Germany's Blue Belt: reconnecting the Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue

shallow new banks reconnecting the Knoblochsaue floodplain to the Rhine
Area characterisation: 

The project area is located West of Darmstadt (Rhine km 475.5 - 476.2) in Germany and measures around 1.2km2. The vicinity is rural with urban centers nearby.

The German Blue Belt program consists of 39 different types of restoration measures, ranging from measures in the river channel (e.g. riverbed development, restoring natural discharge levels, removal of barriers), to river bank and in riparian zones (e.g. removal or nature-based conversion of bank fixations, development of riparian strips, creation of low disturbance areas) to floodplains (e.g. ecological development of oxbows and flood channels, nature based flooding of polders, extensifying floodplain land use). The recent floodplains of the federal waterways are predominantly in a significantly to greatly changed condition and are characterized by high land use intensities. (93%) are classified as “clearly”, “strongly” or “very strongly” modified.


Floodplain reconnection through modification of river bank protection

  • complete removal of bank protection
  • nature-based modification of necessary bank protection
  • development of natural river banks and increasing river-floodplain connectivity
Potential impacts/benefits: 
  • reestablishment of a functioning floodplain
  • enhanced biodiversity, flood protection
  • improved water quality
  • increased recreational value
NbS benefits 
  • Flood peak reduction
  • Increase infiltration / Water storage
  • Reduce flood risk
  • Reduce run-off
  • Carbon sequestration and storage
  • Improve connectivity and functionality of green and blue infrastructures
  • Increase achievements of biodiversity targets
  • Increase quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
  • Improve water quality
  • Increase amount of green open spaces for residents
  • Social learning about location & importance of NBS

Further information

Sustainable Development Goals 
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 15. Life On Land
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals