On February 23, 2021 the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries and the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection, hosted a workshop for German stakeholders entitled "Ecosystem services as a pathway to nature-based solutions for improving water quality in the Danube region". Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was held online via Zoom.
First, the 40 participating representatives from different sectors (water management, navigation, nature conservation, agriculture) and target groups (from local to national administrative, NGOs, researchers) were all brought up to the same level of knowledge by two presentations "From river source to river mouth - origin, input, and reduction of nutrients in the Danube" and "Ecosystem services as a pathway to nature-based solutions".
IDES project manager Barbara Stammel during the virtual stakeholder workshop, as it is common these days, alone in front of the screen, but jointly developing and sharing ideas online with more than 40 stakeholders from Germany and even Austria.
Small groups of up to eight people then discussed restoration measures to improve water quality and the application of the ecosystem services approach to planning and implementing restoration measures. The groups also collectively discussed the requirements for an ecosystem service-based assessment scheme for practitioners. Even on a virtual level discussion in these small breakout-sessions was intensive and fruitful, the pandemic nothwithstanding. Holding the event virtually may even have proved positive as the number of participants exceeded the expected number of a real meeting and participants from all over the country were able to join the workshop for 3 hours. The results were presented in the plenary session and then summarized.
The event provided many suggestions and ideas for the development of the planned ecosystem service-based assessment scheme (IDES tool), which will enable nature-based water quality management in the future. Some of the intensive exchanges during the event were continued by e-mail after the workshop. In summary, it was a very constructive event that will help us in the successful realization and implementation of the IDES Project.