Project website: 


The T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute, a public research institution, carries out research, conceptual, 

professional and methodological activity concerning protection of surface water and groundwater and 

their use in a technical, economic and other context and in mutual interactions.

The main aim of the project was to obtain data on critically endangered 
populations of our native species of crayfish – the stone crayfish 
(Austropotamobius torrentium) and European crayfish (Astacus astacus) 
– and on their habitats. 

The project therefore included monitoring of crayfish populations, monitoring 
of water quality and chemical burdening of sediments, monitoring of 
bioaccumulation of toxic metals in the crayfish tissue, impact on the stream 
hydromorphology and mapping of the macrozoobenthos and fish community 
structure. The acquired knowledge served as a basis for determining 
the principles of native crayfish species protection and proposals were 
made for the management of sites with their occurrence.

In cooperation with the Norwegian partner, comparison was made of various 
methods of crayfish catching, methods of estimating the size of crayfish 
populations, and proposals of management measures were consulted.

In the activities of publicity, public awareness and information, the project 
focused on the issue of invasive species of crayfish (signal crayfish and 
spinycheek crayfish), whose representatives carry a very dangerous and easily 
transferable fungal infection – the crayfish plague. The immunity system of 
the above-mentioned crayfish can handle that disease, but for our native 
species the crayfish plague is lethal. Therefore it is very important to inform 
the public about the danger of expansion of these species, especially in relation 
to the protection of our native species.

Monitoring of NATURA 2000 sites as a tool for effective 

management and conservation of autochthonous crayfish

T. G. Masaryk Water 
Research Institute
Prague (CZ)

Norwegian Institute for 
Nature Research (NINA)
Lillehammer (NO)

Povodí Vltavy, 
State Enterprise 
Prague (CZ)