Navigation in the Danube River

Navigation is a traditional activity on the Danube River, regulated by the Danube Commission. Within the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T) the Pan-European Corridor VII for navigation connects the Black Sea with the North Sea through the Rhine-Main-Danube-Canal. The adoption of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region in 2010 and the EU 2020 policy that promotes inland waterway navigation as a “green” transportation will lead to an increasing traffic through this TEN-T corridor across Europe.

However, hydromorphological alterations by navigation are a major pressure for riverine ecosystems, particularly in the Middle and Lower Danube hosting high biodiversity in navigation bottlenecks and large floodplains that are mostly protected as Natura2000 areas of high ecological value (so-called Green Corridor). Also the spread of aquatic invasive alien species between European river basins is favored by navigation.

IAD was actively involved in elaborating the Joint Statement on Guiding Principles on Inland Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Danube River Basin and PLATINA Manual on Good Practices in Sustainable Waterway Planning ( and also reviewed the EIA reports for the planned navigation projects in the Ukraine (Bystroe Channel) and Romania (ISPA I and ISPA II). Our suggestions to the monitoring program ISPA I helped improving the project with regard to mitigate the environmental impact of planned hydromorphological constructions. In a workshop in June 2012, organized by the Romanian Ministry of Transport, first results of the monitoring were presented.

From the ecosystem perspective, the large scale and long-term hydromorphological changes affecting the aquatic communities (e.g. destruction of spawning sites, disrupted migration) and the adjacent floodplains are of particular importance. Therefore, predictive mathematical modeling is applied to identify the best “environmental friendly” measures.

Further information can be gathered from

PLATINA (2010): Manual on good practices in sustainable waterway planning. ICPDR, SWP 5.3 Project, TREN/FP7/TR/218362, July 2010, 107 pp.

Jürg Bloesch / 15 June 2012

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