Murerleben - Mur experience - Alpine river management Upper Mur

LIFE08 NAT/A/000614

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Rudolf HORNICH
Fax: +43 0 3168775899
Email: rudolf.hornich@stmk.gv.at

Project description:


The Natura 2000 site, 'Ober- und Mittellauf der Mur mit Puxer Auwald, Puxer Wand and Gulsen', covers an area of 1 309 ha. Long stretches of the Upper Mur river originally had a furcating riverbed. River engineering measures successively narrowed the original riverbed to its present shape with an average width of around 20 m. However, the entire river was not systematically regulated, thereby preserving much of the path of the main riverbed. The unsystematic river regulation also caused widening of the river channel in some places, allowing the formation of typical river structures such as gravel islands. Because of this the Upper Mur still has meanders with slip-off- and undercut banks, sediment bars and islands and well-structured river stretches with a rich variation of wide and deep areas, which are home to a rich diversity of species and habitats. However, the narrowing of the river to its present main channel, and the consequent deepening of the riverbed, ultimately caused the disconnection of the river from the adjacent landscape. This led to loss of river-specific habitats and dynamism. Many riverine forest habitats, such as pools and oxbow lakes, disappeared, leading to the current endangerment of habitats and species.


The overall objective of this project is to restore, maintain and improve the characteristic river landscape of the Upper Mur, as a prerequisite for maintaining rare and endangered species, listed in the Habitats Directive. The project will restore 3.2 km of the Mur by partially removing bank-reinforcement structures. This will facilitate dynamic processes, such as development of gravel banks and bank erosion. The project will also promote 17.7 ha of alluvial forests, providing new habitats for typical riverine plant and animal species, and will create artificial ponds (13 000m²) for amphibians such as the yellow-bellied toad (Bombina variegata). These measures will be accompanied by a media and information campaign, including a project film, targeted at a local and regional communities. The project will thus improve habitats for fish species, such as Hucho hucho and Eudontomyzon spp. The restoration of alluvial forests will result in the spread of tree and shrub species such as Alnus glutinosa, Fraxinus excelsior and Salix eleagnos. Restoration, improvement and reconnection of floodplain water bodies will lead to the creation of diverse aquatic and terrestrial habitats for Bombina variegata and Triturus carnifex.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Freshwater


protected area‚  river‚  restoration measure

Target species

 Bombina variegata   Cottus gobio   Eudontomyzon spp.   Hucho hucho   Triturus carnifex   

Target Habitat types

  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 3240 - Alpine rivers and their ligneous vegetation with Salix elaeagnos

Natura 2000 sites

SCI AT2236000 Ober- und Mittellauf der Mur mit Puxer Auwald, Puxer Wand und Gulsen



Coordinator Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description The co-ordinating beneficiary, the Styrian water authority, is responsible for river engineering and river restoration in Styria. The beneficiary oversaw the former LIFE-project Obere Mur (LIFE 03 NAT/A/00011).
Partners Department of Nature Protection of Styria, Austria Bauhof Judenburg, Austria


Project reference LIFE08 NAT/A/000614
Duration 01-FEB-2010 to 01-FEB -2017
Total budget 2,784,131.00 €
EU contribution 1,392,065.00 €
Project location Steiermark(Österreich)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


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