The Lockkeeper of the Mayenne

Meeting the lockkeeper of the Mayenne river in the city Laval!

Bodila Guelndo

Laval, an old town with a lot of water history and a picturesque center. Straight through the town is the river Mayenne. I met the local lock keeper.

He told me about the river, and showed me how the lock worked. Everything on the lock was manual operated so with a lot of elbow grease he turned the sluices and in four minutes the 300 liter basin was emptied. The reason these locks where needed was because of the height level.

The river Mayenne flows from Anger to Laval and men wanted a way to utilize the river for transport. In 1857, 37 weirs where placed in the river to account for the height difference between the two cities. Around 1897 more water “innovation” took place in the form of two hydro-power by the gentlemen Chaplet and Pivert.

In 2007 the old hydro-power stations where upgraded to a new design. A submerged turbine which, not only, supply the demand for electricity but also the need for fish recovery, recreation, waterlevel management and the shipping industry. In 2010 this concept got green light to be implemented on 14 other weirs. The remaining weirs where outfitted with fish-passages for the migrating eel.

Roberto Epple

See how life will continue after the removal of both dams!

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A video about restoring ecological connectivity in the Seluné river

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Location: Laval, France

Laval, an old town with a lot of water history and a picturesque center. Straight through the town is the river Mayenne. I met the local lock keeper.

He told me about the river, and showed me how the lock worked. Everything on the lock was manual operated so with a lot of elbow grease he turned the sluices and in four minutes the 300 liter basin was emptied. The reason these locks where needed was because of the height level.

The river Mayenne flows from Anger to Laval and men wanted a way to utilize the river for transport. In 1857, 37 weirs where placed in the river to account for the height difference between the two cities. Around 1897 more water “innovation” took place in the form of two hydro-power by the gentlemen Chaplet and Pivert.

In 2007 the old hydro-power stations where upgraded to a new design. A submerged turbine which, not only, supply the demand for electricity but also the need for fish recovery, recreation, waterlevel management and the shipping industry. In 2010 this concept got green light to be implemented on 14 other weirs. The remaining weirs where outfitted with fish-passages for the migrating eel.

The old hydro-power installation is on the right side of the building