Riverscape – Sediment Dynamics and Connectivity

From very wet to very dry – near-natural river ecosystems are much more than just water: they form a corridor that includes gravel banks, floodplain forests and ponds. Rivers thus belong to the most diverse ecosystems on earth. In English, a specific term was created for this purpose: "riverscapes" - in demarcation and analogy to landscape. One reason for the diversity is spatial and temporal dynamics. Floods destroy and create habitats; for example, by causing sediment rearrangement. Animals and plants have adapted to the dynamics and are often even dependent on it. Many streams have lost their dynamics through channelization and regulation. Re-initiating riverine dynamics is a complex task, especially in a heavily exploited country like Switzerland.

In the research project "Riverscapes - Sediment Dynamics and Connectivity", the topic of the previous program phase - sediments and sediment dynamics - is further deepened and extended due to its timeliness and urgency, always with regard to hydraulic engineering as well as ecological aspects. A special focus is on connectivity. The project concentrates on two main aspects:


  1. Sediment transport: importance in terms of safety and ecology, especially in medium-sized rivers
  2. River corridor: Optimal design, use and maintenance in terms of safety and ecology.

Project leaders' team
Anna Belser (FOEN, project coordination)
Giovanni de Cesare (LCH)
Christoph Scheidegger (WSL)
David Vetsch (VAW)
Christine Weber (Eawag)

Advisory group
Cantonal authorities: Norbert Kräuchi (AG), Christian Marti (ZH), Vinzenz Maurer (BE), Erik Olbrecht (GR), Pascale Ribordy (FR), Thomas Stucki (AG)
Other institutions: Lukas Hunzinger (Flussbau AG SAH), Benjamin Leimgruber (AquaViva), Tamara Ghilardi (CSD Ingenieurs SA), Roger Pfammatter (SWV), Sandro Ritler (Holinger AG)

Steering board
FOEN: Rémy Estoppey, Susanne Haertel-Borer, Andreas Knutti, Carlo Scapozza
Research institutions: Robert Boes (VAW), Christoph Hegg (WSL), Giovanni de Cesare (LCH), Johny Wüest (Eawag)

Expert consulting FOEN
Diego Dagani, Katharina Edmaier, Lorenzo Gorla, Thomas Gregor, Christian Holzgang, Stephan Lussi, Antoine Magnollay, Manuel Nitsche, Martin Pfaundler, Adrian Schertenleib.

Letzte Änderung: 20.11.2020

Project phase

2017-2021

Overview article on the content and structure of the project for download