This paper will elaborate a policy analysis approach especially designed for habitat restoration. It will be illustrated by a case study example of a floodplain area along the Danube river, Hungary. The case study used hydrodynamic and water quality models and expertise from a range of disciplines. This made it possible to unravel the complex relations between the environment and human interventions. Crucial was the participation of local experts in the design and screening of measures, as well as the feedback from local interest groups at several occasions during the project. This resulted in the formulation of rehabilitation ideas, most of which have hitherto not been discussed. The combination of creative thinking with practical possibilities and limitations has been worked out in a cyclic process from which three different alternatives emerged. These have been analyzed for their feasibility with regard to the goals to be achieved, their costs and their impacts on other interests.

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