Use and management

Freshwaters are used in many ways: as a drinking water supply, for industrial transportation and for recreation. All these functions, also referred to as ecosystem services, can only be ensured if rivers and lakes are in a good ecological state. Since its introduction in 2002, the Water Framework Directive has called for just that. And yet water is a scarce resource in many regions of the world. The growing pressure caused by mining, industry, hydroelectric power production and agriculture affects water quality and the passage of freshwaters. At IGB, we develop concepts for the future-oriented management of freshwater resources for the welfare of humans and nature. We investigate how anthropogenic influences affect freshwaters, and how lakes, flowing waters and wetlands can be used sustainably and revitalised efficiently.

Related News

press release

One in five fish dies from passing hydroelectric turbines

Hydroelectric turbines put fish at risk of severe injury during passage. To support an informed debate on the sustainability of hydropower, reliable data of turbine-induced fish mortality are pivotal. A team of researchers has now provided a first global analysis.

Selected publications

October 2021
Hydrological Processes. - 35(2021)10, Art. e14377

Isotope hydrology and water sources in a heavily urbanized stream

Christian Marx; Dörthe Tetzlaff; Reinhard Hinkelmann; Chris Soulsby

The authors studied Isotopes in Berlin’s Panke catchment to understand stream flow sources. Groundwater dominated the upper catchment, but ~90% of flow in the lower catchment was treated waste water. High flows were generated from urban drains. The stream has unnatural hydrological and chemical regimes with restoration needed for improved ecology. 

October 2021
Nature Communications. - 12(2021), Art. 5693

Rewetting does not return drained fen peatlands to their old selves

J. Kreyling; F. Tanneberger; F. Jansen; S. van der Linden; C. Aggenbach; V. Blüml, J. Couwenberg; W-J Emsens; H. Joosten; A. Klimkowska; W. Kotowski; L. Kozub; B. Lennartz; Y. Liczner; H. Liu; D. Michaelis; C. Oehmke; K. Parakenings; E. Pleyl; A. Poyda; S. Raabe; M. Röhl; K. Rücker; A. Schneider; J. Schrautzer; C. Schröder; F. Schug; E. Seeber; F. Thiel; S. Thiele; B. Tiemeyer; T. Timmermann; T. Urich; R. van Diggelen; K. Vegelin; E. Verbruggen; M. Wilmking; N. Wrage-Mönnig; L. Wołejko; D. Zak; G. Jurasinski

Rewetted peatlands have the potential to fulfil the restoration goals including those targeting climate change mitigation, water quality protection, and species conservation. However, due to heavy soil changes their restoration cannot be expected in short-term. Data analyser of several hundred natural and degraded peatlands have shown that it might last decades before they become fully recovered.

September 2021
Proceedings of the Royal Society of London : Ser. B, Biological Sciences. - 288(2021)1959, Art. 20211623

Ecological impacts of water-based recreational activities on freshwater ecosystems: a global meta-analysis

Malwina Schafft; Benjamin Wegner; Nora Meyer; Christian Wolter; Robert Arlinghaus

The authors have summarised and evaluated the scientific literature on recreational ecology in a meta-study. Although all recreational activities can have negative impacts on plants, animals and the environment, they conclude that boat traffic and shoreline use have the most consistently negative impacts. 

May 2021
Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. - 145(2021), Art. 111003

A review of hydropower plants in Romania: distribution, current knowledge, and their effects on fish in headwater streams

Gabriela Costea; Martin T. Pusch; Doru Bănăduc; Diana Cosmoiu; Angela Curtean-Bănăduc

Hydropower is renewable, but mostly not environmentally friendly. The study shows for Romania how the expansion of hydropower runs counter to the goals of EU environmental policy. Hydropower conflicts with the requirements of the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive and the European Water Framework Directive: around half of the hydropower plants in Romania are located in nature conservation areas.

February 2021
Journal of Environmental Management. - 286(2021), Art. 112100

How much habitat does a river need?: a spatially-explicit population dynamics model to assess ratios of ontogenetical habitat needs

David Farò; Guido Zolezzi; Christian Wolter

The authors used a spatially explicit population dynamics model for the barbel to investigate the functional dependencies of sub-habitats. They showed that revitalising only spawning or only juvenile habitats is not effective; the functional unit and a minimum size of habitats are essential. The model helps to predict the revitalisation success on the basis of the size.

Related Projects

AQUATAG

Spatio-temporal high-resolution analysis of water-based recreational activities, resulting impacts and conflicts of use, as well as derivation of a socio-ecological management concept.
Contact person
Markus Venohr
Christine Beusch
Judith Mahnkopf
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 4) Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
Start
03/2019
End
02/2022
Topic

Bridging in Biodiversity Science (BIBS)

BIBS is a BMBF project for biodiversity data collection and synthesis in Germany
Contact person
Mark Gessner
Hans-Peter Grossart
Department
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
(Dept. 5) Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology
Start
12/2016
End
08/2021
Topic

PONDERFUL

IGB (project lead Thomas Mehner) is part of a consortium that is running a new Horizon 2020 project ‘PONDERFUL’, led by the University of Vic (Spain). The project’s overarching aim is to develop improved methods for maximising the use of ponds and pondscapes in climate change adaptation and mitigation, biodiversity conservation and the delivery of ecosystem services.
Contact person
Thomas Mehner
Sabine Hilt
Pieter Lemmens
Department
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
(Dept. 4) Fish Biology, Fisheries and Aquaculture
(Dept. 5) Evolutionary and Integrative Ecology
Start
12/2020
End
11/2024
Topic

Urban Water Interfaces

DFG Research training group  
Contact person
Mark Gessner
Sabine Hilt
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
(Dept. 3) Plankton and Microbial Ecology
Start
07/2015
End
06/2024
Topic

MadMacs

Mass development of aquatic macrophytes – causes and consequences of macrophyte removal for ecosystem structure, function, and services
Contact person
Jan Köhler
Department
(Dept. 1) Ecohydrology and Biogeochemistry
(Dept. 2) Community and Ecosystem Ecology
Start
02/2019
End
01/2022
Topic

Related Downloads

IGB feedback on the EC Call for Evidence regarding renewable energy projects

IGB feedback on the Call for Evidence of the European Commission regarding renewable energy projects, explaining why hydropower should not be prioritised.

IGB feedback on the EU consultation towards binding EU restoration targets

Outlines | IGB Policy Brief: Plans to regulate the River Oder pose risks to nature and sustainable use

Outlines | IGB Policy Brief: Strengths and weaknesses of the Water Framework Directive (WFD)

The IGB Policy Brief recommends continued commitment to the objectives of the WFD and improved practical implementation – and offers options for action to policy makers and practitioners.

Kharaa Yeröö River Basin Atlas

The Atlas is written in Mongolian and English language, as a joint activity of IGB and its Mongolian partner IGG. The science based fundamentals of monitoring and research results of MoMo are documented and continuously updated as maps and texts for discussions with stakeholders and decision makers.

Experts at IGB

Robert Arlinghaus

Research Group Leader
Research group
Integrative Recreational Fisheries Management

Jörn Gessner

Research Group Leader
Research group
Reintroduction of the European Sturgeon to Germany

Michael Hupfer

Research Group Leader
Research group
Biogeochemical Processes in Sediments and Lake Management

Martin Pusch

Research Group Leader
Research group
Functional Ecology and Management of Rivers and Lake Shores

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