Just a few meters south of the ferry road near Plittersdorf hides a natural paradise. Butterflies cross the path, swans build nests for breeding in the shallow waters, and it chirps and croaks from all directions. The "Baden jungle," as the Rastatt Rhine floodplain forest is also called, shows itself here in all its diversity.
The nature reserve not only provides habitat for plants and animals. It also serves as a floodplain during floods. But for many decades now, the floodplains have been increasingly silting up. This is because fine soil material is transported into the floodplain with every flood. This remains, even when the water has long since run off. It leads to a slow and steady rise of the floodplain.
This also affects the widely branched network of water channels, the so-called sluices, which are typical of the floodplain. If the deposited material is not removed again during the next flood, sections of these channels silting up. A formerly continuous watercourse then becomes individual, isolated smaller pools, which at some point threaten to disappear completely.
To counteract this problem and preserve the species richness in the floodplain forest, the city of Rastatt, together with the Institute for Landscape Ecology in Bühl, deepened a watercourse in the area between the Rhine and the Plittersdorfer Altrhein in spring 2023.
Three still existing shallow waters were reconnected by a 730-meter-long low-water channel. As a result of this measure, the sediment-rich floodwater can now flow more quickly into the Altrhein. Siltation of the watercourse is reduced.
The deepening of the Schlute is part of the German-French project to restore the Rhine promenade in Plittersdorf. The cost of the nature conservation measure is around 200,000 euros and 50 percent is financed by Interreg, a joint initiative of the European Regional Development Fund. The remaining costs are shared by the city of Rastatt and the Karlsruhe Regional Council.