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 9,016 water reserves. They must be protected against diffuse substance inputs of agricultural and urban origin.
- about 386 bird protection areas and about 1,335 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 35,438 km² corresponding to about 18.5 per cent of the watershed.
Apart from the Wadden Sea, the waters of the Programme „Rhine & Salmon 2020” are of supra-regional importance.