ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

Nature protection

Numerous areas of protection in the Rhine watershed depending on water and further protection measures contribute to preserve the performance of the ecological balance of the Rhine system and, where necessary, to restore it.

In the Rhine watershed there are

  • approximately 14,780 water reserves. They must be protected against diffuse substance inputs of agricultural and urban origin.
  • about 360 bird protection areas and about 3,250 Habitats directive areas. As part of the system of habitat patches and “Natura 2000” conservation areas they are designed to preserve habitats and species depending on water, e.g. significant fish habitats and important bird hatching, resting and wintering areas. In the Rhine watershed, the total surface of Natura-2000-areas depending on water amounts to 35,385 km² corresponding to about 18.8 per cent of the watershed.

Apart from the Wadden Sea, waters with good spawning and juvenile habitats for migratory fish (programme waters of the Master Plan Migratory Fish) are of supra-regional importance.