The Ems is connected to many inland bodies of water via a system of sluices and pumping stations. These structures, which separate the river from neighbouring bodies of water, are often impossible or difficult for fish and other animals to traverse. In order for these animals to be able to regain their original habitats, the Master Plan Ems 2050 plans to work with dyke and drain associations to find solutions for making these structures more traversable for animals, significantly expanding the species' habitats.
The EU also feels that this would considerably improve the quality of the Ems estuary, taking consideration of the European Water Framework Directive and its call to improve water quality.
Based on the positive results of a feasibility study, a preferred method for improving traversability at the Knock sluice has been selected: among other things, reprogramming the gate controls will foreseeably improve conditions for migrating species by spring of 2017, in time for spawning season.
Examinations conducted at the Oldersum sluice have revealed that better traversability will be possible with specific fish locking at the Oldersum sluice. This is also expected to begin in 2017.
Further examinations for improvements are also planned for the following sluices:
- Sautel sluice
- Pogum sluice
- Ditzum sluice
- Coldeborg sluice
- Jemgum sluice
- Soltburg sluice
- Stapelmoor sluice.