Alpine rivers as society's lifelines


  • BOKU-IHG | University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management
  • ARPA VDA | Regional Agency for Environment Protection of the Aosta Valley
  • IzVRS | Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia
  • IRSTEA | French National Research Institute for Science & Technology for the Environment & Agriculture
  • CIPRA International | International Commission for the Protection of the Alps
  • ARPA Veneto | Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Prevention of Veneto
  • Upper Austria | Water Management Planning Upper Austria
  • SMRD | Joint venture of the public authorities of the river Drôme basin
  • PTE | Foundation Pro Terra Engadine (PTE)

University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Institute of Hydrobiology and Aquatic Ecosystem Management (IHG)

The key areas of applied research at BOKU-IHG deal with the functions, processes and services of aquatic ecosystems. An interdisciplinary team of scientists from the fields of biology, landscape ecology and planning and water- and environmental engineering addresses the challenges of restoration ecology and the protection and management of river ecosystems.

Competences of BOKU lie in the recognition of future problems and efforts to provide innovative problem solving. Particularly, BOKU-IHG has focused its applied research activities to support methods and tools for the implementation of EU Directives, contributing also to policy relevant guidance documents and regulations in national and international water administration.

BOKU-IHG is Lead Partner of SPARE, which includes the technical and financial management, coordination of project partners’ activities and supervision of the project’s content alignment. As experienced institution in the fields of conservation and restoration ecology and planning BOKU-IHG additionally leads a Work Package that aims on fostering innovative strategies for river protection and management.

Susanne Muhar, eMail
Sigrid Scheikl, eMail
Renate Polt, eMail
Kerstin Böck, eMail



Regional Agency for Environment Protection of the Aosta Valley

ARPAVDA is a technical and scientific institution working at the regional level as part of a national network. Our mission is environmental protection, and we cover a number of areas: air pollution, soil contamination, noise, waste management, chemicals and microbiological pollutants, ionizing and non-ionizing radiations, renewable energies and climate change effects. In particular, we are actively involved in integrated management of water resources through a monitoring network related to the EU water framework directive and laboratory analyses for river health assessment.

In SPARE, we will coordinate pilot case studies dealing with several environmental management areas such as hydropower projects and environmental planning, definition of river monitoring standards and the implementation of decision support systems.

Our special contribution to SPARE is problem solving, based on the effective use of monitoring data and applied research experience.

 Andrea Mammoliti Mochet, eMail


Institute for Water of the Republic of Slovenia (IzVRS)

IzVRS is an important research and advisory institution in integrated water planning and common European water policy in the Republic of Slovenia. It conducts in-depth and comprehensive research and offers professional support in water planning covering all types of surface waters and the sea. The Institute employs a multi-disciplinary group of scientists and experts with international experience who work in many important fields of research for comprehensive water and marine management. The Institute supports the Slovenian Government in the efficient management of water resources and in the implementation of common European water policy and international strategies and conventions. The main competences of IzVRS are: integrated water and marine management, sustainable water use, analysis of pressures and impacts on water, ecology and socio-economic analyses of water use.

As a project partner in SPARE, the institute is responsible for the identification and provision of integrated river ecosystem management practices (IRMP), for support to knowledge exchange and for the promotion of IRMP. The institute also works on the Slovenian Pilot Case Study of the Upper Soča Region.

mag. Sašo Šantl, eMail

French National Research Institute for Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture

IRSTEA is a national public scientific and technical institute, advising the French government and all policy-makers on environmental and agricultural issues, especially for water management. The research units involved work on land and river management, multi-level governance in mountain areas and public participation. This includes toolkits and methods for participatory water management, policy design, evaluation and education (e.g. the Wat-A-Game and COOPLAAGE toolkit, extended internationally). In SPARE, IRSTEA will lead the activities on participatory methods and provide a threefold expertise:

  • Provide robust and efficient participatory methods and support their implementation, monitoring and evaluation, for both internal needs of other SPARE work packages and all SPARE end-users; Provide key innovative tools: Self-assessment method, MyRiverKit and a River Action & Policy Support Service; Support all other partners with training and coaching.
  • Identify and provide methods and practices in integrated river management, focusing on land and water governance and group decision making methods, and including a deep analysis of the French experience.
  • Design, implement and support a unique pilot participatory process on the Drôme case study.

Nils Ferrand, eMail
Sabine Girard, eMail     
Emeline Hassenforder, eMail                                                                                                                                                                  


International Commission for the Protection of the Alps

Since 1952, CIPRA has been enabling communication, participation and collaboration across cultural, geographic, political, institutional and language divides, to achieve sustainable development in the Alps. As an umbrella organization for around 100 non-governmental and governmental institutions in the Alps, CIPRA acts as a hub for widely transferring and multiplying project results. In addition, CIPRA can bring project results into different bodies of the Alpine Convention and of the European strategy of the Alps.

CIPRA International is leading the communication within SPARE. This includes the implementation of international communication activities and the strategic support for communication activities of the other partners. In addition, CIPRA International is contributing to the contents of all other work packages by providing feedback and participating in events.

Robin Naumann, eMail                                                                                                                                                                        

The Government of the Principality of Liechtenstein provides financial support to CIPRA International for participation in the SPARE Project.


Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto

ARPAV è una Agenzia Regionale fondata nel 1996; opera in Veneto per la tutela, il controllo, il recupero dell’ambiente e per la prevenzione e promozione della salute collettiva. Le attività principali sono:

  • controllo dell'ambiente comprese le fonti di inquinamento (ad esempio, emissioni industriali, rifiuti, radiazioni);
  • monitoraggio dello stato dell'ambiente, in particolare della qualità dell'aria, dell'acqua e del suolo;
  • idrologia e monitoraggio delle acque (qualità, portata) sia interne che marino-costiere;
  • previsioni meteorologiche, climatologia, neve e valanghe;
  • allerta meteo per scopi di Protezione Civile.

Le principali attività di ARPAV nel progetto SPARE sono: a) comunicazione e informazione; b) analizzare e utilizzare metodi di gestione degli ecosistemi acquatici in grado di garantire un equilibrio tra le diverse esigenze (idroelettrico, irriguo, turistico, …) attraverso c) la sperimentazione di un approccio partecipativo tra tutti i portatori d’interesse (dalle istituzioni fino ai singoli cittadini); in particolare ARPAV supporterà l’ARPA Valle d’Aosta nel caso studio italiano (Dora Baltea).

Matteo Cesca, eMail

Office of the Upper Austrian Government / Water Management Planning Upper Austria

As a water management coordination body we contribute to the realisation of international and national water management targets such as the EU Water Framework Directive. Our main tasks are strategic planning and representation of water management interests in administrative procedures and vis-à-vis planners and stakeholders.

In recent years we have, among other things, prepared strategic plans for hydropower use at environmentally sound locations. In the 2012/2013 analysis of Upper Austria’s hydropower potential we have succeeded in harmonising utilisation and protection strategies. An estimate was made of hydropower expansion and increase potential which does not affect rivers negatively. River sections of special ecological value are to be protected.

We pay special attention to informing and involving the public. We look forward to exchanging experiences via SPARE and to trying out new forms of cross-border public information activities.

Mag. DI Stefan Schneiderbauer, eMail
DI Dr. Franz Überwimmer,  eMail

SMRD – joint venture of the public authorities of the river Drôme basin

SMRD is the authority for water management and integrated water resource preservation policy for the river Drôme basin. It leads a Local Water Commission (“CLE” in French), composed of three stakeholders’ groups (elected representatives of municipalities, public administrations and users’ representatives) and has drafted the river Drôme Water Development and Management Scheme (“SAGE” in French), a planning document with administrative and legal status.

In SPARE, SMRD intends to share 30 years of concerted water management experience (1st CLE and 1st SAGE in France) with the Alpine space partners.

Furthermore, thanks to the SPARE project, it will lead an experimental and innovative participatory approach with his French partner IRSTEA to assess how the range of participation could be extended outside the “CLE” to include all inhabitants of the catchment area. This is important because the updated “SAGE” targets the population. It is therefore important to get its input in producing a document which is more relevant to local issues, better understood and therefore more easily implemented.

Chrystel Fermond, Claire Eme, eMail   

Foundation Pro Terra Engadine (PTE)

The PTE is a cross-sector foundation which aims to maintain and promote the natural and cultural landscape and biodiversity in the Engadine valley. Through our involvement with many sectors we are able to include ecological connectivity into spatial planning, and this is one of our strengths. The PTE will take the role of a platform where scientists and local, regional and national stakeholders can discuss their projects and can also benefit from the network of knowledge in the region.

A water resource research project in Engadine under different climatic scenarios was concluded at the end of 2015. Following this study, the PTE began a participative process concerning the water resources in the region and aims to implement strategic planning approaches leading to an ecological balanced protection and use planning.

The PTE is participating in the SPARE project as a “pilot case study” to improve existing and soon-to-be developed approaches for innovative strategic planning instruments for Alpine riverine ecosystems.

Angelika Abderhalden, eMail; eMail2