Case study:Austria River Mur - Strategic river management for considerations in the power and water management sector in Styria/Austria

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Location: 47° 23' 45", 15° 16' 11"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Economic aspects, Environmental flows and water resources, Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydropower, Hydromorphology, Land use management - agriculture, Land use management - forestry, Monitoring, Social benefits, Spatial planning, Water quality
Country Austria
Main contact forename Jörg
Main contact surname Raderbauer
Main contact user ID User:9984
Contact organisation freiland Environmental Consulting Civil Engineers Ltd.
Contact organisation web site http://www.freiland.at
Partner organisations Office of the Styrian Government - Department 14 Watermanagement, resources and sustainability
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
projects
No
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Project summary

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The objectives of the previously mentioned projects at the Mur is the recovery of natural rich structured river habitats , the reconnection of cutoff meander, the restoration of the river continuum, the protection of existing and the development of new alluvial forests by connecting existing stocks to the fluvial dynamics and the population’s awareness raising for the river habitat. The restoration, improvement and long-term protection of natural wetlands and rivers, is a prerequisite for establishing rare and endangered water dependent animal and plant species. In addition, these measures serve the requirements of the water protection management to increase the retention capacity at flood discharges. To reinforce the already implemented stepping stones and their effects from the previous projects and for the creation of a continuous restructured section, the new LIFE+ areas of follow-up projects were deliberately selected in the vicinity of previous projects. For the purpose of documenting and ensuring the success of the projects, the measures and their synergy effects are scientifically studied in monitoring programs, which will continue until 2015. Up to now major success could be achieved by the measures implemented for improving the structural diversity of the Mur and the Enns. Acquisition and reactivation of flooded areas contributed to the passive flood protection, this has been proven already at the flood event in June 2013 - in spite of higher water flows than in 2002, reduced flooding and less damage were reported in 2013. Due to intense public relations the population deeply appreciated the projects and the habitats.

Through spatial integration of the measures, the cumulative effect for the river habitat goes far beyond its sum of the individual measures. The projects are an important step onto a nature-oriented liveable future on the Upper Mur and the Mur, and many more should follow.

To overcome the conflict between hydropower expansion and nature protection or recreation/tourism, management plans have been established for the rivers Enns, Mur and Mürz. These plans have been aligned between energy providers and river experts. The core objective of these plans is to balance the interests of the energy sector and those of river protection and restoration, focussing on river-ecological aspects.

When setting up these plans, hydropower potentials have been juxtaposed with ecological goals that considered potentially affected protected species and areas, their ecological state as well as water management aspects. Where ecological measures for conservation and/or improvement of river-bound habitats have already been implemented, river stretches are excluded from any future hydropower use. Hence, already restored areas along the rivers Enns and Mur that have been supported via EU-programs are disclosed as ecological priority zones. Apart from the aforementioned designations, measures for poor ecological stretches have been defined. Special focus is given to the concept of “stepping stones” with its up- and downstream effects. Stepping stones bridge hardly restorable stretches and therewith provide an efficient and cost-saving concept for mitigation measures. The measures focus mainly on biological qualities, the primary criteria of the ecological status assessment.

The management plans provide a binding planning framework until 2022 and a regulation framework for hydropower projects at the mentioned rivers. Likewise, ecological interests are safeguarded for the long-term. Precious and pristine stretches of rivers are protected from encroachments and the perspective of further river restorations is enabled. The management plan for the river Mur is the basis for the enactment of a so called “regional program” of the Austrian Water Management Authority.

Water management plans (German: Gewässerbewirtschaftungspläne, BWP) represent the first planning instrument of this kind at province level in Austria and demonstrate that the involvement of the key stakeholders in the planning process succeeds in a mutually acceptable result, which enables to match the requirements of different policies and different interests.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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Strategic river management for considerations in the power and water management sector in Styria/Austria - Overview Strategic river management in Styria/Austria ©freiland
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Catchment and subcatchment



Site

Name
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present
Invasive species present
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)


Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 1995/01/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2015/01/01
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance
Monitoring



Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Hydropower, Flood risk management
Hydromorphology Continuity for organisms, Continuity of sediment transport, Quantity & dynamics of flow
Biology
Physico-chemical
Other reasons for the project


Measures

Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Providing of continuity
Floodplain / River corridor Protection of alluvial forests by connecting existing stocks to the fluvial dynamics
Planform / Channel pattern Reconnection of cutoff meander
Other
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement) Population’s awareness raising for the river habitat.
Other


Monitoring

Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative


Monitoring documents



Additional documents and videos


Additional links and references

Link Description

Supplementary Information

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