water system. This caused the water-level of the lake to sink by more than one meter. The lake floor is heavily silted. Today, the area around the Faule Lake is primarily significant as an inner-city rest and refuge area for birds. Two species of fish have stable populations.

Hufeisen pond is located in Britz in the middle of a housing development. Its shores are reinforced partly by concrete plates. Aquatic plants are also lacking, as is shore vegetation. The pond is excessively anthropogenically overformed and non-natural. Notwithstanding, the pond has a stable crucian carp stock.

The Karow ponds are four hypertrophic, former fish ponds in the fields of the discontinued Buch sewage farms. The ponds, interconnected by pipes, were used for fishing until 1990, and are a nature protection area today. Their very unspoiled shores are lined with extensive reed-bed stands.

The Charlottenburg Palace carp pond is connected by trenches with the Spree. No migration of fish is to expect from this side, however, since the weir at the confluence of the Spree is not passable for fish. Nevertheless, 18 species of fish were verified in these bodies of water. Their value for the Berlin fish fauna could be increased considerably if the weir were fitted with a fish-passage aid.
Unfortunately, no such compensation measure was provided for the developments of the Spree Bend. The carp ponds and the trenches would be an important structural element which the fish in the now even more reinforced and monotonous inner-city Spree could use as a retreat and reproduction refuge.

Altogether nine little ponds and meres are located in the Malchow flood-plain meadow north of the lake of the same name. The shores have broad reed belts or are lined by alder-marsh woods. Almost all ponds accommodate rich stocks of submerged aquatic plants and seem natural. Five ponds regularly dry out in summer and have no fish. The remaining 4 ponds accommodate both stickleback species and gibel carp, along with roach, tench, crucian and carp in one pond. As one of the few remained habitats for sticklebacks, the Malchow meadow is protection-worthy. Furthermore the wetland is of great importance for the reproduction of local amphibian species.

The Roete pool in the borough of Neukölln appears relatively near-natural. It has thick reed-bed and sub-aquatic plant formations and is also especially significant as an amphibian spawning area.

Even after ten years, no fish have been verified in the Rosenthal ponds west of the Blankenfelder Chaussee, indicating that the annual drying out of the ponds, which lasts for several months, is continuing.

The Rückert Pond is located on the campus of the Free University of Berlin, surrounded by grassy areas, low reed-bed stands and some trees. Its floor is muddy, however, and has a low stock of submersed makrophytes. In addition to tench, crucian and gibel carp, the goldfish stocked in 1990 have survived to this day.

The pond in the Steglitz Municipal Park is one of the few that show a fish settlement typical for its body-of-water category. In addition to moderlieschen, which appear sporadically in masses, crucian and gibel carp also occur.

The Südende pond resembles the Steglitz park pond. The shores are largely reinforced and accordingly monotonous, here too. The bushes and trees of the shoreline cannot serve the water species as shelter, spawning, or feeding areas. Only two species, crucian and gibel carp, have been verified.

The shores of the Tempelhof Turkish Pool are lined with bushes and trees; the water itself is clogged with trash. Notwithstanding this, 4 species still survive in the pond.

One of the bodies of water newly fished in recent years in the Riemeisterfenn. This former bog area was fed with nutritious Havel water through the Fenn Trench from 1958 to 1995 to safeguard the groundwater supply in the area. With the termination of groundwater charging in 1995, the nutrient enrichment to the Fenn was to terminate, and the area permitted to redevelop into a mesotrophic mire again. For this reason, the connection to the Fenn Trench was interrupted in the late summer of 1998. However, this dam also prevents the access of fish from the Grunewald lakes to spawning areas in the Fenn. The fish association of 12 species even today provides evidence for the successful spawning of these species in the Fenn. It includes bream and white bream, which were isolated in the Riemeisterfenn, but are atypical there.

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