With its tributaries and sluices, the Ems is actually one cohesive habitat. However, the drain and irrigation systems have increasingly blocked the paths of migrating species. The Master Plan Ems 2050 thus stipulates that, in the interest of the ecological improvement of the Ems and its neighbouring bodies of water, structures in the river or confluent bodies of water be made more traversable for fish and other animals.
Currently these plans are primarily concentrated in Knock and Oldersum. The Lower Saxony State Organisation for Water Management, Coast and Nature Conservation (NLWKN) is cooperating with the draining associations and, in the case of Oldersum, with the Federal Waterway and Shipping Administration.
The Knock sluice will be separated from the river by a sluice and pumping station at the confluence with the Ems at the southwestern point of the East Frisian peninsula. The sluice itself is about 35 kilometres in length and, with the adjacent bodies of water, drains broad expanses of western Eastern Friesland. Ecologically optimal sluice management is currently being worked on to acquire this broad aquatic habitat for fish and other creatures from the Ems and other bodies of water.
In Oldersum, the Oldersum sluice and the Ems by-channel are jointly considered in the interest of improving traversability. The two bodies of water are connected, but enter the Ems separately – the channel via the Oldersum lock, the sluice via the pumping station. The NLWKN currently favours the lock. Under the current conditions, additional fish locks can be used to improve access for fish and other animals. The NLWKN and WSA Emden are currently working closely together to resolve the matter.