Integrated Management Plan Elbe Estuary
Topic of the practice
Implementation of the EU-Habitats Directive by setting up an integrated management plan for the Elbe Estaury
Good Practice Information
After designation of over 90% of the tidal Elbe's water surface and foreshore areas as Natura 2000 protected sites, the responsible nature and economy ministries of the German Lander Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony, together with the responsible Federal Administration of Navigation and Waterways and the Hamburg Port Authority initiated an open process to set up an integrated management plan for the Elbe Estuary which fosters the harmonisation of ecological and economic demands in this region. The process is coordinated by a ministerial steering committee (the partners mentioned above) and conducted by a small working group. Nevertheless all relevant stakeholders of the region have been involved from the start including farmers, fishery, hunters, industry, trade, archeology, spatial planning, nature protection (NGOs), tourism or recreational water sports.While the ministries set up the draft plan, partially by consultants, the stakeholders were asked to contribute
their demands in relation to the Natura 2000 objectives.These were discussed and then thoroughly weighed and analyzed for potential conflicts with the Natura 2000 plan's measures and objectives.This procedure leads to a plan that is not only binding directive to the involved Lander and the Federal Administration, but is also, though not legally binding, of greatest general acceptance amongst the involved stakeholders. The plan delivers a few hundred proposed measures and measure types, which, at the end of the process, in general are mutual agreement amongst the partners. The plan’s costs can hardly be named, as most of the work is done by ministerial partners or other public bodies. Costs for consultants exceed roughly EUR 200,000. All the stakeholders’ contributions were done on a voluntary basis.The plan will be finalized by summer 2011. Its stepwise implementation is foreseen as a continuation of the mutual process.
Evidence of success
The set up of the integrated management plan achieves more than just the implementation of the directives. Parallel to conflict-laden projects as the fairway deepening it has already created a new mutual regional basis of trust amongst the involved partners and stakeholders. Especially noticeable is the focus on synergies between economic and ecological aims. For example a holistic sediment management has been outlined that has the potential to benefit nature and navigation. This, in the end, contributes sustainably to a hundreds of thousands of jobs dependant on the lifeline Elbe Estuary within the metropolitan region of Hamburg.
Contact details to obtain further information on the practice
Dr. Boris Hochfeld
Hamburg Port Authority
Annex completed on: 03-01-2011