River landscape-types in Austria

"Leitbilder" (guiding vision) for a sustainable development of river landscapes

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key data
project team
external cooperations

managed by:

Susanne Muhar
Department of Hydrobiology, Fisheries and Aquacultur, BOKU - University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna

end of project: 2003 05


Content/Results: Structure Plan

Sub-module 1
Classifying River Landscapes


Categorizing running waters or river stretches into types based on their natural potential is a fundamental process in many issues related to planning in aquatic environments. This is equally valid in the next step, namely classifying river landscapes based both on this natural potential and on human impacts on the landscape. This approach has been neglected so far in Austria. Such data, especially in light of the Water Framework Directive, which is compulsory for all EU member states and therefore for Austria, are a key prerequisite in order to:

  • determine and define characteristic reference stretches
  • define type-specific Leitbilder based on principles of aquatic ecology
  • comparatively evaluate how anthropogenically induced changes reduce the ecological integrity of running waters
  • develop type-specific measures tailored to the respective water bodies (e.g. water management measures, regeneration as well as protective measures) – that focus both on the natural potential and the current status quo – and
  • evaluate their effects
Considering these highly relevant research policy issues, and based on those Austrian rivers with a catchment area > 500 km², the project members elaborated the following topics within this sub-module:
  1. Characteristics of the natural/ecological potential of Austria’s river landscapes (in the sense of their type-specific, anthropogenically undisturbed condition) based on physical and biological parameters (e.g. morphological river type, discharge conditions etc. as well as fish regions and floodplain vegetation)
  2. Representation of the ecological status quo based on two selected biological indicators (fish fauna, floodplain vegetation)
  3. Representation of the uses of and impacts on the rivers and their surroundings based on selected types of impact (e.g. water diversion, damming, uses at the floodplain level etc.)
  4. Identify river types according to natural landscape and ecological criteria
  5. Identify available river landscape types as a synopsis of the status quo of the running waters and of the natural potential of the aquatic landscapes.
These results were used to develop Leitbilder for river landscapes in sub-module 2 and then specifically applied to the case study Möll, Carinthia in sub-module 3.



Sub-module 2
Model Conception: Leitbild Development for River Landscapes

pdf list


Sub-module 3
Leitbild Development for the River Landscape Möll (Carinthia/Austria)

pdf list


Sub-module 4
Future Strategies for Applying River Landscape Leitbilder

pdf list



Supplementary Module
Anthropogenic Uses and Impacts in and along the River Möll around 1830

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