Like many rivers in the EU, the Danube in the urban area of Donauwrth has been significantly modified. Flood protection and barrages have led to poor biodiversity, deepening of the riverbed, sinking groundwater levels, a lack of particles in the water being transported along the riverbed (known as bed load), and missing floodplains, resulting in poor habitats for fauna and flora. Furthermore, citizens rarely have access to the river, and drinking water supply and agriculture are negatively affected. Destabilisation of river banks can be dangerous for buildings, bridges and flood protection facilities.
Under the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), artificial and heavily modified water bodies are required to achieve good ecological potential. The details of how to achieve this are left up to the stakeholders concerned.
The LIFE CityRiver project will demonstrate a new approach, better serving the different needs of flood protection, flora, fauna and citizens. The starting point is an environmentally friendly solution for stabilising the riverbed, by constructing a so-called breach ramp stretching about 1 km within the river. Combined with bed load management and an open riprap revetment in the downstream river, this will guarantee good passage for fish and provide near-natural river structures, spawning areas and valuable key habitats, meaning the project will also contribute to the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). LIFE CityRiver aims to have strong involvement of citizens and regional stakeholders, fostering a growing relationship with their river and increasing environmental awareness. The projects solution will be cost-efficient and transferable to rivers all over Europe.