The Dynamic LIFE Lines Danube project aims to maintain and improve the Danube wetlands in eastern Austria and western Slovakia. The focus is on improving the condition of the soft meadows, which develop in the transition areas between river and forest, and their characteristic flora and fauna.
The two essential elements for the achievement of projects' goals are dynamics and lifelines.
Floodplains depend on dynamics - meaning that the flow and currents of the river lead to erosion and sedimentation and that water levels naturally fluctuates. Many endangered plant and animal species are dependent on these changing conditions. Typical trees such as willows and poplars cannot rejuvenate in an already established forest - they need open gravel areas. Such dynamics are not possible in river sectison, influenced by hydro power plants and riverbank-reinforcement.
Side arms and secondary branches are lifelines of riparian forests and wetlands. They supply the alluvial forest with water and help shape the landscape. The Danube once had a widely branched system of side arms and wetlands. In the course of regulation work and the construction of power plants, the secondary arms were separated from the main river and increasingly silted up, so that this type of valuable habitat has largely disappeared today. A project for the renaturation of floodplains therefore has to address these precious lifelines.
Due to the Europe-wide importance of the last riparian forests on the Austrian and Slovak Danube, the EU supports the project within the framework of the LIFE funding program.
The renaturation measures will be implemeted in the following Danube sections:
In Slovakia, measures are also being carried out to improve alluvial forests and restore the original composition of tree species.