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Bundesamt für Naturschutz

Obere Ahr-Hocheifel

Areas and habitats
Waters and floodplains
Large-Scale Conservation Projects
Near-natural river system and adjacent river valley land, in many cases with extensive grazing
Federal state
Division II 2.4 Water Ecosystems, Hydrologie, Blue Belt
Project I: 2007 - 2011 (management and development planning), Project II: 2012 bis 2023 (implementation)
core area: 3,287 ha
Rhineland-Palatinate, Landkreis Ahrweiler on the border to North Rhine-Westphalia, Physiographic region: Ahrtal, Ahreifel, Hocheifel
Grant amount
Project I: 800.000 €, Project II: 11.300.00 €

Project description

The project area is part of a central upland region with sparse population and a large amount of forest coverage. One particular characteristic of the open meadow valleys in the area is their isolation: They stretch for many kilometres and are nowadays something of a rarity. The meadows, free from fertiliser inputs, produce both western and spotted marsh orchids. The banks of the river Ahr form a long gallery of black alder, various willow species and ash. The meandering valley above the village of Schuld boasts rockfaces with populations of the highly threatened common wall lizard and unusual warmth-loving vegetation. The Ahr and the lower reaches of major tributory streams host the greatest diversity of fish fauna, including the critically endangered salmon, the endangered grayling and the spirlin. In the core area, other species characteristic of near-natural waters and river floodplains include the kingfisher, white-throated dipper and black stork. Also worthy of note is the occurrence of owls, which are at risk throughout the country, and of the endangered European wildcat.

The aim of the project is to protect and foster near-natural, dynamic development of the river system in the upper Ahr region of Rhineland-Palatinate. This includes the watercourses themselves and the surrounding lowlands which in many cases are subject to extensive grazing. This richly structured ecological complex will be preserved as a habitat for the animal and plant species typically found in such areas. Alongside land purchases, this includes further action such as removing bank and bed reinforcements, removing migration barriers, reactivating oxbows and floodplain waterbodies, promoting the lateral development of watercourses with the aid of flow-control elements and gravel tipping, conserving riparian zones, rewatering floodplains, and grassland extensification.

Entity responsible for the project

Kreisverwaltung Ahrweiler
Wilhelmstraße 24-30, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler

Project funding agencies

Federal Environment Ministry (BMU)/Federal Nature Conservation Agency (BfN), Rhineland-Palatinate state and Ahrweiler administrative district
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