The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has disclosed that it is launching a new funding programme for the natural development of floodplains along federal waterways. Government says that this is to develop a biotope network of national importance, a “Blue Ribbon”, through the country.
River, shore and floodplain are to be networked with each other again. The “Auen Encouragement Programme” is aimed primarily at nature conservation and environmental associations as well as districts and municipalities. The Federal Ministry for the Environment already provides €4 million in the current budget for 2019. The funding programme Au-en is supported by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.
Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, says: “The renaturation of floodplains creates habitats for animals, such as dragonflies and butterflies and plants that need the river and the water. It also creates recreational and recreational opportunities. With our new support programme Auen, an important step has been taken in the implementation of the federal programme ‘Blue Ribbon Germany’. In implementing the projects, we also rely on the active participation of state institutions and local social groups.”
BfN President, Prof. Beate Jessel, adds: “With the new funding programme, alluvial defences and floodplain development in Germany receive new impulses. There is a great need, because only about 10 percent of our river floodplains in Germany are in good or very good ecological condition and thus considered to be intact. The new programme is therefore of great importance in improving the condition of the floodplain and, at the same time, increasing the populations of species and habitats linked to intact river landscapes. These are, for example, old arms, alluvial forests or rare bird species such as the common snipe.”
The support programme Auen is aimed, among others, at nature conservation and environmental associations as well as rural districts and municipalities, which are planning projects for the natural development of wetlands on federal waterways. To restore intact river landscapes, floodplains and wetland grasslands, for example, can be created or renatured, dams and drainage facilities that are no longer required can be removed, and the land purchase or compensation payments necessary for implementing the measures can be promoted.
The funding programme Auen is embedded in the federal programme “Blue Ribbon Germany”, which was passed by the Federal Cabinet in February 2017. The aim of the joint initiative of the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Ministry of Transport is to make Germany’s waterways more natural again.
In addition, the new directive will be presented on March 28, 2019 as part of a dialogue forum of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn.