LIFE+ Traisen: From a straightened riverbed to a new wetlands habitat

Life Traisen - Austria’s largest land restoration project has transformed the lower reaches of the Traisen river near the Danube power plant in Altenwörth into a diverse floodplain landscape. A near-natural river course with a variety of bank areas was created completely from scratch. The ecological success amazes even the experts.

Project history

The Traisen is one of the largest rivers in Lower Austria. During the construction of the Danube power plant of Altenwörth from 1973 to 1976, the length of the Traisen was extended by 7.5 km,  and it now flows downstream of the power plant. The river bed ran a straight, unvarying course through the wetlands area between Traismauer and Zwentendorf.

Summary: A short history of the Traisen

The river section offered little habitat for typical wetland flora and fauna and was not connected to the surrounding countryside and water bodies in the wetlands. Fish accessibility and traversability was obstructed and partially completely prevented by obstacles. Starting in 2005, scientists and technicians studied the idea of creating a new River Traisen. It should be closely linked with the wetlands and offer diverse habitats, as well as restoring fish accessibility in the lower Traisen.

The idea was submitted to the EU Commission, environmental division, for co-funding. During the course of a strict selection procedure involving 270 European environmental projects, the "Traisen project" was approved at the end of 2008 for an EU grant from "LIFE+".

The project is financially supported by the Lower Austrian Federal Water Engineering Administration, via donau, the Lower Austrian Fisheries Association, the Lower Austrian Landscape Fund and the Federal Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. Also involved are the following companies entitled to procuring electricity at the Altenwörth power plant: Energie AG, KELAG and VKW.

LIFE+ is an EU funding programme to support nature conservation projects in Natura 2000 areas. The Natura 2000 network of protected areas is intended as a contribution towards maintaining biodiversity and habitats for wild animal and plant species all across Europe. The LIFE+ Traisen project is a significant improvement of the Natura 2000 area.

Partners in the LIFE+ Traisen project

Logos of the project partners