Technical-biological bank protection measures along Federal Waterways
The banks of federal waterways are exposed to multiple stresses by ship traffic and natural currents. In the estuaries the tides play an additional role. So far the banks are armored by stone revetments against erosion. This type of protection measure results in loss of ecosystem functions and suitable habitats for estuarine plants and animals.
Since the introduction of the European Water Framework Directive and further national laws, all measures in and along waterways have to meet ecological requirements. The goal is to improve the ecological development of Federal Waterways by increasing structural diversity and thereby supporting natural estuarine habitats for plants and animals. In the future, these measures can have a positive impact on water quality and climate change. At the same time, the stability of river banks has to be secured. One way to combine these requirements is the removal or replacement of stone revetments with environmentally friendly solutions for bank protection using plants or natural materials such as wood.
The Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute (BAW) and the Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG) are researching the technical applicability and the ecological effectiveness of technical-biological bank protection measures in German waterways. Over the past years design principles and work specifications for these measures and their application to inland waterways have already been developed. The tidal influence in the estuarine parts of waterways partially results in different technical and ecological boundary conditions. Therefore, the applicability and design of technical-biological bank protections in the estuaries are being researched in a second project since 2019.
Read more about the research and results on the use of technical-biological bank protections in the inland and estuarine Federal Waterways.