Most rivers and streams in Europe have been regulated in the past. By this way the most biologically active parts of the landscape and ecological system, the habitat pattern and the species diversity fell victim to regulatory measures. Natural river design or engineering means giving an optimum consideration to natural conditions in order to conserve, improve or restore the ecological quality of river systems and its flood- plains.
The fundamental features of ecological improvement and restoration are discussed especially the ecological unit, variety of biotopesapproved to natural dynamics of the river system, individuality and continuity. Of great importance are detailed ecological inventory and great variation in channel plan, cross section and slope. The experiences with natural stabilization measures and the importance of vegetation as a regular element in river design are shown.
The planing procedures in Bavaria and the ecological and landscape issues are discussed. It has been shown that all available interests and knowledge must be integrated in the best way in an early stage of planning process. The success of natural river engineering works depends on a well balanced solution of all interests, specially trained personnel and enough space for natural variation of river.