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GA English on Sunday: News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

GA English on Sunday : News in Brief from Bonn and the Region

4.3 Million euros are needed to fight against algae in the Rheinauensee, wild plant growth along the banks of the Rhine has become not only a problem for walkers, pilgrimage routes through in Bonn are marked in obscure places by a shell symbol, and a body was found after a fire in top-floor flat in Bendorf, Kreis Neuwied – here is our news in brief on Sunday.

4.3 Million euros are needed to fight against algae in the Rheinauensee

Bonn. Studies commissioned by the environmental agency have identified the phosphate source that consistently fertilizes the lake water of the Rheinauensee. It is not, as long suspected, the cooling water from the nearby Post Tower, but is water from the Rhine, which is pumped into the lake through pipes. Since the Rhine shows similarly high phosphate values at this place as the lake water, it is assumed to be the phosphate source.

The council has released 4.285 million euros in the coming double budget for an all-round renovation of the watercourse. The administration believes that 1.29 million euros of this sum could come from state subsidies. The city hopes to receive a commitment in April and then wants to put the work out to tender immediately so that the work can begin in the summer and be completed by spring 2022.

The Rheinauensee was created in 1979 on an area of 15 hectares as a natural floodplain landscape: however, it has no natural connection to the Rhine. Despite a water volume of about 150,000 cubic metres, the 1.3-kilometer-long lake is only 50 centimetres to three metres deep in many places. As a result, it warms up quickly in summer, which promotes algae growth. In the middle, an island serves as a bird sanctuary.

After all the fish have been removed from the lake into temporary quarters, the commissioned company is to dredge an estimated 2,350 cubic metres of organic sludge from the bottom of the lake. After filtering and pressing, 30,550 tons of material will probably remain, which will then have to be transported away and landfilled. The environmental agency is investigating whether microorganisms can be added to the lake water to feed on the algae sludge, which would significantly reduce the amount of material to be removed.

A 15-centimetre layer of sand will then be spread onto the lake bottom and planted with stoneworts. This work accounts for only about 1.3 million euros of the total cost. To prevent the process of phosphate over-fertilization from repeating itself in the next few years, the administration is also planning to install an appropriate filter system that will precipitate the phosphate. This will cost 50,000 euros to install and then cost 5,000 euros per year.

Other attempts to solve the problem in recent years had not brought any real success. Initially, waterfowl were suspected to be the main source of phosphate, because the birds fertilize the lake water with their droppings. As a countermeasure, the city of Bonn imposed a strict feeding ban on all its water areas in 2019 and planted riparian areas with long-stemmed daisies to supposedly keep waterfowl away. In addition, grass is cut less frequently on the banks, as geese in particular prefer short grass. It is hoped that at least part of the population will seek other habitats.

As early as 2018, citizens had also suggested on the citizens' portal "Bonn macht mit" that biodiversity should be promoted at and in the lake. For example, the reed belt that disappeared in 2017 should be replanted as a habitat for dragonflies and amphibians. Chick ladders could also help young birds find a way to shore during low water. In 2019, many chicks were trapped in the lake and perished. In addition, floating nesting platforms could benefit birds such as great crested grebes. The administration believes it can implement this from the current green space budget.
(Original text, Martin Wein)

Wild plant growth along the banks of the Rhine has become not only a problem for walkers.

Bonn. The banks of the Rhine can be reached from Adenauerallee via Zweite Fährgasse on a wide pavement. However, a section of the pavement has become so overgrown with birch trees, sumacs and ornamental apples that it is impassable for a distance of about 100 metres. In particular, passers-by in wheelchairs or with baby carriages have no other option than to swerve onto the road. Due to the legally parked vehicles at the roadside and the wildly growing bushes along the stone parapet, there is little space even for pedestrians to walk and on the other side of the street there is no pavement.

The landscape architect, Christoph Fuhr is appalled at how the city is letting the area deteriorate. "I have lived in Bonn for 25 years. It's a shame when you live in such a beautiful city and places like this are neglected so much. It pains me how the city deals with our areas and also with our money," Fuhr chides the city administration. If something is not done soon, there could be fatal consequences: sumac continues to spread very quickly and take root. Due to its large root system, some slabs on the pavement have already come loose. The roots are also damaging the stone parapet, and the marks have been visible for a long time: sumacs are pushing the masonry apart, and ornamental apple bushes are also causing cracks in the wall. "The parapet is clearly being pushed apart here," says Fuhr: "If the wall breaks apart and falls into the street, then we are talking about damage amounting to several thousand euros."

At the request of the General-Anzeiger, the city has announced that it will remove the coarsest growth along the parapet in the short term. "Afterwards, the wall will be inspected more closely for possible damage," says Markus Schmitz from the press office of the city of Bonn. The city usually checks roads, footpaths and cycle paths at regular intervals, usually six to eight weeks. The civil engineering department has around two million euros available for road maintenance this year.
(Original text, Sebastian Flick)

Pilgrimage routes through in Bonn are marked in obscure places by a shell symbol

Bonn. Ulrich Schmitz is responsible for marking the hiking and pilgrimage trails for the Bonn Eifel organisation and is on the road at least twice a year on one particular pilgrimage route, which leads via Trier to Schengen in Luxembourg. He is in charge of this trail up to the Iron Man near Buschhoven, as well as a route that leads over the Venusberg and is part of both the "Krönungsweg" to Aachen and the "Osteifelweg" to the Mosel region. All three trails begin at Bonn Cathedral. Schmitz's job is primarily to check the signage and affix new markers.

However, he has problems in the city centre, because it is not at all easy to find places to which he can fix markers. This is permitted on street lamps, as well as on the poles of traffic signs. In the centre of Bonn in particular, however, the lampposts are not smooth, but corrugated. Alternatively, the posts are made of granite. "These are not suitable because they're too porous." Otherwise, there are only isolated posts or drainpipes, if the building owners allow it.

Schmitz rides the routes by bike, which is why he is happy when he's out of the city-centre area. To do this, he has to cross under the main train station. The Pilgrims' Way markings – blue stickers with the yellow Camino de Santiago shell – still point from the bus station down the ramp to the area under the station. After that, you just have to know that you have to get to Colmant Street at the end, because Schmitz can't just put stickers there as it is all private property. However, most pilgrims today work with digital directions, he says.

Once you leave the station, all you have to do is keep your eyes open. The markings then lead you past the LVR Museum and Endenicher Burg. Here, the hiking trails branch off in the direction of the Venusberg, the pilgrimage trail continues to Meßdorfer Feld, where the markings are at the stone benches. Over the White Bridge and along Meßdorfer Straße you reach the Laurentius Church in Lessenich. There, pilgrims can also receive an official Way of St. James stamp. After that, the route continues via Gielsdorf to the field. The path leads past the Iron Cross to Rheinbach and beyond.

The way through the streets is somewhat uncomfortable. That's why Schmitz advises to take the bus and train to Lessenich and start the hike west there than from the minster, but those who want to cover the distance not as hikers but as pilgrims, of course, actually have no choice.
(Original text, Stefan Knopp)

A body was found in a top-floor flat fire in Bendorf, Kreis Neuwied

Bendorf. On Friday evening at about 11:30 p.m., there was a fire in a top-floor flat in Bendorf in the Neuwied district. In a press release, the police said that the attic apartment was ablaze and at that time it was unclear whether people were still in the apartment. At about midnight, the emergency services extinguished the fire and found a so far unidentified body in the apartment.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. The damage caused was estimated at several hundred thousand euros. The emergency services sealed the apartment, which is currently inaccessible, and the criminal investigation department is currently investigating.
(Original text, Tamara Wegbahn)

(All Translations, John Chandler)