On the 20th of September, the kick-off ceremony for the revitalization measures at Schwechat and Fischa took place within the framework of the transnational INTERREG project Alpine-Carpathian-River-Corridor. Managed by the Donau-Auen National Park, the estuary of the Fischa will be renatured by viadonau. A key partner, who also financially supports the EU-funded project, is the Federal Government of Lower Austria.
The Alpine Carpathian Corridor is a strip of land situated between the eastern foothills of the Alps in Lower Austria and the western part of the Carpathians in neighboring Slovakia. It represents an important connection and migration route for many species. However, agricultural, residential and commercial areas as well as transportation infrastructure amidst the conurbations Vienna and Bratislava restrict the migration and propagation possibilities of animal and plant species. In addition to the ecological hiking and connection routes on land, also rivers are essential for the migration of various species.
Section chief Prof. Gerhard Gürtlich (BMVIT), district commissioner Peter Suchanek (Bruck an der Leitha) and Thomas Ram, mayor of Fischamend, were celebrating the start of the implementation measures at Schwechat and Fischa, as a strong sign to permanently give the rivers and their nature their space back as part of a holistic and transnational development.
Deputy governor of Lower Austria, Stephan Pernkopf, emphasized how important it is to preserve and improve the “Green Ring” around Vienna. A total of 2 million euros will be invested in the Alpine Carpathian River Corridor, with the restoration measures at Fischa and Schwechat serving as exemplary projects.
Director of the Donau-Auen National Park Edith Klauser explained that the rivers and floodplains of the Alpine Carpathian Corridor are often the only connecting elements between existing protected areas. Therefore, the goal of the “Alpine Carpathian River Corridor Project” led by the National Park is to ecologically strengthen the rivers as migration corridor, which also play a major role for biodiversity in the National Park area. Fish like the Common Nase, as a typical Danube fish in the national park section, will particularly benefit from the revitalization of the Fischa.
The renaturation of the estuary of the Fischa into the Danube is implemented by the project partner viadonau. The ecological transformation of the estuary is also an important step for the waterway operator to strengthen the habitat network of the tributary river and the Danube. Managing Director of viadonau, Hans-Peter Hasenbichler, highlighted the project as an important part of the viadonau “Catalog of Measures” for improving the ecological conditions of the entire Danube section east of Vienna. With a fish ladder in the "Little Floodplain" (Kleine Au) near the city of Fischamend, the municipality of Fischamend is also implementing a revitalization project as a project partner.
In total, the project will include 13 pilot measures on five rivers in Slovakia and Austria for renaturation, as well as local habitat-shaping interventions for species such as Kingfisher or Dice Snake.