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Upper Swabia Lakes

Hundreds of naturally formed lakes from the Würm Ice Age, artificially dammed ponds and a multitude of moors characterise the landscape of Upper Swabia. More than half of the approximately 4.500 standing water bodies in Baden-Württemberg are located in the Upper Swabian districts of Biberach, Ravensburg, Sigmaringen and Lake Constance.

What makes it special

The Upper Swabian ponds were mainly created by monasteries and noble houses in the High and Late Middle Ages (1.000 – 1.500 AD). They were used for fish farming, but were also utilised for many other purposes. The Upper Swabian lakes and ponds were Living Lakes of the Year 2018.

Protection status

· 68 FFH Areas
· 12 Bird Sanctuaries
· 33 Nature Reserves
· 39 Landscape Conservation Areas
· 6 Natural Monuments
· 1 Protected Green Area
· EU Natura 2000

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The lakes and ponds of Upper Swabia with their siltation areas are the habitat of numerous endangered animal and plant species. Waterfowl, fish, amphibians, insects, invertebrates and mammals find their habitat, feeding and breeding grounds here. Many kingfisher, European bitterling, common kingfisher, pygmy merganser call the place home, rooting sill, the three-man’s water lily, shining algae are characteristic plants


Since the middle of the 20th century, increasing pressure from human settlement and intensive agriculture led to extreme pollution of water bodies with nutrients and alluvial matter, resulting in eutrophication and siltation of many Upper Swabian still waters. These cause a strong growth of aquatic plants and algae and thus accelerate siltation. Further consequences are a decrease in biodiversity and the unfavourable development of fish stocks. The nutrients originate from wastewater disposal (especially rainwater overflows) and the fertilisation of steeply sloping, near-water or boggy areas.

Our Work

On the initiative of the Lake Constance-Upper Swabia Regional Association, the action programme was founded in 1989 to promote the restoration of Upper Swabian lakes. Initially, 33 lakes were included in the programme, which was coordinated by the Regional Council of Tübingen.


Since 2000, the programme has been coordinated by PRO REGIO OBERSCHWABEN GmbH. The Lakes Programme has been looking after over 100 lakes and ponds in the districts of Biberach, Lake Constance, Ravensburg and Sigmaringen since 1989. The aim is to improve the ecological condition of the lakes and ponds, slow down sedimentation and increase their recreational and leisure value.

Action programme for the restoration of Upper Swabian lakes

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