Infrastruktur und Umwelt

Who Benefits from the Renaturation of the Zaber-Neckar Confluence? – A Presentation of the Findings of an Evaluation of a Renaturation Project

On 29 September 2014, as part of a congress devoted to “Our Neckar – from the Vision to the Reality”, INFRASTRUKTUR & UMWELT presented the findings of an evaluation of the renaturation of the Zaber-Neckar confluence in Lauffen am Neckar.

The congress, held by the Baden-Württemberg Academy for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection under the title “Our Neckar – from the Vision to the Reality”, had the aim of bringing stakeholders together to make a joint contribution to the sustainable development of the river environment. One element of this was a look back at projects that had already been implemented with an eye to identifying the factors that contributed to their success.

Against this background, INFRASTRUKTUR & UMWELT (IU) presented the evaluation of the project to renaturate the Zaber-Neckar confluence that was carried out between 2012 and 2014.

The renaturation of the Zaber-Neckar confluence in Lauffen am Neckar is part of the “Our Neckar” initiative. The project reflects the comprehensive approach of this initiative. In addition to ensuring that the water-meadows of the Zaber and Neckar rivers provide a rich habitat for animals and plants, the project aims to create an attractive environment for the public. When it is completed, it should once again be possible to enjoy the view of one of the well-known features of the town, the Neckar breach, between the west bank with its limestone formations and the old town walls by the church of Regiswindis, and the east bank with the Salierburg and the current town hall. The Federal State of Baden-Württemberg provides financial support for the project.

As part of the evaluation of the project, IU investigated the impact of the combined freshwater-ecological and water management measures on the local population. On two occasions, in 2012 and 2013, selected residents of Lauffen am Neckar were asked for their views regarding how the project was seen by the townspeople. These interviews were followed in 2013 by a questionnaire that was sent to all residents. 

The evaluation made clear that the work carried out by the locals has increased the attractiveness of the Zaber-Neckar confluence and its immediate environment by over 90 per cent. The amenity value of the overall area has increased substantially and the accessibility of the Zaber and Neckar rivers has been significantly improved.