Boosting biodiversity on riverbanks near hydropower stations

The banks of most water bodies containing dams are covered with wave breakers made of concrete. These dams have a negative impact on the environment, reducing biodiversity and harming habitats. The LIFE INADAR project team took an alternative approach when widening and elevating riverbanks near two hydropower stations in Germany. They replaced concrete slabs with ‘eco-berms’ which are made of materials like stones, sediment and dead wood. Like concrete, these eco-berms stop erosion and flooding, but they also improve biodiversity along riverbanks. Species such as the Dragonfly, Ring snake, Kingfisher and juvenile fish have made a welcome return. The approach is cost-effective as producing eco-berms is around one third cheaper than using concrete.

Bayerische Elektrizittswerke GmbH
Germany (replication in Austria)