Gail (river)

Gail at Vorderberg

The Gail (Slovenian Zilja ) is the largest right tributary of the Drava.


The river name Gail, even the Horny, one of the very old topographical signs in Carinthia and dates back to Illyrian Gē'lias / Gailias what " Exuberant, inundating the " means. In late antiquity, the river latin as Licas / Licus / Lica is referred to as 800 Cellia. Also, the Tyrol and Bavaria Lech was called Licus. Licus is etymologically the same sense with Gail and is based on the Indo-European root (v ) leiqu - for " be wet, liquid '. In 1090, the river is called the Gila. In the Slovenian Gail Zila / Zilja is, on Furlan Zeie and in Italian Zeglia.


The Gail flows through the Tyrol's Gail Valley, the valley of Lesa, and the Gail Valley. It rises in a bog at Kartitscher bridge in East Tyrol. In Hermagor she takes the Gössering on, at the Arnold Stein Gailitz. South-east of Villach it opens at Maria Gail in the Drava. The river length is 122.2 km, the catchment area is 1414 km ².

In the valley of Lesa Gail is still in its original state. In addition to the extinction threatened the German tamarisk ( Myricaria germanica ) here also occur sandpipers, dippers and gray wagtails.

Especially in the upper Gail Valley, the river was originally branched strong. At that time, the Gail was characterized by wide floodplains and wet meadows, but also frequent flooding. 1875 began the Gailregulierung, she reached into the 1970s. The Gail was straightened, drained the valley floor. By regulating arable land has been won, but taken many types of habitat. So there is iG only a few remnants of the once prevailing wet meadows. On one of these meadows is about the only Austrian occurrence of the Illyrian gladiolus ( Gladiolus illyricus ).

In the Middle Gail and within the city of Villach restoration measures have been carried out since the 1980s. The diversity of habitats has been improved by widening of the flow tube, which in turn led to an increase in biodiversity.

In the area of ​​landslides of the Dobratsch to meander formed, which are still preserved. Probably by the earthquake of 1348 which triggered a landslide, a several -kilometer-long lake was dammed, which existed until the 18th century and from which the place name Seewiese testifies ⊙ 46.573513.7255540 today.

Flow and water quality

The mean flow rate is at Federaun, 8.6 km upstream of the mouth, 44.5 m³ / s ( 1951-2010 ). The mean annual flood is 414 m³ / s, the highest flood was 850 m³ / s (5 November 1966). In addition to early summer runoff maxima occur at the Gail, due Südstaulagen and associated heavy rainfall, even autumnal maxima.

Regarding water quality, the Gail is to Kötschach -Mauthen with grade I ( hardly contaminated ), then with grade I- II ( hardly contaminated to moderate ) classified.

Fish regions

Historically handed the trout region to Kötschach -Mauthen, the grayling region to Bach hot mouth. The barbel region took the lowest Gail below the Warmbach mouth. Today the trout region ranges due to the river regulation, to Hermagor. From historically documented 26 species currently occur in the river only 17 species, which are endangered applies the Strömer.

Power plants

There are three small hydropower plants on the Gail. The power station at bulk with the storage space and the water diversion affect the ecology of Gail sustainable. Especially the fish migration from cash and nose is thereby prevented.