LIFE Project Cover Photo

Regional Actions to Improve Nature in River Odense and Odense Fjord

Reference: LIFE04 NAT/DK/000022 | Acronym: Regain

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The river Odense (Odense Å) is one of the largest river systems in Denmark. Between 1944 and 1960 important sections of around 20 km in total, were canalised and straightened to provide more farmland. This, however, had serious consequences for wildlife, both in and near the river, which declined rapidly thereafter. Despite these losses, the River Odense is still the only river in Denmark that hosts a population of the thick-shelled river mussel (Unio crassus), a large freshwater mussel that has disappeared over much of its European range, as well as Annex II fish species such as the spined loach (Cobitis taenia) and brook lamprey (Lampetra planeri). Where the river drains into the Odense Fjord there is an area of Atlantic sea meadows and mudflats of high conservation potential.

Within the framework of national programmes, originally based on HELCOM objectives (the governing body of the Convention on the Protection of the Baltic Sea Area), extensive efforts had been made to reduce the point sources of pollution. However, the river and its surrounding habitats still suffered from the combined effects of a lack of hydrological interactions, due to the rigid canalisation system, and of leaching from diffuse pollution sources.


OBJECTIVES

The overall objective of this LIFE project was to improve the ecological conditions of species and habitats along the river Odense and in the fjord. The main action was to restore meanders to a 12.2 km section of the river. All landowners along the river (79 in total) would be contacted with a view to receiving compensation for the partial loss or alteration of their land use, within the framework of a land consolidation process. Around 350 ha of riparian wetlands and meadows would be re-created, which should help to reduce the nutrient load in Odense Fjord by some 5%. Management agreements would be signed to restore 155 ha of neglected coastal meadows along the fjord.

The project also aimed to explore the synergies between Natura 2000 designation and the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), as the river Odense was one of 13 pilot river basins selected by the European Commission to test the implementation of the WFD (2002-04).


RESULTS

The REGAIN project was successful. Its main actions included:

  • Restoring 350 ha of wetlands along the river Odense with increased retention capacity for nutrients and thereby reducing (by 3%), the nutrient load on Odense Fjord. Despite this relatively small decrease (i.e. less than the targeted 5%), it is an important step towards an improved biological status of the fjord;
  • The Natura 2000 area was enlarged to include the whole project area.
  • Improving the hydrological interplay between the river Odense and its riparian areas in the river valley, thus restoring the Habitat Directive Annex I types such as alluvial forest and petrifying springs,
  • Re-meandering 12 km of the river Odense to obtain better physical conditions for the benefit of the thick-shelled river mussel and other targeted Annex II fish species;
  • Obtaining proper management by grazing of over 155 ha of coastal meadows along the Odense Fjord shores, and 156 ha freshwater meadows along river Odense;
  • Exchanging experience with a German LIFE project on the conservation of the Unio Crassus mussel to ensure good conservation status;
  • Monitoring to follow the development of nature types and species over the short and longer- term.
  • One of the key future challenges is to keep the areas under an appropriate grazing regime. The project provided the basic infrastructure to allow grazing to take place in the future. Agreements were signed between 72 landowners. Fences erected under the framework of the project can last for 20 years, so the beneficiary hopes that this will provide an incentive to the landowners to maintain the grazing beyond the 5-10 years or so, guaranteed by the project.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report(see "Read more" section).The REGAIN project was successful. Its main actions included:

  • Restoring 350 ha of wetlands along the river Odense with increased retention capacity for nutrients and thereby reducing (by 3%), the nutrient load on Odense Fjord. Despite this relatively small decrease (i.e. less than the targeted 5%), it is an important step towards an improved biological status of the fjord;
  • The Natura 2000 area was enlarged to include the whole project area.
  • Improving the hydrological interplay between the river Odense and its riparian areas in the river valley, thus restoring the Habitat Directive Annex I types such as alluvial forest and petrifying springs,
  • Re-meandering 12 km of the river Odense to obtain better physical conditions for the benefit of the thick-shelled river mussel and other targeted Annex II fish species;
  • Obtaining proper management by grazing of over 155 ha of coastal meadows along the Odense Fjord shores, and 156 ha freshwater meadows along river Odense;
  • Exchanging experience with a German LIFE project on the conservation of the Unio Crassus mussel to ensure good conservation status;
  • Monitoring to follow the development of nature types and species over the short and longer- term.
  • One of the key future challenges is to keep the areas under an appropriate grazing regime. The project provided the basic infrastructure to allow grazing to take place in the future. Agreements were signed between 72 landowners. Fences erected under the framework of the project can last for 20 years, so the beneficiary hopes that this will provide an incentive to the landowners to maintain the grazing beyond the 5-10 years or so, guaranteed by the project.

    Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report(see "Read more" section).

    ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE04 NAT/DK/000022
    Acronym: Regain
    Start Date: 01/04/2004
    End Date: 30/09/2010
    Total Budget: 3,852,367 €
    EU Contribution: 1,926,184 €
    Project Location:

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Danish Nature Agency, District Fyn
    Legal Status: OTHER
    Address: Sollerupvej 24, DK - 5600, Faaborg, Danmark
    Contact Person:
    Email:
    Tel:
    Website: www.skovognatur.dk/Naturprojekter/Projekter/Fyn/OdenseAa/LIFE/


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Freshwater
    • River basin management

    KEYWORDS

    • aquatic ecosystem
    • environmental impact of agriculture
    • eutrophication
    • freshwater ecosystem
    • land use planning
    • renaturation
    • wetlands ecosystem
    • site rehabilitation
    • research project
    • hydrographic basin
    • water quality improvement
    • integrated management
    • policy integration
    • modelling
    • public-private partnership
    • sustainable development
    • development planning
    • pollution prevention
    • social participation
    • pollutant elimination
    • rural development
    • land restoration
    • informal negotiation
    • restoration measure
    • water resources management
    • diffuse pollution
    • coastal management
    • conflicting use
    • management contract
    • river management
    • environmentally responsible behaviour

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
    • Recommendation 2002/413 EC - "Implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe" (30.05.02)
    • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" (27.03.2001)
    • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
    • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
    • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

    TARGET HABITAT TYPES

    • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
    • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
    • 7220 - Petrifying springs with tufa formation (Cratoneurion)
    • 7230 - Alkaline fens
    • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"

    SPECIES

    • Unio crassus

    NATURA 2000 SITES

    Type Code Name
    SPA DK008X075 Odense Fjord (DEPRECATED)
    SCI DK008X188 Odense Å med Hågerup Å, Sallinge Å og Lindved Å (DEPRECATED)

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    Danish Nature Agency, District Fyn Coordinator
    None Participant