Green Infrastructure


Ecological network in Duna Dráva and Kopacki Rit National Parks

Pilot project, Hungary and Croatia


The aim of this project was to promote the implementation of the Ecological Network on a pan-European scale (PEEN), through projects and coordinated actions with the Council of Europe and the Joint Secretariat of the Committee of Experts on PEEN. It further aimed to harmonize the development of PEEN with the targets set at the Kyiv Conference and within the context of the Bern and other relevant Conventions, and to create synergy between PEEN and the other initiatives promoting the ecological network concept (including the global ecological network), in the context of the PEBLDS or the European Commission programme.

The long-term transfrontier project goals of the overall project were to design and establish a joint transfrontier ecological network and management regime for the pilot area; to ensure and enhance the protection of the Kopacki Rit and Beda-Karapancsa wetlands, with special reference to endangered and threatened species and their habitats; to ensure the protection and enhance the wetland functions and values of the Kopacki Rit and Beda-Karapancsa wetlands; and to protect and enhance the natural river dynamics of the Danube River within the pilot area.

Time frame

The project ran from January 2003 to December 2005.


ECNC was responsible for overall coordination, budgetary control, monitoring of progress and reporting. The Danube-Dráva National Park Directorate was responsible for project implementation in Hungary. Hungarian experts were subcontracted for specific tasks related to the preparation of bird-ringing station design and restoration works. Kopacki Rit Nature Park Management office was responsible for the project implementation in Croatia. Experts from Croatia were subcontracted for specific tasks related to the preparation of hydrological studies and restoration works.


The pilot project was funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.


The main project outputs were:

  • Restoration works were carried out in both parks. In Duna Dr?va National Park more open water surfaces were created by excavation, a water monitoring system was established, and a lead canal and several nesting islets were created during phase II. In Kopacki Rit Nature Park the two man-made barriers obstructing the adequate flow of water on the Vemeljski dunavac channel were removed, resulting in significant improvement of the natural functioning of an important part of KRNP, favouring various species, including waterfowl and fish migration.
  • In Duna-Dr?va National Park at the Riha Lake site a water-level monitoring system was established.
  • Data collection was carried out through field surveys, in order to further develop the database and to keep it up to date. All collected data were included in the existing joint bilateral information database, to which both National Park authorities have access. The database facilitates the development of a common management regime for the entire project area.
  • A multimedia CD-ROM was compiled. This is an effective communication tool, demonstrating the results of the project by providing information about the natural values of the areas, their ecological functioning, the problems that occurred, and the project interventions focusing on improving ecological functioning and connectivity.
  • On 20 and 21 October 2005 a European Workshop was was held in Bilje, Croatia. The workshop was attended by 30 participants, mainly from stakeholders in the regions in which the two parks are situated, but also from a number of bordering countries and regions. The outcomes of the pilot field project were presented and discussed, and experience was shared with experts representing the countries involved in the project as well as several experts from neighbouring countries. Field visits were organized to the restoration sites in both Hungary and Croatia. The workshop resulted in stocktaking of the project results, exchange of experiences between all relevant stakeholders and full consensus on the relevance of cross-border cooperation, the involvement of local people, and the importance of building partnerships between the parks, land-use sectors, municipalities and regional authorities, and between the national governments sharing cross-border ecosystems such as DDNP and KRNP.