How is the Rhine today? The general public is provided with appropriate information in the new ICPR brochure “Rhine for Everyone”. The ICPR aims at sensitising citizens in the entire international catchment for the Rhine as an important lifeline for man and nature The objective is to attract attention to the protection of waters and resources, the required ecological network for migratory fish, intact migration routes between the Rhine and the North Sea/Atlantic necessary for their life cycle as well as the importance of alluvial areas for floods and low waters. The ICPR equally provides information material for visitors’ centres at fish passages or in nature protection areas and offers to support their networking.
Karlsruhe, 21 and 22 June 2017
In this year’s Plenary Assembly staged in Karlsruhe/Germany the ICPR among others discussed the further improvement of the continuity of the Rhine and its tributaries for fish, the networking of visitors’ centres in the Rhine catchment, the biological monitoring programme Rhine 2018, the list of Rhine substances 2017 and the issue of low water.
The improvement of river continuity in particular at the barrages on the Upper Rhine - Rhinau, Marckolsheim and Vogelgrün - remains an important issue for the ICPR. A feasibility study is at present looking into two possible solutions for Vogelgrün: one solution already defined as feasible is to conduct the fish above the entire installation, the second solution, the feasibility of which remains to be analysed, is to build a tunnel under the entire sluice area. Furthermore, the bodies within the ICPR are discussing required improvements of fish protection at hydro power stations during downstream fish migration. In this connection the ICPR and further partners staged an international workshop in Roermond (NL) on 6 and 7 October 2016 with more than 170 participants from 20 countries.
This year the ICPR initiated an exchange of visitors’ centres at fish passages or in wetlands or water-related nature protection areas in the Rhine catchment. The target is on the one hand to promote public interest in the issue of migratory fish and measures taken to restore habitats and river continuity. On the other hand such exchanges are also a possibility to present interdependencies in the Rhine catchment with respect to ecological issues, water quality, floods and low water and to strengthen the awareness for water protection and nature protection. The new ICPR brochures which can be downloaded from www.iksr.org are supposed to contribute to this target.
This year’s Plenary Assembly also decided on the next Rhine Monitoring Programme Biology 2018 and the new list of Rhine substances 2017 determining, which substances are relevant for the Rhine and must thus be monitored and assessed within the next Management Plan according to the Water Framework Directive.
A new expert group created last year due to expected effects of climate change is presently collecting knowledge on low water in the Rhine catchment and will - if required - draft proposals for future surveillance, prevention and management activities within the field of low water. Since the ongoing programme “Rhine 2020” ends in 3 years, the ICPR has started work on a future programme “Rhine 2040”.
International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR)
As Rhine bordering countries, Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands as well as Luxemburg and the European Community co-operate within the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) on the basis of a treaty under international law. The President (at the time being Mrs. Martine Rohn-Brossard from Switzerland) and the different ICPR fora are supported by the international staff of the permanent secretariat in Koblenz (Germany). Furthermore, the secretariat gives support to the countries in the Rhine watershed when implementing the European Water Framework Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) and the European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (Directive 2007/60/EC). To this end, cross-border co-operation was extended to Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy and the Belgian region Wallonia. The working languages of the ICPR are German, French and Dutch. For detailed information on the ICPR please browse to the ICPR website: www.iksr.org.