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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Middle Elbe River (Mittlere Elbe)

Areas and habitats
Waters and floodplains
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Largest interconnected riparian woodland complex in Central Europe
Federal state
Division II 2.4 Water Ecosystems, Hydrologie, Blue Belt
2001 to 2018
Core area 5,828 ha
Saxony-Anhalt, between Dessau and the mouth of the Saale river, Physiographic unit: Elbe-Mulde-Tiefland (Elbe-Mulde lowland)
Grant amount
30.700.000 €

Project description

The area of the 'Mittlere Elbe' encompasses one of the largest contiguous floodplain forest complexes in Central Europe. The expansive floodplain forests consisting of upper riparian woodland provide suitable breeding sites for black storks (Ciconia nigra), habitat for numerous raptor species including the lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina) and the white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). Overall the area is of national and international significance as a site for the numerous bird species which breed, rest or pass through. The relatively high degree of naturalness of the Elbe river and large number of water bodies in the floodplain with low riverine forest communities and species-rich aquatic vegetation result in a denser population of the Elbe beaver (Castor fiber albicus) than anywhere else in its entire range. Due to the mosaic-like combination of different site factors and the great diversity of habitat types, the 'Mittlere Elbe' area is home to numerous other endangered animal and plant species, some even threatened with extinction, including the fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina), the moor frog (Rana arvalis), the water chestnut (Trapa natans), floating fern (Salvinia natans), Siberian iris (Iris sibirica) and the water soldier (Stratiotes aloides).

The project objective is the conservation and restoration of a largely intact, near-natural and forest-rich river floodplain as a habitat for typical floodplain species of flora and fauna. A particular emphasis is placed on safeguarding typical river dynamics, conserving and enlarging flooded areas and preserving one of the largest contiguous floodplain forest complexes in Central Europe. Among the measures planned are the reactivation of flood relief channels, clearance of non-native tree growth, enlargement of the floodplain forest and the repositioning of a dike in the Lödderitz forest area. This measure will provide an additional flood plain of 600 ha.

Project executing agencies

WWF Deutschland
Reinhardtstr. 18, 10117 Berlin

Project funding agencies

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Land (state) of Saxony-Anhalt, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Germany
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