The nature outrage in the Oberallgäu Rappenalptal is now occupying the Kempten public prosecutor’s office. According to senior public prosecutor Sebastian Murer, the investigating authority has initiated preliminary investigations. The aim is therefore to clarify who exactly is responsible for the obviously illegal river construction measures in the former natural jewel. In addition, Environment Minister Thorsten Faithr (free voters) has announced that he will personally see the destruction in the protected area in the southernmost tip of Germany. “We take the case very seriously,” said Glauber’s spokesman. There are fines of up to 50,000 euros for illegal interventions in protected areas. The nature conservation association LBV had previously filed a criminal complaint against nature. “The Rappenalptal is classified as both a German and a European protected area,” says LBV Managing Director Helmut Beran. “The intervention has massively damaged parts of the creek for years, if not decades.”
Meanwhile, more and more details are emerging about the devastation that saw 1.6 kilometers of the heavily protected mountain stream straightened and channeled. The chairman of the alpine cooperative, a hotelier from the region, complained at the Oberstdorfer Viehscheid, where the cattle are driven down from the pastures into the valley, that the Rappenbach leads to too much gravel. At least that’s what a regional agricultural newspaper quoted him as saying at the end of September. This could fill up the Alpweg at the next flood. “Something has to be done here,” said the boss of the Älpler accordingly. The creek bed is already higher than the surrounding pastures. From the point of view of local environmentalists, these words are, so to speak, the announcement of the outrage on nature. For the Southgerman newspaper the man is still not available by phone or email.
Pastures flooded with gravel a meter high
According to the Oberallgäu District Office, the alpine pastures next to the Rappenalpbach were washed over with rock and gravel, some meters high, during torrential downpours in mid-August. In some places even the banks of the stream broke off. The damage should be “remedied by selective measures on four short sections of the creek,” according to the district authority. Such work is always necessary on mountain streams so that the paths and pastures along them can continue to be used. The measures were discussed “in detail” with the alpine farmers.
Apparently they disregarded the agreement. “The work that followed went far beyond the agreed measures,” says the district office. The Oberallgäu district administrator Indra Baier-Müller (free voters) had previously stated that they would never have been approved, and that their authority had not received a corresponding application. So far, the people of the Alps have not commented on the outrage against nature to the district office.
The Rappenalptal, which is a popular destination for day trippers, tourists and mountaineers, is one of the natural jewels of the Allgäu High Alps and is protected to the maximum under German and European law. It was a valuable habitat for rare insects such as the snaring cricket or the thyme ant blue, but also for special bird species such as the common sandpiper. According to the Federal Nature Conservation Agency, which made the destruction public, vast numbers of creatures, including fire salamanders, were killed directly during the dredging work.
At the same time, valuable gray alders on the east bank of the mountain stream were massively damaged. According to the first estimates, the straightening and channeling is not just a crime against nature. Instead, it increases the risk of flooding in the region. The reason: the speed of the discharge in the Rappenalpbach is massively increased, with cloudbursts the water masses now reach the valley much faster.