Innovative Ecological Assessment and Water Management Strategy for the Protection of Ecosystem Services in Alpine Lakes and Rivers


Inland waters are one of the most precious natural resources on Earth, but they are also highly endangered by human activities. To detect changes in inland waters, a regular monitoring is indispensable. Eco-AlpsWater improved the traditional monitoring approaches by using advanced DNA sequencing techniques such as metabarcoding. It makes use of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to analyse environmental DNA in waterbodies. This technique allows for rapid and improved species identification at low costs (e.g. fish or bacteria) as well as an automation in data processing, data storage and information retrieval. The method was tested and optimized in 37 lakes and 23 rivers, and the new findings and experiences were gathered in a toolbox shared with decision makers and water managers.


  • 2014 – 2020
  • Liveable
  • Enhance the protection, the conservation and the ecological connectivity of Alpine Space ecosystems
    • Group 6: To preserve and valorise natural resources, including water and cultural resources
  • 04/2018
  • 10/2021
  • 1.804.495 EUR
  • 1.447.667 EUR


Edmund Mach Foundation (Lead partner)
  • Lead partner
  • Italy
  • Provincia Autonoma di Trento
  • San Michele all'Adige
    University of Innsbruck
    • Austria
    • OberAustria
    • Mondsee
        Regional Agency for Environmental Protection and Prevention of Veneto
        • Italy
        • Veneto
        • Padova
            National Institute of Biology
            • Slovenia
            • Zahodna Slovenia
            • Ljubljana
                Slovenian Environment Agency
                • Slovenia
                • Zahodna Slovenia
                • Ljubljana
                    National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment
                    • France
                    • Rhône-Alpes
                    • Villeurbanne
                        Bavarian State Research Center for Agriculture
                        • Germany
                        • Oberbayern
                        • Starnberg
                            Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety
                            • Austria
                            • Wien
                            • Vienna
                                ltalian National lnstitute for Environment Protection and Research
                                • Italy
                                • Lazio
                                • Roma
                                    Bavarian Environment Agency
                                    • Germany
                                    • Oberbayern
                                    • Wielenbach
                                        FRENCH BIODIVERSITY AGENCY
                                        • France
                                        • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
                                        • Aix-en-Provence Cedex
                                            University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland
                                            • Switzerland
                                            • Ticino
                                            • Canobbio
                                                • 46.193535411.1339798
                                                • 47.8495732513.342094597238123
                                                • 45.403206611.8845538
                                                • 46.051076614.46985
                                                • 46.065384214.5129303
                                                • 45.77335734.8868454
                                                • 47.993806711.334663442187502
                                                • 48.21940116.35524
                                                • 41.893320312.4829321
                                                • 47.874358611.1588674
                                                • 43.52984245.4474738
                                                • 46.03279168.9637383


                                                • Protocols for freshwater eDNA

                                                  Complete protocols for freshwater eDNA sampling, extraction, library preparation etc.

                                                • Alpine waters and eDNA for general public understanding

                                                  Also complicated molecular biology with eDNA can be explained in understandable language.

                                                • Perspectives on eDNA monitoring in Alpine waters - for stakeholders

                                                  Exciting results, perspectives, guidelines and policy recommendations for eDNA monitoring in waters

                                                • Toolbox - how to use Eco-AlpsWater results

                                                  Eco-AlpsWater Toolbox for the implementation of innovative monitoring approaches

                                                • EAW Taxa Analysis Tool

                                                  There are various possibilities to compare and visualize traditional and eDNA results

                                                • Alpine Waters & eDNA

                                                  Brochure for wider public

                                                • Technical guidelines for eDNA monitoring in Alpine Waters

                                                  For stakeholders and end-users

                                                • Perspectives in eDNA monitoring in alpine waters

                                                  For stakeholders and decision-makers


                                                • In this folder, you can find the communication strategy on how to make Eco-AlpsWater successful, the project handbook, a list of all meetings that were organised during the project implementation and information about the project steering group meetings.
                                                • In this folder, you can find protocols for bioinformatic analyses of DNA reads, protocols for extraction, protocols for library preparation and protocols for sampling.

                                                • In this folder, you can find a wider survey at the Alpine Space regional level, a report on the decision maker meeting for mutual discussion and identification of innovative protocols, the identification of key lakes and rivers, the documentation of local meetings and recommendations for the tuning of approaches, a document on mutual awareness, learning and exchange of experiences and approaches in water quality assessment among project partners and a pan-European survey evaluating different ways to assess EU water ecological status, and downscaling to the Alpine Space region.
                                                • In this folder, you can find a report on results obtained in key lakes and additional lakes, a document on defining agreements and areas of collaboration, with roles of project partners, relationships with members, actions, and durability strategy, an evaluation of the Ecological Status of waterbodies by using traditional approaches complemented by innovative tools, a document on local stakeholder involvement and feedback, an overview on the role of each of the 12 project partners in the project, pilot actions plans, a report on results obtained in the six key lakes, a report on results obtained in the five key rivers, a set of indications and measures to improve basin management plans and a toolbox for the implementation of innovative monitoring approaches.
                                                • In this folder, you can find guidelines for digital accessing of data obtained during the project by stakeholders and citizens, a document on national meetings organized by government project partners, recommendations for the inclusion of innovative monitoring approaches in water quality assessment and management, recommendations to strengthen the dialogue between AS water management sectors, and adoption of new strategies at EU level and a document on scientific contributions in congresses/events, disseminating and discussing new tools. In addition, one main output is the EAW taxa analysis tool, which is available for use! There are various possibilities to compare and visualise traditional and eDNA results for taxa inventories in our lakes and rivers! If you wish to explore the data and analyses we have gathered so far, please contact the partners from your country ( and they will gladly discover the exiting finding for your country with you. The final output is version 9 with new functionalities (environmental data and all ASVs as real DNA sequences included).