Aerial view of a power plant on a river with backed-up water, adjacent wooded area, and hiking trails in clear weather.

LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn:
EU-funded ecological development of the riverscape on the Lower Inn

power plants
and their surroundings are ecologically upgraded.
kilometres of dams
become valuable habitats.
project duration until 2028.
mio. Euro
Project Volume

LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn

The Lower Inn is a lifeline and shapes the habitat far beyond the riverbanks. In the last 200 years, people have shaped and considerably altered the Inn. Land reclamation, navigability, flood defences and the desire for fixed, invariable borders have contributed significantly to the remodelling of the riverscape.

It was only these massive structural changes to the river that later enabled the construction of power plants. In addition to the reliable power supply, they also caused the stabilisation of the riverbed, which eroded more and more due to the increased flow velocity of the Inn. The power plants and their large storage areas are also the reason behind the creation of today’s Lower Inn European conservation area, which is considered to be a paradise for birds.

Graphic map showing the courses of the Danube, Inn, and Salzach rivers on the border between Bavaria and Austria, with project markers highlighted.

Ecological objectives

In the coming years, the project partners in Bavaria and Upper Austria will implement numerous measures for the ecological development of the riverscape on the Lower Inn. These include:

near-natural bypass waterbodies at the Inn power plants at

  • Braunau-Simbach and
  • Egglfing-Obernberg

as well as the creation of further waterbody habitats in the areas around the Inn power plants at

  • Ering-Frauenstein,
  • Egglfing-Obernberg and
  • Schärding-Neuhaus.
Aerial view of a power plant on a river with backed-up water, adjacent wooded area, and hiking trails in clear weather.
Individual in a yellow jacket by the bank of a flowing river in a green landscape with trees and shrubs in the background.

Once again, we have launched a project on a European scale with which hydropower will become even more sustainable. It makes it possible to retract developments of the centuries-old history of human interventions in river courses and recreate lost habitats. In this way, hydropower becomes part of the solution for the climate and the environment.

Michael STRUGL Chairman of the Executive Board at the project sponsor VERBUND

A common cause

VERBUND is the operator of the hydropower plants on the Inn and is committed to the co-existence of nature, the environment and sustainable electricity generation from regenerative hydropower. For this reason, VERBUND and its project partners

  • the government of Lower Bavaria as the higher-tier conservation authority
  • the conservation department of the office of the Upper Austrian provincial government, and
  • the provincial fishery associations of Upper Austria and Bavaria

applied for the EU-LIFE nature project LIFE Riverscape Lower Inn and received a funding commitment from the EU.

Group of individuals at a groundbreaking ceremony at a construction site with an excavator and informational signs in the background.