The Danube River Basin hosts a variety of fascinating, diverse and dynamic ecological territories with many unique plants and animals. The habitats created by the Danube and its tributaries house a mix of wildlife, with about 2,000 vascular plants and more than 5,000 animal species. These include:
- fast flowing mountain streams
- wide and slowly flowing lowland rivers
- large sand and gravel banks
- wetlands and floodplains
- wet meadows
- small and large lakes
- the dynamic Danube Delta
This ecological diversity makes the Danube, its small and large tributaries as well as its lakes unique and poses a special responsibility when managing the water.
The Danube and its tributaries host a variety of fascinating and diverse ecological territories with many unique plants and animals. The rich and unique biodiversity and riverine habitats have been under severe pressure due to human activities for centuries. However, today the protection of environment and biodiversity is on the political agenda of the different Danubian States.
The habitats created by the Danube and its tributaries host a unique mix of species. But many habitats are degraded by man-made changes to the river profile and width, water depth and flow velocity following the construction of dams, weirs and canals. Many migratory fish including sturgeon species and the Danube Salmon are endangered or close to extinction by being disconnected from their spawning grounds and habitats or by being over-exploited.
The key purpose of Joint Danube Surveys (JDS) is to produce reliable and comparable information on carefully selected elements of water quality for the length of the Danube River, including its major tributaries. Three Joint Danube Surveys have previously been conducted, in 2001, 2007, and 2013. The fourth of its kind, JDS4 was launhed in June 2019 at sampling sites in 13 countries across the Danube River Basin.