Pan-Alpine overview

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The pan–Alpine overview of the river network is based on official data provided by national/regional administration. Most of the data are part of national river basin management plans reported in the frame of the WFD. Since the WFD defines the obligations to maintain the good respectively high ecological status of rivers, this clear and fundamental mission for protection is specifically addressed by highlighting the “ecological status” and the “protection priority” within the Alpine Arc. Ecological status (EU countries) and ecological value (a surrogate parameter for Switzerland based on Muhar et al. 2013) were assembled from national data. A very high protection priority is assigned to river units with a high ecological status/value, river units with an associated IUCN Cat. Ia, Ib, or II area, river units with a high hydromorphological status (i.e. high morphological status and absence of hydrological pressures), and/or natural river units (≠ AWB/HWMB) associated with Cat. A floodplains/wetlands. Data are shown for river units (= river stretch between two tributaries) for rivers with a catchment ≥10 km². Queries are possible for selected administrative areas, catchments as well as for SPARE Pilot Case Studies (PCS).

It should be noted, that some regions of the Alpine Arc show a high amount of rivers designated with “high or good ecological status or very high protection priority”. This can be explained e.g. by the application of different monitoring approaches. Additionally, for some regions big data gaps were identified by spatial analyses within SPARE. Thus, the ‘overall picture’ has to be viewed in the light of these partly biased results. More detailed information including the evaluation process can be found in the “Report on the status of Alpine river ecosystems”.

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