The LIFE project LippeAue

The area of the eastern Lippe floodplain (Lippeaue) from the Soest and Warendorf districts up to Hamm is an ecologically highly valuable area well worth protecting. The Lippe and its floodplains feature a diverse mosaic of habitats: meandering river loops, sections where the flow of the water is slow and dense stands of water lilies grow, backwaters, pond, small streams, reed beds and grasslands.

Ecological diversity worth protecting

The “Lippe floodplain between Hangfort and Hamm” is therefore under special protection as a ‘Fauna Flora Habitat’. It is an integral part of the European “Natura 2000” nature conservation network, created by EU member states to cover fauna and flora habitats (FFH) and bird protection areas. These are areas that have been identified as plant and animal habitats of pan-European significance. The network’s legal foundation is the Habitats Directive and the Birds Directive.

It will only be possible to successfully protect and keep such special habitats with their unique biological diversity, if conservation activities are carried out and supported beyond political boundaries. The coordination of activities to protect Natura 2000 areas throughout European states is ensured by the European Commission’s LIFE environment and nature conservation financial support instrument under the auspices of the Environment Directorate-General.

Closely interdependent rivers and floodplains

In the ‘Life Project Lippeaue’, which is being carried out by project partners the city of Hamm, the LIPPEVERBAND, the district of Warendorf and ABU Soest, a wide range of measures have been planned to ensure the protection and development of diverse animal and plant life and implement the project’s goals. It will be essential here to restore the close interdependency between the river and its floodplain. A broad range of initial measures will give nature a kick-start, the rest it will manage itself!

An overview of measures:

  • Freeing up of built-up banks by removing stones deposited there
  • Removal of artificial water barriers on the banks of the Lippe
  • Building of bypass channels to enable aquatic animals to move freely up and down the river
  • Lengthening the artificially straightened and shortened Lippe with a river loop
  • Converting small tributaries of the Lippe into natural waterways
  • Creation of biotope elements typical of floodplains such as ponds, shallow waters (ponds), backwaters, many small bodies of water and dunes
  • Extensive and semi-extensive farming of meadows and pastures (grasslands)
  • Partial rewetting of grasslands by refilling drainage ditches and channels
  • Turning farming land into grasslands
  • Planting alluvial forest
  • Broad-based plan for public relations work including lectures, excursions, conferences and events

LIFE nature conservation programme – high levels of European support status

LIFE stands for ‘L`Instrument Financier de l`Environment’ and is the EU’s instrument for financing environmental protection. The ‘LIFE Project Lippeaue’, whose goal is to conserve and develop natural habitats and wild animal and plant species in ‘Flora Fauna Habitats’ (FFH) in the ‘Lippeaue between Hangfort and Hamm’, is 50 percent financed by the LIFE programme (with EUR 2.75 m.). For the state of North Rhine-Westphalia the Lippe floodplain is an area of special significance too. The state is therefore providing 40 percent of the funding required (EUR 2,2 m.) through its Ministry for the Environment and Natural Conservation, Agriculture and Consumer Protection to successfully implement the ‘LIFE Project Lippeaue’. The project partners will provide the remaining 10 percent of funds.

More on this topic

The Lippeaue Project – an inter-communal project for vibrant diversity in floodplains

Several project partners have joined forces to implement the ‘LIFE Project Lippeaue’ successfully. You will find detailed information about the project’s current activities, the current status of measures, the various habitats and much more on the project group’s website.

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A film about current Life Project activities

Gain a good overview in just 5:30 minutes! This film offers a wealth of information on the LIFE Project and impressions of construction measures that are complete and still ongoing..

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The EU Habitats Directive
The Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC of the Council of the 21st of May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) and the Birds Directive provide the central legal foundation for nature conservation in the European Union. The goal here is to maintain all wild plant and animal species and natural habitats typical of Europe in a favourable conservation status.

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