water with a rocky botoom, near a forest

Freshwater Ecology and Water Environment

Norconsult boasts a dedicated team of experts in the fields of fish, freshwater ecology, and water environment, who can address various inquiries related to bodies of water.

Our services include mapping in freshwater bodies and considering biodiversity in the water environment, whether it be small or large, in connection with development projects. Typical tasks may include assessing developments in hydropower, flood protection, and transportation, such as roads, bridges, and tunnels. Our biologists work in collaboration with hydrologists, hydraulic engineers and civil engineers to design environmentally friendly and cost-effective solutions. 

Good water quality is necessary to achieve good drinking water, maintain biodiversity, and retain high recreational value for streams, rivers, and lakes. Water quality can be influenced by physical interventions, acidification, and the introduction of nutrients, metals, or organic pollutants. Therefore, monitoring and analysing water samples and biological parameters such as benthic fauna, phytoplankton, and other biological quality elements are crucial in maintaining water quality in bodies of water. 

Fish and other freshwater ecology are crucial in assessing many assignments where streams, rivers, and lakes are affected. Keywords in these assignments include habitat conditions, bank vegetation, flow conditions, fish passages up and down through culverts and hydropower dams, migration solutions for eels, environmental design, re-establishment of streams after relocation, restoration measures, and more environmentally friendly flood and erosion protection. To assess such measures, surveys such as spawning fish counts, electrofishing, gillnet fishing, trap fishing, habitat mapping, drone filming, automatic fish counters, and more may be necessary. 

Norconsult has employees with high expertise in the water environment who can carry out fieldwork according to applicable standards such as EUs water directive and identify current organism groups living in or near water bodies. 

We engage in close collaboration with other specialised teams within Norconsult, which enables us to provide comprehensive and interdisciplinary assessments. Our evaluations encompass the interrelationships and impacts among land, freshwater, and sea, thereby providing a holistic perspective on the matter at hand. 


Norconsult can help with various services: 

  • Preparation of habitat plans in connection with measures affecting water bodies 
  • Mapping according to standardized methods for environmental design in water bodies 
  • The use of drones for full mapping in rivers, combined with hydraulic modelling in connection with the adjustment of minimum water release based on biological considerations 
  • Monitoring, analysis, and classification of biological quality elements in water bodies, applications for physical measures in water bodies 
  • Assessments according to § 12 of the Norwegian Water Regulation and § 11 of the Water Resources Act on riparian zones 
  • Impact assessments for small and large planning and development projects 
  • License applications to NVE 
  • Assessments in connection with revisions of hydropower licenses 
  • Fish migration solutions such as fish ladders, fish-friendly intake constructions at hydropower plants, as well as culvert solutions with measures for fish migration 
  • Environmental monitoring, and risk assessment in construction and building phases 
  • R&D projects for management and developers. 
  • Leif Simonsen

    Group leader Freshwater ecology and water environment

  • Lars Bendixby

    Specialist on fish and fish migration

  • Trond Stabell

    Specialist on freshwater ecology and biological quality elements in freshwater

  • Contact us