The world's biggest river expedition started on the Danube this Wednesday. Over the next six weeks, an international team of scientists will travel approximately 2,400 kilometres downstream to the Black Sea. On their journey, the researchers will gather data on the water quality, flora and fauna. The Joint Danube Survey 3 was officially launched by the State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, Jürgen Becker, and the Bavarian Minister of the Environment and Public Health, Marcel Huber, in Regensburg today.
"Germany has been committed to supporting the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River from the beginning and will continue its support in the future. As home to the source of the Danube, we feel a particular responsibility for the protection of the Danube", said State Secretary Becker.
The Joint Danube Survey (JDS), organised by the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), is taking place this year for the third time, after JDS1 in 2001 and JDS2 in 2007. The expedition is supported by the Federal Environment Ministry, the European Union and other institutions. Bavaria provides a wide range of laboratory services and biological analyses to make the Survey a success. The goal is to collect valuable data according to internationally uniform standards, which will form the basis for the further implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive in the Danube river basin. The focus is on water quality, but the structure of the water body and its biodiversity will also be considered. During the last Joint Danube Survey in 2007, for example, the scientists discovered specimens of the Balon's ruffe.
The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River will compile all findings in a final report. In addition, various events will be held in the cities and towns on the Danube to inform citizens about the expedition.
The Bavarian Danube region is among the most biologically diverse areas in Europe. It is home to about 60 fish species, more than 400 different invertebrates, around 30 higher aquatic plants and 500 algae species. 11 fish species, such as the huchen, the Danube roach and the Balon's ruffe, only occur in the Danube.
On the expedition: www.danubesurvey.org