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Lech Digital


As recently as in the middle of the 20. century, the Lech was a wild river over long distances with a typical wild river-dynamic and respectively rich river fauna. In 1940 the Bawag was established in Munich, aiming at building power stations in the Lech. The plans survived the collapse of the so-called Third Reich and were implemented in the 1950s, widely in the original version, even though the newly establishing nature conservation protested massively.

The power that was obtained by the hydroelectric facilities from Bawag in the Lech was important for the reconstruction and the industrial development of the whole of South Bavaria. Many people at the Lech profited from the transformations. But there were also losers. The control structure resulted in a – on the German side – from Füssen to the Donau almost uninterrupted structuring of the landscape of the river. One can barely speak of a river anymore, as the Lech on the German side is rather a sequel of lakes, and also the fish fauna and the whole flora and fauna at the river have undergone radical changes. The original inhabitants of the river, e.g. the grayling or the common nase, were virtually expatriated from their ancestral habitat. Species, which are dependent on the dynamics of a wild river, disappeared.

The Lech is extensively walled-in. Meanwhile, on the side of Tirol the Natural park Tirol’s Lech was established in 2004, and existing control structures of the the river are being removed. At the very same river to opposed ways of utilization can be studied.

Against this background Prof. Dr. Sabine Timpf, Professor for Geoinformatics, Dr. Ulrich Hohoff, Director of the University Library of Augsburg, Dr. Jens Soentgen, Environmental Science Center (WZU) and Dr. Eberhard Pfeuffer, director of the “Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Schwaben” operate a digital GIS-supported map, which should be located on the server of the University library and which allows to visualize the substantial changes at the Lech with images and maps.

For this purpose images and maps of the Lech, which were recorded from the same points of view but from different times, were juxtaposed in opposition.

The project wants to create an archaeology of the landscape of the Lech, in particular the Bavarian part from Füssen to Augsburg. It is the aim of this project, by taking a synoptical glance into the past, to unleash imagination for the future. The normative force of the factual should be stirred.

Starting point, apart from the current and historical map material and historical paintings and drawings, is especially the digital photographic legacy from Heinz Fischer (1911-1991), which contains more than 900 black and white photographs from the years 1936-1957. Fischer’s collection of photos documents the original character of the river, from the mountains of the Lech source to the wetlands, near Augsburg. Many of those photographs were taken shortly before the destruction of the wild river, -- apparently with the intention to save some pictures of the “old Lech” for the future last minute. A selection of the picture appeared in the study “Der unverbaute Lech” (The “unspoilt” Lech). The views from then will be contrasted with the views of today, to show the extent of the changes.

The project is closely related to the lecture “Der Lech – Geschichte und Zukunft” (The Lech, History and Future), which was given in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Marita Krauss, Professor for Bavarian and Swabian Regional History, and Dr. Stefan Lindl in the summer semester 2012 at the University of Augsburg.

 

Project team: Prof. Dr. Sabine Timpf, Professor for Geoinformatics, Dr. Ulrich Hohoff, Director of the University Library of Augsburg, Dr. Jens Soentgen, Environmental Science Center (WZU) and Dr. Eberhard Pfeuffer, director of the “Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Schwaben”

Project start: Summer semester 2012