Revitalisation of flowing waters

Revitalisation of flowing waters
Flowing water systems form important corridors for the migration and dispersion of flora and fauna. © Olga Meier-Sander/

Involved sectors

Water management, Fishery, Spatial planning, Tourism and leisure, Nature protection

Affected habitats



Flowing water systems, from source to mouth, form linear connecting elements and, together with their associated ecosystems (riparian forests, woodland), form important corridors for the migration and dispersion of flora and fauna. Very often, the space and dynamics left to most of the rivers in the Alpine region are severely limited. At the same time, flowing waters are highly conducive to cross-border cooperation as they generally flow through several countries and often form natural boundaries which may also constitute national borders. To improve flowing water functions, a range of measures can be adopted to return flowing waters to a natural unimpeded state, at least in part, thus enabling them to develop in a near-natural manner (restoration or revitalisation measures). Possible measures range from the introduction of deadwood to comprehensive rehabilitation measures and expansion.


Impact in particular on Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, Fish
Ecological impact  
Other The restoration of the continuity of watercourses is an integral element of the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) and therefore a mandatory task in terms of water resources management. Flood protection.
Time of realisation for measure Years: The scope of impact achieved depends on the type and scope of the measures and the state of the section of the watercourse at the outset.
Impact scope Regional: The flowing waters contained in the catchment area, adjacent biotopes and the entire flood plain must be included.


Implementation period Long term: Dependent on the type and scope of the measures and the state of the section of the watercourse at the outset.
Frequency Non-recurring: Should be accompanied by monitoring of effectiveness.

Economic and legal aspects

Costs Very high (>1 Mio. EUR): The costs depend on the type and scope of the measures to be implemented and range from around €2000 up to > €150,000 per 100 m of watercourse.
Socio-economic impacts Medium: Revitalisation measures, by means of effective flood protection, can have positive economic effects despite the high costs.
Sources of financing Public: local, Public: regional, Public: national, Public: European
Legal situation River restoration and revitalisation measures are part of landscape planning, but can, on a smaller scale, also be carried out by voluntary nature conservation.

Further information

Evaluation Numerous river revitalisation measures have already been carried out successfully, and the importance of intact and natural river systems has been proven by several studies. Near-natural flowing waters are also of relevance to tourism and flood protection and are helping to implement the EU Water Framework Directive.
Information Other: Projects from various initiatives have been implemented: e.g. Wild River Landscape of the Tyrolean Lech, Lifeline Upper Drava, rehabilitation of the lower Salzach, Donau-Auen national park, RECORD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.
Contact Other:,,, ,
Good Practice LIFE Project: Wild River Landscape of the Tyrolean Lech, Austria
Projet LIFE – Paysage de rivière torrentielle du Lech, Tyrol, Autriche
Progetto LIFE Paesaggio torrentizio Tiroler Lech, Austria

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