LIFE DICCA - project description

Climate change is having a negative impact on the flora and fauna of the Danube Island and increasing the amount of upkeep required. The EU LIFE DICCA project is designed to counteract this trend.

Vienna is a major city with a number of valuable green spaces, including the Danube Island, the Lobau wetlands, the Prater park and the Vienna Woods. All of the above serve as local recreation areas for the Viennese people and as green corridors that help cool the city down. Nonetheless, without a strategy for adapting to climate change these ecosystems will come under increasing pressure.

With a length of 21 kilometres, the Danube Island is a valuable ecosystem and Vienna's largest waterside recreation area. However, climate change is afflicting the island's vegetation and wildlife.

The EU project LIFE DICCA will run for five years and aims to implement targeted measures to counteract the negative impacts of climate change. The acronym "DICCA" stands for "Danube Island Climate Change Adaptation".

Key data

  • Project title: Climate Change Adaptation of the Ecosystem Danube Island
  • Short project title: LIFE DICCA
  • Duration: September 2018 to September 2023
  • Budget: approximately EUR 2 million, around 50 per cent co-funded by the EU
  • Coordinator: City of Vienna, Municipal Department 45 - Water Management (MA 45)

Contact details

Project area

The project area comprises the entire Danube Island, which has an area of around four square kilometres, the immediately adjacent bodies of surface water and the connected groundwater system.

Project aims and measures

The aim of LIFE DICCA is to develop a strategy for adapting inner-city ecosystems to climate change using the Danube Island as an example. The planned measures are designed to help protect the Danube Island, firstly as an ecosystem and secondly as a local recreation area.

The following measures are envisaged:

  • Ecology and wildlife conservation
  • Sustainable maintenance measures
  • Climate-friendly irrigation system
  • Management of visitor flows

Project aims and measures


The LIFE DICCA project was developed by Municipal Department 45 - Water Management (MA 45) in partnership with external experts and submitted to the European Union for funding under the LIFE programme. LIFE DICCA receives funding under the auspices of the climate action sub-programme.

Alongside Municipal Department 45 - Water Management (MA 45), other municipal departments of the City of Vienna, municipal district councils, companies and local businesses are concerned with the use and upkeep of the Danube Island and are thus affected by the LIFE DICCA project.

It is also envisaged that the project will serve as a best practice model for other European cities. Collaboration with the cities of Ulm (Germany) and/or Nijmegen (Netherlands) is already planned.

Climate change and its impact on the Danube Island ecosystem

The Danube Island was artificially constructed as part of Vienna's flood defences, but quickly became popular with the Viennese population as a local recreation area. The northern and southern ends of the island are near natural in character. Oxbow lakes formed by the Danube, such as Toter Grund and Zinkerbachl, and newly created ponds provide habitats for amphibians, dragonflies and a number of different bird species.

Both native species and biodiversity in general are threatened by climate change. Invasive, non-native plant species are proliferating. Long heatwaves and extended periods of drought dry out meadows, woodland and ponds. This increases the costs and resources required for irrigation, upkeep and maintenance of the Danube Island. In addition, the higher temperatures are leading to more intensive use of the Danube Island as a leisure spot for the growing population as well as the increasing numbers of tourists visiting the city.

Climate change on the Danube Island, in Austria and worldwide

Logo of the LIFE+ Programme of the European Union

The LIFE DICCA project is funded under the LIFE Programme of the European Union.

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City of Vienna | Water Management
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