Wetlands are a lot more than just a source of natural beauty and a recreational destination for locals. They also serve a wide variety of other important roles and functions that may not be obvious at first glance. For instance, wetlands also acts as retention areas during flood events, which demonstrates how essential they are in safety and protection of the basin. Additionally, they help to remove pollutants, making them a critical part of ecosystem stability. "Beyond their tremendous ecological value for the preservation of biodiversity in our basin, wetlands also are also indispensable for the protection of populations in the event of floods" said Ivan Zavadsky, Executive Secretary of the ICPDR.
Moreover, wetlands influence aquifers and are valuable habitats for a variety of species. As breeding grounds for rare species of Danube fish or birds, the remaining wetlands of the Danube River Basin are often protected areas and important hotspots of biodiversity. This in turn supports considerate forms of tourism, fisheries and other economic and social interests of local communities.
The ICPDR has dedicated considerable efforts to the protection, restoration and creation of new wetlands in the Danube River Basin. Like all of the ICPDR’s core objectives, the relevant measures are based on the Danube River Protection Convention of 1994. They were reflected in the First Danube River Basin Management Plan (DRBMP) and further emphasized in its 2015 Update.
Source and Editorial: ICPDR
The floodplains and wetlands of the Danube basin are uniquely valuable ecosystems in global terms, although few areas are still in their natural or near-natural state. Over the last two centuries in particular, most of the larger floodplain areas have disappeared. Protected wetlands provide habitats for endangered species, help to even out flood peaks and reduce flood damage by storing surplus water.