Goals of the IRIS project
IRIS pursues the following objectives for a period of 9 years:
Goal 1: Strategic planning for a coordinated implementation of the National River Basin Management Plan and Flood Risk Management Plan
GE-RM planning processes are carried out in seven IRIS pilot regions. The experience gained in the planning processes will be incorporated into the further development of the existing GE-RM guideline and into a nationwide strategy for future GE-RM implementation in Austria.
Goal 2: Development of coordinated action plans for the IRIS pilot regions
For each IRIS pilot region a cost-efficient and interdisciplinary coordinated concept of measures will be developed. The focus is on measures with added value for river ecology and flood protection. In many cases, local recreation and nature conservation also benefit from the action plans.
Goal 3: Planning and construction of selected morphological measures in the IRIS pilot regions
Once the concepts of measures are in place, integrative construction measures will be implemented in the IRIS pilot areas. The focus is on projects that contribute to both – the ecological objectives of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and to the improvement of flood protection. This can be measures such as widening of the riverbed in combination with the improvement of habitats. The concrete selection of measures takes place as part of the GE-RM planning processes.
Goal 4: New approaches for integrative monitoring
In addition to the usual monitoring of biological and abiotic quality elements, the IRIS project is also developing and testing methods that look into the socio-economic and socio-cultural effects of river restoration and ecosystem services.
Goal 5: Capacity Building
The GE-RM planning instrument will be applied throughout Austria in the future. Within the framework of the IRIS project, the necessary capacities will be developed at federal and provincial level. At regular networking meetings, the participating administrative organisations and sectors exchange information on various technical and organisational aspects of the GE-RM planning process. This creates a broad pool of experts for integrative river basin planning in Austria.
Goal 6: Public relations and awareness raising
The IRIS project aims to raise awareness that flood protection and river ecology do not have to contradict each other. The involvement of the public and interest groups in the planning process will increase the acceptance of the planning results and reduce possible conflicts during the implementation of measures in advance.
Project planning and structure
The IRIS project has a duration of 9 years and comprises 4 phases. The focus of the first phase, which will end in 2021, is the elaboration of the GE-RM concepts in the pilot regions. In project phases 2 (2022-2023) and 3 (2024-2025), the river engineering measures are planned in detail and implemented. In the final project phase 4 (2026-2027) the project results will be summarised and evaluated. Based on the experiences and findings from the IRIS project, the guidelines for the implementation of the planning instrument “River Development and Risk Management Concept” will be revised and recommendations for the future application of GE-RM planning in Austria will be derived.