It is hard to believe that just a few years ago a dreary gravel area was the best indication of where the new Traisen would run. The construction measures were enormous, but passed off without a hitch in the wetland area and without major disruption to the local residents. An enormous 3.2 million cubic metres were moved during the construction work. Of these, 1.4 million cubic meters of gravel were removed to create space for the new riverbed. 1.6 million cubic metres of material were relocated and used for the new wetland areas.
The excavators have disappeared, but have been replaced by dragonflies, fish and rare birds in the 160-hectare project area of the new Traisen. “Everything we set ourselves as a goal ten years ago has been achieved,” says the delighted project leader Roland Schmalfuß. Of 50 species of Danube fish, 32 species have already been spotted. The Traisen has improved from “unsatisfactory” (4) to “good” (2) following the stringent assessment of the ecologists on the subject of “Fish ecological condition”.
In particular, the mouth of the Traisen has developed into a popular local recreation area in recent summers. The Danube cycle path passes this area over its own bridge, giving the travellers a view of the young wetland landscape with its deliberately felled trees, steep banks and shallow water zones.
Next project: Altenwörth fish bypass
The next ecological upgrade in Altenwörthis imminent. Project leader Hannes Einfalt is already in the starting blocks for Lower Austria’s longest fish bypass, which will not only create continuity of flow at the power plant. “Our package of measures will extend to Stockerau. The natural bypass stream on the left bank of the Danube will be more than 12 kilometres in length. The bank in the old arm will be made more fish-friendly with gravel fills. At the same time, low-lying areas allow bathing guests more convenient access to the water and improve the bathing quality,” says Hannes Einfalt. The final permissions required for implementing the project are expected in the coming weeks.
LIFE+ Traisen partners for Austria’s biggest waterbody revitalisation project
VERBUND took on the project management and the majority of the costs. The EU is funding large parts of the project with means from the LIFE+ grant. The project was financially supported by the Federal Office of Hydraulic Engineering (Lower Austria), via donau, the Provincial Fishery Association (Lower Austria), the Lower Austrian Landscape Fund and the Ministry for Sustainability and Tourism. Also involved were the companies entitled to purchase electricity at the Altenwörth power plant: Energie AG, KELAG and VKW.
LIFE+ is a funding programme of the EU for supporting conservation projects in Natura 2000 areas. The Natura 2000 network of protected areas is intended to help preserve the diversity of wild flora and fauna as well as habitats throughout Europe. The LIFE+ project Traisen makes an important contribution to the conservation goals of the European conservation areas at "Tullnerfelder Donau-Auen".