The Morava is the largest left-side tributary of the Upper Danube in Central Europe and Austria’s only near-natural lowland river with Pannonian character.
Frequent flooding is essential for the floodplain’s grassland and forests. Due to regulation and intensification measures in the last century the river is now classified only with a moderate status (according to the EC Water Framework Directive) and habitats for endangered species of fauna and flora are limited. Within the EC-supported Life+ project “Restoration of the Lower Morava Floodplains,” ambitious restoration measures will be implemented between 2011 and 2019.
The aim of the project is to extensively restore near-natural river dynamics in the Lower Morava floodplains, as well as to foster land-use practices, which preserve biodiversity and specifically preserve endangered species and types of habitats. Detailed objectives The most important objectives are the dynamization, the reestablishment of the characteristic island landscape, and the improvement of the connectivity between river floodplains in the confluence area of the Morava floodplains. Therefore artificially cut-off river branches are reconnected, riprap and traverse barriers will be removed.
In the floodplain area, the objectives focus on the extensification of land use by converting cropland into grassland in the open landscape surrounding the river restoration measures. The cultivation of reliquary floodplain water bodies will be optimized in terms of conservation needs. Furthermore, there will be measures to improve the conservation status of the floodplain forest by controlling the introduction and dispersal of invasive alien species like Maple Ash (Acer negundo).
Implementation of innovative grassland management by reintroducing grazers (e.g. Konik horses) in the WWF floodplain reserve near Marchegg. Identification of a framework for sustainable, cross-border fisheries management at the Morava. Furthermore, specific measures for the preservation of the character and highly endangered habitats and species (e.g. Storks, Kites, Eagles, and Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) will be implemented. Improvement and stabilization of the population of the European weather loach (Misgurnus fossilis), a characteristic species of lowland rivers, by offspring. Around 70% of the total project budget is spent on specific conservation measures and basic assessment and analysis, around 15% on purchase of land and compensation payments, and further 15% on project management.
Project Duration: 11/10/2011 – 31/10/2019
Project Budget: 3 491 774 EUR
Lead Partner: via donau – Österreichische Wasserstraßen-Gesellschaft mbH