Management of riverine landscapes has become a complex challenge for both scientists and practitioners. "Integrated Catchment Management", as the current state-of-the-art concept, aims at a holistic and sustainable development of riverine landscapes. It therefore requires not only interdisciplinary collaboration between ecologists, water managers, economists and social scientists during the planning process, but also the transdisciplinary co-operation with administrators, end-users and residents.
The "Integrated Catchment Management" concept is the response to today's manifold problems and deficiencies in rivers and riverine landscapes. These are ultimately the consequence of conventional planning strategies: Only recently, specific problems and issues, for example flood protection, restoration or water use, were treated as separate tasks by different scientific disciplines. Moreover, public administration - with its split competences - is just at the beginning of formulating adequate overall strategies.
This lack of holistic and sustainable solutions adversely affected riverine landscapes in a number of ways. River engineering activities, for example, often deepened the river bottom and therefore jeopardized the groundwater balance and water supply. Neither river engineering nor hydropower plant construction have adequately considered ecological requirements. Land use planning was typically excluded from the planning process.
The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), which came into force in December 2000, adopted the holistic approach and incorporated the "Integrated Catchment Management" strategy into European legislation. This new law does more than merely promote the incorporation of the latest scientific results into a water policy directive. Rather, it presents scientists with the great challenge of considering new research approaches and methods for implementing the aims of the WFD and of translating these into relevant instruments.
Aims of the workshop
In light of the challenges posed by the WFD, the workshop aims at presenting and discussing "Integrated Catchment Management" from the perspective of the relevant scientific disciplines. The special requirements for inter- and transdisciplinary co-operation are to be addressed as a separate topic.
The main emphasis of the workshop will be on the exchange of information and experience among scientists. Several presentations will introduce the issue "Integrated Catchment Management" in general and on a more theoretical level. This will be followed by a presentation of the experience gained from different projects. Further case studies will be described from the perspective of the various disciplines, among them river ecology sustainability, "participative processes", economy, water management and land use planning.
One focus is on the project "River landscape types in Austria - "Leitbilder" for a sustainable development of river landscapes", which was treated by a team of river ecologists, landscape planners, economists, sustainability researchers and land use planners as part of the Austrian research program "Austrian landscape research" (Austrian Ministry for Education, Research and Culture).
Pursuant to the transdisciplinary and participative problem-solving approach, representatives from public administration and end-users will be invited. This will promote the integration of practical considerations into the discussion as well as into the results of the workshop. The presentations and contributions to the workshop will be published in an international journal.