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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.

Close up of a plants

Wetlands/floodplains and their connection to adjacent river water bodies play an important role in the functioning of aquatic ecosystems by providing important habitats for fish as well as other fauna and have a positive effect on water status of surface and groundwater bodies. Connected wetlands/floodplains also play a significant role when it comes to retention areas during flood events and may also have positive effects on the reduction of nutrients, siltation of riverbeds, climate change, water scarcity and droughts.

River regulation works and intensive land use within riparian and adjacent land are recognized as the main pressures related to disconnection of wetlands/floodplains.

The ICPDR’s basin-wide vision is that floodplains/wetlands all over the DRBD are re-connected and restored. The integrated function of these riverine systems contribute to the development of self-sustaining aquatic populations, flood protection, climate change adaptation and reduction of pollution in the DRBD.

As 80% of the former wetlands/floodplains in the DRBD are considered to be disconnected, ongoing restoration/mitigation efforts and measures are needed in order to further improve the reconnection of wetlands/floodplains in the entire DRBD. Activities on the implementation of the Floods Directive and the elaboration of the FRMP are significantly contributing to the compilation of inventories of connected and disconnected wetlands/floodplains and therefore increase the knowledge on reconnection potential.