The Danube River is the uniting element of the Danube Parks Network, thus it is clearly the main focus of our joint activities. Natural river dynamics are the key factor for a diversity of habitats and species. High floods and low waters leave their traces in the form of steep slopes, gravel islands and sand banks. Where vegetation appears and remains for a longer time, forests can grow and survive even longer floods. Branches are created by the river itself and are in need of the connection with the main river. Still, nothing is forever in a floodplain area: The force of the water can change the picture completely within a couple of days.
This functioning system provides a lot of services to nature and people: flood protection by retention areas, an extremely fertile ground, and beautiful recreational sites.
However, the river is not natural anymore – alterations to the natural flow of the river have been implemented during the last 150 years. Hydropower plants disrupt the connectivity of the river, river embankments and straightening the river bed cuts off floodplain areas from the river. The need to restore these altered river stretches is clear if we want to save the unique ecosystems of floodplains, rivers and wetlands along the Danube River.