Source: Environment Office

For two centuries, people have turned wild, vital rivers and streams into straight gutters. The aim was to drain, “dispose” of the water as quickly as possible.

The consequences:
  • Destruction of the previously species-rich communities of animals and plants. These, however, make a significant contribution to the self-purification of water bodies. The result is water bodies impoverished in terms of life and impaired in quality.
  • Straightening often goes hand in hand with a strong deepening of the waters, as the water drains off very quickly and literally digs into the subsoil. The flooding space available before straightening is lost. Heavy rainfall events thus repeatedly lead to flooding in cities.
  • Visual impoverishment of the landscape. Loss of local recreation.

It was not until the 1980s that it became clear and a change in attitude was made that straightening of watercourses was a major mistake. Since then, work has been underway to undo these mistakes of the past.

Source: Environment Office

In September 2019, the city of Donaueschingen redesigned the Wolfsbach (also known as Weiherbach) over a length of approx. 440 metres in a natural way.

The area lies northeast of Wolterdingen in the Weiherbach valley in the Gewann “Obere Wesen”.

The Wolfsbach has a straightened, unnaturally deepened, monotonous course in this area. The brook lies in the middle of largely wood-free grassland. The area with its species-rich meadows is under nature conservation.


Renaturation of the Wolfsbach completed after 4 weeks

The Wolfsbach, which was straightened in the 19th century, now has a natural, curved course again in large parts. Steep bumps are contrasted by flat sliding slopes. In future, the steep bank areas can provide a new habitat for kingfishers and wild bees.

Source: Environment Office

In numerous places in the stream, the Behringer company carrying out the work installed structures such as tree stumps or rows of piles. With the varied structures and meanders, different flow speeds are formed in the stream. This is a prerequisite for the settlement of many different micro-animal species such as brook flea crabs, caddisflies and stoneflies as well as numerous fish species.

Fish and beavers are already in the process of reclaiming their new habitat.

The species-rich meadows adjacent to the Wolfsbach, which are under conservation, will be preserved. The banks of the old Wolfsbach, which are currently still bare as a result of the construction work, and also the backfill stretches of the old Wolfsbach will be sown with meadow thrush from the adjacent meadows. But even in this way, nature is recovering very quickly and the banks will soon be well overgrown again.

With its new appearance, the Wolfsbach as a whole can now also be experienced by humans.


There is also a series of videos about the renaturation of the Wolfsbach from the Youtuber Murat (in German):

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