Case study: Dike relocation, Rhine river basin

Description of the application

Within the INTERREG programme, between 2003 and 2008 flood alleviation measures were planned and implemented along the Rhine in Germany and the Netherlands. Dutch and German partners restored former and existing floodplains in twelve pilot projects. The close cooperation has created a know-how platform for sustainable flood prevention in Europe. One example of the partnership is the dyke relocation at Kirschgartshausen, upstream of the German cities of Ludwigshafen and Mannheim. The effects of the dyke relocation are that the flood area in this part of the river is widened and the floodplain is naturally flooded again. The measure leads to more hydro-morphological dynamics in the reconnected floodplain area and will improve the quality of the riverine nature in the mid- and long- term and improve the ecological networks along the river. Furthermore, an old channel will be reconnected to the Rhine, which will improve water quality through the restored water exchange. The channel faced a big problem of eutrophication in the last decade. Parts of the floodplain in the summer polder will still be used for agriculture. Nature will benefit from the development of natural floodplain vegetation including hardwood forests, and diverse species of fish and amphibians which depend on water and/or wetlands.

Lessons learned

The upper Rhine area in Germany is quite densely populated and the combination of different land use interests with nature conservation or rehabilitation interests demands a clear land use strategy and/or landscape planning. A good instrument to reconcile the interests and possible conflicts over land claims is the principle of eco-accounting aimed to simplify and optimize the planning and realization of ecological compensation measures within legal procedures. Out of a landscape plan, the potentials of areas within a region are evaluated forecological improvement measures. Areas which are appropriate and available for ecological restoration measures are transferred to a pool. As soon as an ecological restoration measure on one of these lots is realized, it can be transferred to the eco-account in form of eco-points. The sponsor of the measure or the municipality can then use these eco-points at a later date to construct environmentally unfavourable projects in another area. By offsetting in this way, the sponsor of a measure to upgrade a floodplain creates a credit for other building projects.

Implementation cost

Estimated financial cost for the implementation of the measures, given as a cost range.

Flood management measure

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Projects from which information has been harvested. Multiple projects may be specified.


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Responsible authority level

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Last modified: Sept. 13, 2016, 4:19 a.m.