River Spree – Germany, Flagship restoration measure

Re-meandering by blocking the former main stem and opening old oxbows


Several old oxbows have been dredged and reconnected on both sides of the main channel; at each site, the former main channel was blocked by a gravel dam to redirect all flow through the new meander; the remaining old main stem stretches serve as new flow protected habitats (new oxbows) and their depth  and width variability slightly improved by alternating sand bars.

  • Site name: Downstream Mönchwinkel
  • Typology: Mid-sized lowland river
  • Location: Start  52°22'56.13"N, 13°53'16.45"E, End  52°22'7.76"N, 13°48'9.02"E
  • Altitude: 37 m
  • Catchment area: 6,585 km² at the site; 10,105 km² at the mouth
  • Pressures:
    • Regulation by groynes (historic, >100 years)
    • straightening, embankments
    •  water abstraction
    • diffuse nutrient inputs
    • weirs up- and downstream
  • Measures:
    • Re-meandering and blocking the former main stem
  • Length of restoration: 5 km