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The ecosystem service approach as a basis for an assessment of alternative actions in terms of the WFD for the federal waterway Lahn Methodological Basis

In many rivers and their floodplains in Germany, considerable efforts will have to be made in the next years to achieve the objectives of good ecological potential or status with respect to the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). It will be of central importance to draw up suitable development concepts that adequately take into account the different use interests on the river landscape. An ongoing project that faces this complex challenge is the integrated EU LIFE project "LiLa Living Lahn - one river, many interests" (LiLa project). 

As an essential result of the LiLa project, a so-called "Lahn concept" is currently being developed under the leadership of the Mosel-Saar-Lahn Waterways and Shipping Authority. This coordinated overall concept is to support decision-making regarding the future development and maintenance of that river section of the Lahn, which is dedicated as a federal waterway. The handling of the 29 weirs on the 149 km Lahn section owned by the federal government is of crucial importance. 

For the Lahn federal waterway, a complex study was conducted to examine how hypothetical implementation options with respect to the WFD (mainly weirs) could affect the ecosystem services offered by the river and its floodplains. This article explains the corresponding methodical basics. 

A consideration of ecosystem services, which are defined here as direct and indirect contributions of nature and landscape to human well-being, can help to better understand possible effects of alternative actions and their importance for people. In addition, the information can help to better consider these diverse effects in discussions and decision-making processes. Development concepts are necessary that adequately take into account the different use interests in the river landscapes in order to support the implementation of the measures with respect to the WFD.

To the article (German language)


Image source: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden