Restoring the Lower Danube

Geographical location:

Europe/Middle-East > -Regions- > Danube-Carpathian

Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Bulgaria
Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Moldova
Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Romania
Europe/Middle-East > Eastern Europe > Ukraine

Wood transport on the Danube channel, near Ermakow Island. Lower Danube river basin, Ukraine.
© WWF-Canon / Anton VORAUER


The Lower Danube, flowing more than 1,000 km through Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine, is one of the last free flowing stretches of river in Europe, including islands with remnants of floodplain forests and many well-preserved wetlands. Today, a majority of the original floodplains – an important habitat for plants and animals – have been destroyed by development and intensive agriculture.

To restore this important ecosystem, WWF supports an integrated network of healthy of protected wetlands covering 900,000 hectares along the Lower Danube, and to promote sustainable socio-economic development in the area.


The Lower Danube is one of the last free flowing stretches of river in Europe, including islands with remnants of floodplain forests and many well-preserved wetlands, not to mention the spectacular and globally important Danube Delta.

From the original large floodplain area of the Lower Danube, around 72% has been cut off from the river and transformed into fish ponds or drained for agricultural use.

The Lower Danube Green Corridor (LDGC) agreement, signed by the Bulgarian, Romanian, Moldavian and Ukranian governments, recognizes the need and responsibility to protect and manage the region in a sustainable way.

This project aims to make a significant contribute to the implementation of the Lower Danube Green Corridor (LDGC), by:
- Implementing a set of carefully-targeted field projects in the Lower Danube.
- Working closely with the Lower Danube governments and with international organisations (in particular the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River and the EU) to elaborate progressive policies for integrated river basin management (IRBM).
- Working to redirect environmentally-damaging policies and programmes, particularly those relating to agriculture, forestry and navigation.
- Building the capacities of key national authorities and selected other partners in the Lower Danube so that they have the awareness and skills to fully realise the aims of the Lower Danube Green Corridor.


1. Increase capacity for long-term sustainable management by improving international cooperation for the restoration, protection and sustainable management of the Lower Danube.

2. Reduce threats to freshwater ecosystems by mitigating against and/or eliminating key threats from unsustainable agriculture, forestry and navigation.

3. Deliver successful field projects and communicate results from targeted field projects that highlight the socio-economic and ecological benefits of natural or semi-natural freshwater ecosystems and that demonstrate practical approaches to their protection, restoration and sustainable use.

4. Make policy more sustainable by ensuring that national policies for water management integrate experience from the field projects, encourage good practice in freshwater ecosystem management and integrate the LDGC into major international processes (EU Water Framework Directive, Natura 2000).


The project is intended to generate the necessary political commitment for wetland conservation to allow for additional funding and support for wetland conservation and restoration initiatives along the Lower Danube.

The funds required for generating the necessary political commitments are limited and will be rewarded because investments now will attract additional supporters and activities which will achieve the overall goals of wetland conservation and restoration in the Danube.

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