The Danube River is 2,857 km long and it is the world’s most international river basin, including territories of 19 countries. Its source lies in the Black Forest in Germany and it flows into the northwestern part of the Black Sea, splitting into three branches that form the Danube Delta (6,750 km2). Over the last two centuries, 80% of the wetlands and floodplains in the DRB became disconnected, and many disappeared. Still, the remaining floodplains and wetlands are uniquely valuable ecosystems in European and global terms, providing numerous ecosystem services to basin residents, such as flood protection, groundwater replenishment, sediment and nutrient retention, biodiversity, river-floodplain products, cultural values and climate change buffering capacity. With the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive, major threats in the DRB, like pollution and hydromorphological alterations have been identified as well as measures to mitigate or reduce their impact, including the ambitious objective to restore lost wetlands and their valuable services and functions.
KeywordsDanube River Basin Water Framework Directive Water management Wetlands restoration Ecosystem services
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