Wachau valley and Traisen river

Wachau valley and Traisen river - reconnecting side arms and rebuilding rivers

The tour is organised by viadonau and VERBUND in cooperation with ISRS2019.

The Austrian waterway company viadonau is a pioneer in the field of ecologically oriented river engineering on waterways. Their objective is to maintain and improve the living conditions of the flora and fauna on the rivers Danube, March and Thaya without impairing other uses of the waterways or flood protection measures.

VERBUND Hydro Power GmbH is Austria’s biggest hydropower operator and has implemented several large scale restoration projects on the Danube river partly with the aid of the EU LIFE program as well as numerous measures to improve fish passage. The strategy of VERBUND regarding the requirements of the EU-WFD is a systemic approach which places the creation of habitats to improve reproductive conditions and their connectivity above the goal of pure fish passage.

This tour will take you along the Danube to the world famous Wachau valley 80 km upstream of Vienna and the recently rebuilt lower Traisen river – one of Europe’s largest river-rehabilitation projects.


In the Danube downstream of Melk – the UNESCO world heritage site Wachau valley – viadonau is involved in enhancing the habitat quality of the Danube river system, particularly through the re-connection of side arms and the creation of in-stream and shoreline structures. The side arm system Schallemmersdorf/Grimsing with a total length of 4km as well as a side arm at Schönbühel with a length of 1.5 km were created in the course of an EU funded LIFE+ project. These backwaters are now connected year-round to the main river and provide important and wave protected habitats for fish of the Danube. The thereby induced variability and multitude of aquatic and terrestrial habitat types along the Danube underlines the ecological value of such measures. Because of its sustainable contribution to the quality of habitats and the high conservation status of the flora and fauna in the project area, the initiative was awarded Best LIFE Nature Project 2015 by the European Commission.


Downstream of the Wachau valley, below the hydropower plant Altenwörth, the Life+ Traisen project - Austria’s largest river restoration project - has transformed the lower reaches of the Traisen river into a diverse floodplain landscape. A near-natural river course with a variety of bank habitats was created completely from scratch. The new riverbed of the Traisen now comprises an ecologically valuable river delta along a stretch of 9.4 km, including morphological dynamics, extensive lowerings of the surrounding area and numerous newly established stagnant water bodies. Construction works started in 2013 and were completed in autumn 2016. First conclusions from the ongoing monitoring period will also be presented during the fieldtrip to the Traisen.


The number of participants is limited to 50.


The tour will be held on Friday, Sept. 13th; 08:30 to 19:00 (~10,5 hours)
Please note that changes may occur to the following schedule due to organizational reasons.

08:30-09:30 departure from BOKU/conference venue and drive to Krems
09:30-10:20 stop at viadonau in Krems; short introduction to projects, morning coffee
10:20-10:50 drive to Schallemmersdor
10:50-12:15 Visit of reconnected side arm system (LIFE+ Mostviertel Wachau).
12:30-13:45 light lunch (likely at local "Heuriger") 
13:45-14:45 drive to Traisen river
14:45-17:30 Visit of the newly built river system of the lower Traisen river (LIFE+ Traisen)
~17:30 drive to Vienna / optional stop at hydropowerplant Greifenstein - visit of fish migration facility
~19:00 Arrival at BOKU/conference venue

The tour fee includes all transportation, presentation of the visited project areas by the organizing partners and lunch. Please bring adequate clothing - be prepared for being outdoor and near the water!


More information on the destinations of the tour can be found online:
LIFE Traisen project: 
LIFE Mostviertel Wachau project: web


Important Information:

- only registered delegates and their (reported) accompanying person are enabled to book tickets for the tours.
- tour tickets have to be purchased in addition to the registration cost through the online registration tool. 
- all tours are offered on a first come-first served basis.
- In the unexpected case that a tour does not reach the minimum capacity and has to be cancelled, the paid fees will be reimbursed in full. 
- Any available spots can be booked on-site at the conference registration office. Be aware that we expect all tours to be fully booked by the start of the conference - book early to secure your spot!


part of the newly built Taisen river system. © Gerhard Pock/VERBUND


Huchen (Hucho hucho) caught in the Traisen river. © VERBUND


Side arm system Schallemmersdorf after construction, © Haslinger/viadonau

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