VERBUND, Austria's leading electricity company with focus on electricity from hydropower, submitted the environmental impact assessment for the redevelopment of the Traisen estuary.
To the tune of some 13 million euros, a lively 12.5 km stretch of river meadows is to be reestablished in the lower reaches of the river between Traismauer and Zwentendorf. Supported by the European Union, the Land of Lower Austria and further partners, this makes the renaturation project the largest in Austria at the present time.
"VERBUND is highlighting its responsible role for Austria’s bodies of water by means of this investment, which is not giving us any kilowatt hours of additional production," says Ulrike Baumgartner-Gabitzer, the VERBUND board member in charge of hydropower.
The Traisen currently flows in a regulated bed that provides the river with no opportunity for expansion. The adjoining Natura2000 area is under the threat of drying out on account of river erosion. The biodiversity is hindered due to the missing dynamics of the river meadows. Collaborating closely with the University for Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, VERBUND is now presenting a comprehensive concept for the sustained improvement of the habitat of the Traisen.
The first step in an approval process
Submission of the environmental impact assessment is the first step in the approval process, which is due to be concluded in 2011. In its implementation, the EIA process guarantees broad consideration for both man and the environment.
"We have prepared the project by means of intense discussions with land owners, authorities and citizens," explains Karl Heinz Gruber, the board member of VERBUND Hydro Power AG in charge of technology.
Cost distribution among the project partners
“Half of the costs are being borne by VERBUND, whereby it is intended that part of this should be generated through the gravel resulting from the construction,” says Michael Amerer, the board member of VERBUND Hydro Power AG responsible for the commercial sector. 41% is being generated from European Union funding, namely from the LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Fund. The remaining amount is being contributed by the Lower Austrian Fisheries Association, the Lower Austrian Landscape Funds, VIA Donau as well as the Federal Water Engineering Administration.
Further information concerning the project can be found on the Internet at: http://www.life-traisen.at/