ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

Habitat patch connectivity

Biotopes along the Rhine – that is the habitats for the species community of plants and animals are again to be interconnected in order to maintain ecological continuity. This reestablishment of the habitat patch connectivity along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the North Sea is one of the targets set by “Rhine 2020“, the ICPR programme for sustainable development and is to be implemented with the help of the following actions:

  • preserve freely flowing river sections
  • restore river dynamics
  • (permit) a more varied design of the structure of river banks and bottom
  • open old alluvial areas to the river
  • change to more extensive agriculture in the floodplain
  • remove obstacles to the migration of the river fauna
  • reconnect old river branches and torrents

The concept for maintaining, upgrading and linking the valuable habitat types along the Rhine from Lake Constance to the sea is part of the report and the atlas of the ICPR for achieving a habitat patch connectivity along the Rhine. It defines precise development targets for the different Rhine sections as well as spatial focal points, gives instructions for action in order to reconnect the eight different kinds of habitats and indicates need for action for the entire Rhine in order to restore an extensive habitat patch connectivity. The concept simultaneously serves water protection, nature protection as well as flood protection.

The relevant areas are represented on more than 40 individual charts in the “Atlas” of the “Habitat Patch Connectivity of the Rhine” (ICPR 2006, only available in German, French, Dutch). The atlas on CD-Rom may be ordered free of charge using our contact form.

In preparation of the planned success control, the state of projects and measures implemented or planned within the "Habitat Patch Connectivity along the Rhine" was retrieved in the different countries and compiled in a table. The Survey Report on the Development of the "Habitat Patch Connectivity along the Rhine" 2005-2013 (Only available in German, French, Dutch) presents 1 or 2 positive project examples and describes how these projects contribute to implementing the "Habitat Patch Connectivity".

Ecological system

Renaturing or restablishing running water bodies means to restore the ecological system consisting of source-brook-river-riverbed-floodplain-groundwater and to remove transverse and longitudinal structures.

At the same time, water retention is improved which also serves the targets of flood prevention.


This brochure of the Atlas 2006 is only available in