Almost all project partners of the LIFE WILDisland project gathered for a study visit and networking on November 24-25th 2022 in Linz, Austria.
The first day of the event we visited the final conference of the Transdanube Travel Stories INTERREG project and a brain-storming of the DANUBEPARKS Association, which was the engine and inspiration of the LIFE WILDisland project development and submission.
On the second day the teams from Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania visited the Abwinden-Asten project site, where a whole new island will be created within the LIFE WILDisland project. This is the largest restoration action and most ambitious action provided in the project. Here the Verbund, Austria's largest electricity provider, will remove the embankment and restore a side branch to initiate a new Danube island on a total of 6 ha in order to restore dynamic river processes and landscapes with high value for softwood forest. At present, there is an asphalt road and street lighting along several kilometers of embankment. We expect a really great impact on site and we were glad to be among the last ones to still be able to access the bank by bus, as all this infrastructure will later be destroyed and given back to the river.
After that the group visited the fish bypass at the Abwinden-Asten power plant, constructed within the LIFE Network Danube project. The project was implemented by one of the WILDisland project partners - Verbund and provided for the establishment of more than 5 km near-natural channel, where fish and other living creatures can now find new habitats and an opportunity to pass around the power plant. The project resulted in the creation of a total of approximately five hectares of new riparian habitats.
The last stop was another successfully completed project upstream the Abwinden-Asten power plant, namely the new side arm and newly established island near the estuary of the Ottensheim-Wilhering power plant bypass channel. Here the LIFE WILDisland teams could see a similar site, where embankment has been removed and a new island has been created, dredging an old side arm. The difference between the asphalt roads downstream Abwinden and the natural gravel banks of the new island upstream was quite striking and we are looking forward to seeing the same changes happening at the WILDisland project site.
The site is also among the target areas of an integrated LIFE IRIS project, dealing with strategic planning and small-scale pilot measures for preservation of natural riverine landscapes. Representatives of the IRIS project also joined our excursion, as well as our external project monitors from NEEMO.
This was a really excellent opportunity to see how the LIFE WILDisland project site will look like after the ambitious construction works and discuss various aspects and experience collected through the project implementation.
The whole area and joint field trip represent a wonderful example of synergies and effect multiplication of several LIFE projects, building on common experiences and best practices.
The excursion was hosted by the LIFE WILDisland project partners Verbund and viadonau, the Austrian waterway navigation authority.
We are really grateful to all for their interest and inspiring work!
For more information:
Georg Frank - Donau-Auen National Park: firstname.lastname@example.org