German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)


Restoration of the National Flooding regime in the Danube floodplain between Neuburg and Ingolstadt

Funding priority:

Safeguarding biotopes: Conserving, restoring and interconnecting valuable habitats


Neuburg an der Donau, Neuburg-Schrobenhausen administrative district, Bavaria


06/2009 – 12/2011 (Main project)

07/2009 – 06/2014 (Accompanying research)

Brief description:

Watercourse straightening and the building of locks and dams mean that river floodplains are no longer subject to natural flooding regimes. This places characteristic floodplain species and habitats along many rivers under ongoing threat and causes problems with flood control. On the Danube between Neuburg and Ingolstadt, embankments and a barrage often deprive the surrounding land from flooding for years on end, and even out the characteristic floodplain fluctuations in water table. The State of Bavaria and Arbeitsgemeinschaft Auenrenaturierung – a specially commissioned working group on floodplain renaturalisation – have planned and to an extent already implemented a project with the aim of partly reversing this trend by deliberate flooding. The project creates more retention space for flood water while preserving the surviving rich floodplain flora and fauna from further loss. This provides the point of departure for the testing and development project funded by BfN to try out model ways of restoring the area as closely as possible to the natural flooding regime. A notable requirement for this is that water must not remain in the project area for an unnaturally long period after flooding, but should return to the river when water levels recede as in a natural floodplain regime. As this is not possible above the barrage, a channel will be dug connecting the floodplain to the Danube downstream of it at Ingolstadt.

Accompanying research on vegetation, fauna and hydrology will assess whether the floodplain develops as desired. The engineering methods, quantitative flow regime and ecological impacts will be studied with a view to improving the construction works and making recommendations for similar situations elsewhere, including other large rivers in Germany, some of which serve as national waterways. The impact of flooding on the suitability of the alluvial woodland for forestry purposes will also be assessed.

The area covered by the testing and development project south of the Danube contains roughly 900 ha of alluvial forest. It is the location of two Natura 2000 sites nominated under the Habitats Directive and one SPA under the Birds Directive. There are ten Habitats Directive habitat types, including riparian mixed forest, natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition vegetation, alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior, and semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies on calcareous substrates. The numerous Habitats Directive species include European beaver, European tree frog, Desmoulin’s whorl snail, stag beetle, hermit beetle, and bulbous white-faced darter dragonfly.

Entity responsible for the project:

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Auenrenaturierung
(Landkreis Neuburg-Schrobenhausen und Stadt Ingolstadt)
(Main project)
Platz der Deutschen Einheit 1
86633 Neuburg an der Donau, Germany

Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (in Kooperation mit dem Aueninstitut Neuburg, der FH Weihenstephan, der FH Osnabrück und der TU München) (Accompanying research)
Ostenstrasse 26
85072 Eichstätt, Germany

Liaison at BfN:

Eckhard Peters FG II 3.2

Project funding agencies:

BfN, State of Bavaria, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Auenrenaturierung

Grant amount:

€ 2,087,000

Further information:

Last Change: 19/02/2014