Micro Catchments, Macro Effects

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This EU JRC-funded study examined the potential for natural retention in an upper catchment of the Rhine River as a nature-based solution for flood risks, drought control, biodiversity restoration and climate challenges.

It found that restoration of wetlands in the German Middle Mountains could reduce flood and drought risks and CO2 emissions in the international Rhine basin. This approach also has the potential to increase biodiversity, improve water quality and strengthen Europe’s green infrastructure. As such, it could contribute to multiple EU policies such as the Water and Floods Directives, European Green Deal and strategies on Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change, as well as national goals. Though the intervention involves a maximum of 2.7% of the Rhine basin, the effects are widespread because measures are taken literally at the source. This, added to the fact that implementation is relatively simple and takes place on marginal agricultural grasslands, leads to a positive societal benefit-cost ratio.