A significant contribution to the sustainable development of the biosphere reserve is made by federally funded large-scale conservation projects, some of which are ongoing, and some of which have already been completed.

The objective of the Middle Elbe large-scale nature conservation project was to develop a contiguous 9,000 ha network of genuine, floodable alluvial forests along 36 km of the Elbe from the Mulde to the Saale estuary.

A key component of the project was the relocation of a dike, in order to safeguard and recultivate the floodplain and improve flood control.

Another dike relocation project in the Lenzener Elbtalaue had beneficial social and economic effects during the 2013 floods, demonstrating the importance of floodplain renaturalisation, such as green infrastructure. According to calculations by the German Federal Institute of Hydrology (Bundesanstalt für Gewässerkunde – BfG), peak levels were reduced by as much as 50 cm in the dike relocation area, with positive impacts observed more than 20 km upstream.

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