LIFE Project Cover Photo

CityRiver reconnecting town and river

Reference: LIFE18 ENV/DE/000332 | Acronym: LIFE CityRiver



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.


Expected results:

  • definition of good ecological potential for this heavily modified section of the river;
  • halt to deepening of the riverbed, and conservation of existing infrastructure on the river banks (buildings, bridges, flood protection facilities, etc.);
  • 1 km pilot section of breach ramp to protect about 60 000 m2 of riverbed, passable by fish and boats;
  • gravel habitats for spawning on a length of about 800 m;
  • widening of the riverbed at two locations (length of 400 m, area of 5 000 m2) where near-natural alluvial plain habitats can develop and improve the ecological functions;
  • active bed load management using 10 000 m3 of gravel in the first year (decreasing volumes in the following years);
  • development of a near-natural river shore (150 m in length) before the confluence of the river Wrnitz and a more leisure-oriented area further downstream;
  • improved quality of landscapes, habitats and biodiversity in and around the river;
  • development of self-sustaining populations of many endangered species (e.g. Hucho hucho, Cottus gobio, Triturus cristatus);
  • improved climate change resilience and recreation value in the city centre; and
  • simplified approval procedures for LIFE CityRiver solutions.

    Reference: LIFE18 ENV/DE/000332
    Acronym: LIFE CityRiver
    Start Date: 01/09/2019
    End Date: 31/08/2025
    Total Budget: 3,764,944 €
    EU Contribution: 1,441,551 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: LEW Wasserkraft GmbH
    Legal Status: PCO
    Address: Schzlersstrae 3, 86150, Augsburg, Deutschland
    Contact Person: Ralf Klocke
    Tel: 498213284031

    LIFE Project Map



    • River basin management
    • Fish
    • Freshwater
    • Urban biodiversity


    • freshwater ecosystem
    • biodiversity
    • water quality improvement
    • restoration measure
    • river management


    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)