Innovative systems solutions for transdisciplinary and regional ecological flood risk management and natural watercourse development



Wetlands and their diverse ecosystems are dependent on periodic flooding. In reference to watercourses, flood protection measures and environmental protection measures often seem to be in direct opposition to one another. In the joint project In_StröHmunG, a consortium of researchers and water managers is cooperating to find ways of reconciling the objective “safety” with “protection of the environment”. Together, the partners are looking for synergies between the sustainable i.e. environmentally compatible development of watercourses, and flood risk management. The goal of the joint project is to develop instruments with which the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the EU Flood Risk Management Directive (FRMD) can be jointly implemented. In_StröHmunG focuses on measures which are conducive both to flood management and to environmentally compatible watercourse design. But the joint project partners’ approach does not just benefit the environment: Another positive side effect can be an increase in acceptance by the general public when flood management measures are combined with environmental protection goals.


Mortelbach bei Waldheim in Saxony


The joint project’s main goal is to develop tools for the river-basin related sustainable management of watercourses. The focus is on measures which support the implementation of both the WFD and the FRMD. At the same time, the solutions are expected to increase the public’s acceptance of the measures and help achieve the goals of both EU directives on a broad scale.


The joint project will study four model regions with different characteristics:

  • Mortelbach and Eulitzbach (cities of Waldheim and Roßwein, municipality of Kriebstein)
  • Mutzschener Wasser and Launzige (cities of Grimma, Trebsen and Colditz)
  • Zwönitz river near Chemnitz (district of Einsiedel)
  • Aller river near Celle

Key messages

  • Spatial and temporal flow diversity is the key factor with regard to the effectiveness of restoration measures. It is all the more important, the greater the pressures of water pollution and warming are. Natural levees reduce the amount of sediment deposited in the floodplain. They are shaped according to the density of the vegetation, and their ecological value is high. As long as natural levees do not impact flood protection, no measures are necessary.
  • To improve the availability of land in order to successfully implement the development of watercourses in a near-natural state together with flood risk management, an adapted framework is required on all activity levels.
  • Ecological improvement of watercourses and flood protection are to be planned and implemented in an integrated manner. In order to achieve this with sustainable watercourse maintenance, the water management software PROGEMIS® was developed.
  • Surveys show that the local population values near-natural streams and wants watercourses to be more natural.

Further Information