LIFE Project Cover Photo

Wise water management for the conservation of riverine and floodplain habitats along the Drava River

Reference: LIFE17 NAT/HU/000577 | Acronym: WISEDRAVALIFE



Riparian and floodplain habitats have deteriorated along the Drava river, mainly due to riverbed degradation. In particular, three types of habitat have unfavourable/inadequate conservation status: alluvial forests with black alder and common ash, water courses with vegetation or aquatic mosses, and alluvial meadows.

Riverbed incision is the most significant pressure affecting natural habitats; it has a substantial impact even on areas kilometres away from the river. Additional threats, such as drainage and lack of water on the floodplain, have also been identified along the Drava. Improper land use can negatively affect water-related species or bird populations. Climate change also impacts freshwater habitats along the river.


WISEDRAVALIFE aims to improve the conservation status and resilience of the three riparian habitats - alluvial forests, water courses and alluvial meadows - on the Croatian-Hungarian stretches of the Drava river. The project will take action to improve the water regime and biodiversity of the riparian forests, restore habitats and control invasive alien species. It also aims to apply new approaches to combat riverbed degradation. Through its work, WISEDRAVALIFE will contribute to the implementation of EU legislation, namely the Birds, Habitats, Water Framework and Flood directives.

Specific objectives:

  • Assessment of the root causes of riverbed incision along the Drava river;
  • Provide solutions/implement area-specific measures to combat riverbed degradation and to improve the conservation status of the habitats targeted;
  • Integration of project results into national and European policies.
  • Expected results:

  • Redesign of existing river regulation structures (in at least three locations within the project area);
  • Reconnection of one side branch to the Drava river;
  • Construction of five bottom weirs to improve the water retention capacity of Lankoc Forest and installation of three sluices on side channels of the Dombo watercourse, improving water supply in the forest;
  • Purchase of land (almost 45 ha) in Lankóc Forest to overcome conflicts of interest between landowners and nature conservation management bodies;
  • Improved ecological condition of habitats in Lankóc Forest (on over 500 ha);
  • Elimination of black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), a non-native tree species covering more than half of a wooded area in Gyékényes, and planting of young forest;
  • Installation of black stork nests and bat boxes; and
  • Development of recommendations for harmonising the management plans of river basin, flood risk and Natura 2000 areas.


    Reference: LIFE17 NAT/HU/000577
    Start Date: 01/07/2018
    End Date: 30/06/2023
    Total Budget: 1,785,392 €
    EU Contribution: 1,057,071 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: WWF Vilg Termszeti Alap Magyarorszg Alaptvny
    Legal Status: PRIVATE
    Address: lmos vezr tja 69/A, H-1141, Budapest, Hungary Magyarország
    Contact Person: Zoltán BARINA

    LIFE Project Map



    • Freshwater
    • Forests
    • Grasslands


    • renaturation
    • river
    • management plan
    • land purchase


    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)
    • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
    • Regulation 1143/2014 - Prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (22.10.2014)


    • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation
    • 6440 - Alluvial meadows of river valleys of the Cnidion dubii
    • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"


    • Ciconia nigra
    • Plecotus auritus
    • Pipistrellus nathusii
    • Myotis nattereri
    • Myotis alcathoe
    • Myotis mystacinus
    • Myotis brandtii
    • Myotis daubentonii


    Type Code Name
    SCI HUDD20007 Kelet-Dráva (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HUDD20056 Közép-Dráva (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HUDD20062 Nyugat-Dráva-sík (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HUDD20054 Nyugat-Dráva (DEPRECATED)
    SPA HR1000014 Gornji tok Drave (od Donje Dubrave do Terezinog polja) (DEPRECATED)
    SPA HR1000015 Srednji tok Drave (DEPRECATED)
    SPA HR1000016 Podunavlje i donje Podravlje (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HR5000015 Srednji tok Drave (od Terezinog polja do Donjeg Miholjca) (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HR2001308 Donji tok Drave (DEPRECATED)
    SCI HR5000014 Gornji tok Drave (od Donje Dubrave do Terezinog polja) (DEPRECATED)


    Name Type
    WWF Vilg Termszeti Alap Magyarorszg Alaptvny Coordinator
    Hrvatske vode, Pravna osoba za upravljanje vodama (Croatian waters), Croatia Participant
    SEFAG Erdészeti és Faipari Zrt. (SEFAG Forest Management and Wood Industry Share Co.), Hungary Participant
    Dél-dunántúli Vízügyi Igazgatóság (South-Transdanubian Water Management Directorate), Hungary Participant
    Duna-Dráva Nemzeti Park Igazgatóság (Danube Drava National Park Directorate), Hungary Participant