Lippe-Aue - Optimisation of the pSCI "Lippe flood plain between Hamm and Hangfort"

LIFE05 NAT/D/000057

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Oliver Schmidt-Formann
Tel: +49 2381 177137
Fax: +49 2381 172931
Email: schmidtformann@stadt.hamm.de

Project description:


The River Lippe is a tributary of the Rhine. It runs westwards along the southern edge of the Westphalia lowlands. The river floodplain has been heavily modified by water engineering works and agricultural use, but it still hosts some areas with high potential conservation value. One of these areas is the Natura 2000 network Site of Community Interest (SCI) "Lippeaue zwischen Hamm and Hangfort". This SCI is characterised by grassland, backwaters and oxbows, and small pockets of alluvial forests, which are a priority habitat under the EU Habitats Directive. Part of the area is also designated as a Natura 2000 Special Protection Area ("Lippeaue zwischen Hamm und Lippstadt mit den Ahsewiesen") for its breeding populations of corncrake (Crex crex), kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus).


The project aimed to restore the natural river and floodplain dynamics in the pSCI. Along a 5 500 m section of the River Lippe, the river bank reinforcement would be removed in order to promote the re-instatement of natural erosion and sedimentation processes. Additionally, a 585 m stretch of a small side stream would be renaturalised. As a result, new natural river habitats would be established and the frequency of flooding would be increased on 110 ha of land. Several weirs and small barriers in the River Lippe were planned to be removed, to facilitate the migration of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), river lamprey (Lampetra fluviatilis) and asp (Aspius aspius). On 40 hectares of wet grasslands, the restoration of the natural hydrology would be achieved by blocking ditches, and 2.6 ha of arable land would be converted into grassland. For the general public, a nature trail and an observation tower would be created, along with guided access to the nature area.


The project achieved all the main objectives: it restored the floodplain of the river Lippe at a length of some 17 Km in an area close to a large city. New oxbows, flood channels and shallow ponds were created and the bank stabilisations at the river Lippe were removed. As a consequence, typical alluvial habitats for a high number of threatened species were created. Moreover, areas of intensive land use were transformed to more ‘natural’ extensive grassland areas and alluvial forests.

All restoration measures were accompanied through intensive media work, both at local and regional level. In fact, the success of the project is very much the result of intensive public relation measures, the very good co-operation with local stakeholders (especially with farmers) and the initiation of additional conservation measures.

The beneficiary organised two large public relation events (Lippeauenfest) in the project site together with various local associations. The first event attracted more than 3000 locals.The project produced a high number of information materials, including 12 volumes of the newsletter “Auenpost” which was distributed during information events and via wooden boxes on site. Temporary information boards at the construction sites provided detailed information to the local population during the implementation of the large-scale project measures. The local and regional press reported on the project more than 200 times. School and kindergarten classes were reached with specific events.

The good co-operation with farmers (both land owners and tenants) was crucial for the success of the project. This ensured that the necessary land parcels could be purchased and that the change of land use (from intensive grassland management to alluvial forests, extensive grazing and extensive meadow use) was accepted. No serious conflicts with farmers arose, even though some 25 ha of agricultural land was transformed to water bodies or forests and all remaining arable land was transformed to grassland through the project.

It was very important that before the detailed restoration works began a detailed agricultural study was carried out in order to assess which farmers would be affected by the project and how the impacts on the project on farmers can be minimised. The project was able take into account the results of this study without reducing the targets of the project.

The long-term sustainability of the project measures is ensured. Lease contracts were signed that ensure that the grasslands are ecologically managed, which will promote the development of typical floodplain meadows and the occurrence of rare bird species. Local authorities are responsibility for the maintenance of the new infrastructure for natural observation, such as the observation tower and the nature trail, and the general public relation activities will be continued.

The project can serve as a best practise example for many other LIFE Nature projects. Conservation efforts will continue through the beneficiary and its partners in the same floodplain. These actions will further improve the ecological connectivity of the Lippe floodplain.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater
Water - River basin management


river management‚  migratory species‚  protected area‚  renaturation‚  land purchase

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • Decision 93/626 - Conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity (25.10.1993)
  • COM(95) 189 - "Communication on the judicious use and conservation of wetlands" (12.12.1995)
  • COM(98)42 -"Communication on a European Community Biodiversity Strategy" (05.02.1998)
  • COM(2001)162 -"Biodiversity Action Plan for the conservation of natural resources (vol. I & II)" ...

Target species

 Alcedo atthis   Circus aeruginosus   Cottus gobio   Triturus cristatus     

Target Habitat types

  • 6430 - Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of plains and of the montane to alpine levels
  • 6510 - "Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)"
  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 3150 - Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation
  • 3260 - Water courses of plain to montane levels with the Ranunculion fluitantis and Callitricho-Batrachion vegetation

Natura 2000 sites

SCI DE4213301 Lippeaue zwischen Hangfort und Hamm



Coordinator Stadt Hamm, Umweltamt
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The town of Hamm is located east of the Ruhr area and has around 190 000 inhabitants. The Umweltamt (Environmental county) is the local authority responsible for issues concerning the environment, water protection and nature conservation. It was established in 1989 and has a staff of 24.
Partners Lippeverband, Germany Kreis Warendorf, Germany Arbeitsgemeinschaft Biologischer Umweltschutz (ABU) Soest, Germany


Project reference LIFE05 NAT/D/000057
Duration 08-JAN-2005 to 31-JUL -2010
Total budget 5,514,593.00 €
EU contribution 2,757,297.00 €
Project location Nordrhein-Westfalen(Deutschland)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Laienbericht
Video link "LIFE Projekt Lippe Aue" (19')


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version