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Executive summary

Near-natural river and flood plain development of River Ems at Einen – dynamics and habitat diversity

Restored river section of the Ems

The Ems is one of Germany's smallest rivers. As the little sister of larger rivers such as the Rhine, Elbe and Oder, the Ems has also felt the effects of engineering "improvements". In the 1930s in particular, large stretches of what was once a meandering lowland river were straightened, leading to deepening erosion of the riverbed.

The area of the Ems in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been included in the state's river flood plain programme. The planning area covered by the "Ems Flood Plain Protection Concept" comprises the length of the Ems in NRW from Greffen to Rheine at the border between NRW and Lower Saxony.
Existing vestiges of typical flood plain plant communities are priority biotopes within the meaning of the Habitat Directive. In the past few years, various rare species of fauna have been found to have recolonised the flood plain; the project is intended to reinforce this process.

Project objectives:

  • Lengthening and widening of the course of the river
  • Selfdynamic lateral morphodynamic processes
  • Dynamic flood plain processes
  • Developing secondary flood plain
  • Uninterrupted passage for fauna
  • Demonstrating best practice for selfdynamic lateral morphodynamic processes

The Layman's Report to the completion of the LIFE+ project is finished

The Layman's Report "near-natural river and floodplain development of the River Ems at Einen - river dynamics and habitat diversity"to the completion of the LIFE+ project is finished and can be downloaded here


Dr. Hannes Schimmer
Bezirksregierung Münster
Nevinghoff 22
48147 Münster
Phone: +49 251/411-5717
Fax: +49 251/411-85717

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