DANUBE PARKS is a network of protected areas along the Danube which has collaborated and pursued a common mission since 2009: to protect the most biodiverse areas along the river. At the beginning of 2017, the Wachau as a Natura 2000 conservation area became part of this network for the first time.
The network currently comprises 16 conservation areas – all biodiversity hotspots – in nine countries along the Danube. The goal of the collaboration is to coordinate conservation activities and to present a strong unified voice in Europe. The focal points of the work lies in the revitalisation of dynamic river habitats, the management of wetland landscapes, the protection and monitoring of rare species and the establishment of nature tourism.
The DANUBEparksCONNECTED project promoted by the "Danube Transnational Programme" runs from 2017 to 2019 and aims at counteracting the fragmentation of habitats along the Danube. The DANUBE HABITAT CORRIDOR campaign is designed to retain important habitats and their connections to each other by means of a Danube-wide strategy and initial pilot measures. A special focus lies on the island habitats of the Danube, the riparian forests and dry grasslands.
WILD ISLAND CORRIDOR: The cross-sectoral programme serves to protect islands as exemplary habitats of intact river courses and important habitats of a number of animal species.
RIPARIAN FORESTS: Copernicus earth monitoring data form the basis for the important linking of riparian forest habitats. The implementation of satellite-based riparian forest strategies is getting under way within the scope of the project.
DANUBE DRY HABITAT: Dry habitats are part of natural river systems, although often fragmented or isolated nowadays. This work package is intended to achieve a strong ecological connection of the dry habitats along the Danube.
DANUBE FREE SKY: Together with network operators, technical solutions should be found to make the electricity lines that cross the Danube visible to birds and thus create a flight corridor free of collisions (the Wachau does not participate in this work package because no electricity lines cross the river in this region).
DANUBEparksCONNECTED is supported by important stakeholders of the waterway management, forestry and energy sectors. International institutions and political representatives collaborate in the process and ensure a sustainable effect. CYCLING THE DYKE offers stakeholders and interested parties the possibility to cycle along the Danube and visit project regions. On two VOLUNTEER DAYS, the local population is invited to join in and at the same to become sensitised to the project objectives.