Project content

Downstream of Melk the side arm system Schallemmersdorf/Grimsing with a total length of 4km was created as well as a side arm at Schönbühel with a length of 1.5km. Upstream of Dürnstein the biotope Frauengärten was established. These backwaters are now connected year-round to the main river and provide important and wave protected habitats for the fish species of the Danube. The shallow gravel banks, where water has a high velocity, serve many fish species as spawning areas; the bays with a more steady flow are primarily used by juvenile fish. The deep areas and potholes of the river are important wintering areas. With that, every stage in the lifetime of fish is taken into account.

Also other groups of animals profit from these measures. Carvity nesters like the kingfisher populate the eroded vertical river banks along the backwaters and the shallow gravel banks are used as nesting areas by gravel-breeders like the sandpiper or the little ringed plover. For amphibians special water bodies were built, serving as spawning grounds.

Because of this sustainable contribution to the quality of habitats and the high conservation status of the flora and fauna in the project area, the initiative was awarded Best LIFE Nature Project 2015 by the European Commission.

Project partners

Under the lead of the Department of Hydraulic Engineering of Lower Austria extensive measures were realised in the course of the LIFE+ project Mostviertel-Wachau along the Danube and the rivers Ybbs and Pielach. viadonau, as an associated project partner on behalf of the bmvit, was responsible for the implementation of the above described measures along the Danube. The municipality Amstetten and the Stadtwerke Amstetten carried out all measures along the Ybbs. Another associated project partner was the Association Lanius.

The project was co-financed by the Lower Austrian Provincial Fishery Association, the Lower Austrian Landschaftsfonds and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management (BMLFUW).

Basic information

Project duration: 01.01.2009 - 30.06.2014

Total costs (measures at Danube, Ybbs and Pielach): EUR 8.831 million

Project website:

The project made a substantial contribution to the implementation of measure
17. Execute restoration measures implementing the EU Water Framework Directive of the Action Programme for the Danube 2022.