Hydropower as a solution for ecology and environment: LIFE projects at VERBUND

LIFE+ Traisen, LIFE+ Network Danube, LIFE Network Danube Plus, LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn, LIFE Project Blue Belt Danube Inn: six projects that are taking a coordinated approach to restoring lost habitats. This way, we combine sustainable electricity generation with sustainable biodiversity.

In order for hydropower to become even more sustainable, we are closing the gaps in our power plant chain and reconnecting disparate habitats into one interconnected habitat.

Because the more interconnected a habitat, the more stable the ecosystem. In future, fish and other aquatic life will be able to migrate from the Iron Gate to Bavaria. We are thus returning to the Danube, Inn and other rivers what they deserve and combining sustainable electricity generation with sustainable biodiversity.

Thanks to our projects, it will become possible to reverse the developments of the centuries-old history of human interventions in river courses and recreate lost habitats. In this way, hydropower is becoming part of the solution for ecology and the environment.

Our thanks go to the project partners, above all the EU, which is enabling these projects with means from the LIFE+ fund.

Of the planned investments in land restoration and fish passes of 280 million euros by 2027, we have already spent 150 million euros on the future of hydropower.

The coordinated approach to the projects on the Danube and Inn will ensure maximum impact. This can be measured not in kilowatt hours, but exclusively in ecological improvements.

Our LIFE projects in Austria and Bavaria

Along the Danube and the border section of the Inn, our LIFE projects are removing barriers to fish and creating new habitat for greater biodiversity.


Portrait Florian Seidl Florian Seidl

Spokesperson Region East

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LIFE programme of the EU

L’Instrument Financier pour l’Environnement (or LIFE, for short) is a financial instrument for the funding of environmental measures across the EU and in selected EU candidate, accession and neighbouring countries.

LIFE website of the EU

Book presentation LIFE & the Danube

Together with the completion of construction work on the fish pass at Altenwörth, VERBUND and its project partners present the book "Life & the Danube. Renaturierungsprojekte an der Donau" (Life & the Danube. Land restoration projects on the Danube). Over 240 pages, our authors vividly document the collaboration and contribution we have made, and will continue to make, with our partners – the EU, the federal government, the provinces, as well as the fishing associations and universities.

LIFE project Blue Belt Danube Inn: fish passes and river restoration on the Inn and Danube

The planned LIFE Blue Belt Danube Inn project aims at connecting precious habitats on the Inn and Danube with each other and improving the habitat conditions within the Natura 2000 areas. The measures complement completed and ongoing LIFE projects on the Danube and Inn.

LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn

The LIFE nature project "LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn" serves to achieve important goals of the Fauna Flora Habitat (FFH) and Bird Protection Directive within the scope of the European Natura 2000 network.

The LIFE Network Danube Plus project

The project LIFE Network Danube Plus connects the habitats between the VERBUND Danube power plants at Altenwörth and Greifenstein. Together with our partners, we have made the Danube fish-friendly and barrier-free. 
Lower Austria's longest fish bypass was also created in Altenwörth. In Greifenstein, fish-friendly measures in the "Gießgang" have reconnected the Schmida and Göllersbach rivers to the Danube again without barriers.

LIFE+ Network Danube: Ecological show of strength for generations

3 fish passes, 4 locations, 5 measures: between 2016 and 2020, project manager VERBUND worked with partners to implement extensive improvements to waterbodies and species diversity on the Danube in Austria.


VERBUND is investing €2.6m in the LIFE WILDisland project. The LIFE WILDisland project brings together 15 partners from 8 countries with the aim of restoring and maintaining a total of 34 islands along the Danube from Germany to Romania. The project envisages the restoration of islands in hydropower plants, the optimisation of the Grey Infrastructure (shipping), sediment management, measures for recreating softwood riparian forests as well as a Danube-wide sensitisation and protection campaign for the Danube Wild Island Habitat Corridor.

LIFE+ Traisen

Between 2009 and 2019, the LIFE+ Traisen project gave rise to a 10 km-long river landscape with a mosaic of existing and new habitats. The entire estuary area into the Danube has been newly created. Many endangered kinds of flora and fauna have found a new home here. The dynamic floodplain landscape covering 60 hectares will develop naturally over a distance of 10 kilometres.

LIFE interconnection Danube – Ybbs

The estuary delta of the Ybbs river where it meets the Danube was redesigned between 2004 and 2009. The Danube power plant Melk was given a new fish pass with a combination of bypass river and slot pass. The project area is part of the Natura 2000 "Lower Austrian Alpine Foothills Rivers" region.
LIFE Danube-Ybbs
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