Germany: Straubing-Vilshofen

Germany's last free-flowing section dammed (and damned)?

The last free-flowing section of the Danube in Germany is to be regulated. Current plans to do this through damming would have disastrous consequences for the living river.

The first regional planning for this section of the river began in the early 1990s. It was stopped due to strong public opposition because the project only considered engineering works. A series of public consultation meetings were held, and it was requested that other project alternatives be investigated.

Because of strong opposition to regulation of this section for navigation, many studies have been performed. The latest study co-funded by the EU will take place over the next three years. Therefore, works are not expected to start before 2012.

Four design alternatives have been considered. Alternatives include hydraulic measures, such as river regulation, dredging, weirs, and dams. Only one alternative would allow for reasonable mitigation and compensation that considers ecological assessments.

It is expected that river works for improving navigation, especially ensuring greater depth, will have serious impacts on habitats, fauna, and flood control. Alternatives that include dams could totally destroy the alluvial forest and river and floodplain dynamics.

 / ©: Dieter Scherf
The last free-flowing section of the Danube in Germany is planned to be regulated
© Dieter Scherf

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