The morphological destruction and subsequent restoration programmes of large rivers in Europe
Bloesch, Jürg; Sieber, Ulrich
This paper presents a synopsis of the rivers Rhine and Danube in Europe, connected by the Rhine-Main-Danube waterway. Their morphological destruction and subsequent ecological impacts are documented, and the ongoing and future restoration programmes are discussed. While the River Rhine has improved significantly in water quality and still is channelized to a large extent (despite considerable restoration), the River Danube features more near natural stretches and flood plains while still being largely polluted in the middle and lower parts. In both catchments, the goals of research/management are unlimited fish migration (e.g., salmon in the Rhine, and sturgeon in the Danube), some gravel and sediment transport, the conservation/restoration of flood plains as hot spots of biodiversity and flood retention areas, and the sustainable development of the river basin. While the River Rhine authorities (including five countries) are advanced in the political process of river basin management, the River Danube authorities (including 16 countries) still must find a harmonized cooperation.