ICPR – International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine

Measures aimed at improving the Rhine ecosystem

With a view to improving the Rhine ecosystem, the ICPR programme "Rhine 2040” demands to restore the former network of habitats typical for the Rhine (habitat patch connectivity) as well as ecological river patency of the Rhine from Lake Constance to the North Sea and the patency of Rhine tributaries included in the programme on migratory fish: The following goals are listed in the Rhine 2040-programme:

  • restore ecological river continuity
  • restore the network of biotopes along the Rhine
  • improve sediment balance
  • stabilise temperature and oxygen conditions

More concretely, 200 km² of floodplain along the Rhine and in the Rhine lowlands are to be reactivated by 2040, 100 oxbow lakes and tributaries are to be reconnected to the Rhine and the structural diversity of 400 km of banks is to be increased.

In the past, the many river training measures in favour of navigation, generation of hydropower and flood protection have basically modified the hydrological and morphological conditions along both the Rhine itself and almost all tributaries. Cutting off more than 85 per cent of the alluvial areas along the Upper and Lower Rhine has led to great losses of habitats and of animal and plant species typical of the Rhine.