The National Park Society
The administration of the Donau-Auen National Parks is incumbent on the "Nationalpark Donau-Auen GmbH", a non-profit organisation formed by the Austrian federation and the provinces of Vienna and Lower Austria. Its managing director is the National Park Director, who sits in the regular general assemblies with the organisation's representatives from the federation and the provinces. Staff employed by the organisation is responsible for a variety of tasks in three main areas: organisation; visitors and region; and science and nature.
The specially-trained national park visitor assistants are engaged above all in educational activities. They accompany guided national park tours, excursion days and/or weeks, and head up school projects. Above and beyond, they are also involved in presentations and events. Some of them have also been sworn in as wardens and support the national park forest management on the grounds of the park. In total, there are approximately 30 trained assistants employed by the national park; they are hired on a freelance basis and receive their assignments from the organisation.
The ÖBf Operations in the Donau-Auen National Park at Eckartsau, and the Lobau National Park Administration, City of Vienna Municipal Department 49 (Forestry Office and Urban Agriculture) are units of the national park administration and as such are responsible for carrying out management activities as ÖBf and City of Vienna on the areas of the national park owned by the federation. Jointly with the national park director, the heads of Eckartsau and Lobau forest managements form the management board. The management board holds regular sessions in which yearly programmes, projects and activities are agreed upon.
The national park administration is obliged to carry out its tasks in accordance to a management plan. The management plan for the Donau-Auen National Park is a federal states cross-border strategic document for a planning period of 10 years (2019-2028) and covers the entire range of tasks of the national park management.
The management plan has been valid for Lower Austria since the beginning of 2019, for the Viennese part of the National Park the legislative process was completed by summer 2019. Game regulation and fisheries will continue to be regulated in the province of Vienna with separate ordinances, the Hunting and Fisheries Management Plans.
The Advisory Boards
Lower Austrian National Park Advisory Board
For the safeguarding of its regional interests, the province of Lower Austria anchored an own committee in the National Park Law. For issues involving hunting and fisheries, boards were established. Members of the Lower Austrian National Park Advisory Board are appointed for a period of six years by the provincial government. The make-up of members is as follows: one representative from each national park municipality; two members from the group of land owners directly affected by national parks and who are to be named by the Lower Austrian Provincial Agricultural Chamber; two representatives from the Lower Austrian provincial hunting association; two representatives from the Lower Austrian provincial fisheries association; one representative from the Lower Austrian Chamber of Commerce; and five representatives from important nationally known conservation and environmental groups active in Lower Austria.
Vienna National Park Advisory Board
In order to advise the national park administration on fundamental issues the city of Vienna has anchored an own committee in the Vienna National Park Law. Task forces were formed for fishing, public relations and visitor management. Members of the advisory board are appointed for a period of six years by the provincial government. The National Park Advisory Board is composed of the following: one representative each from the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, the Vienna Agricultural Chamber, and the Vienna AK (labour representative organisation); one representative each from the Vienna provincial hunting association and the Vienna fisheries board; and five representatives from important nationally known conservation and environmental groups active in Vienna.
Local Advisory Boards
The Lower Austrian National Park Law allows for the creation of local advisory boards to enable participation of the individual national park municipalities. Members should be representatives of the community, land owners and/or beneficial owners, as well as representatives of national park administration. Recommendations having to do with locally relevant matters and those which involve the national park should be turned over to the Lower Austrian National Park Advisory Board or the national park administration.
The most urgent issues - with varying levels of intensity - have had to do with hunting, fishing, recreational use and the trail network. Some local advisory boards have established task forces or have the capability to do so; following the creation of the Lower Austrian management plan, some have discontinued their activities. There is still a local advisory board in Orth on the Danube, for example.
Scientific Advisory Board
A Scientific Advisory Board has been established to provide expert advice to the national park administration. The board consists of a chairperson, a deputy chair and a maximum of fourteen additional members. Experts from the fields of zoology, botany, limnology, agriculture, forestry, urban planning, landscape architecture, and water management are appointed and dismissed at the recommendation of the Nationalpark Donau-Auen GmbH. Members may serve a maximum of three years, whereby a re-appointment is possible. As in all national park advisory boards, members act as volunteers and are not paid for their work. For special issues (such as terrestrial or aquatic ecology, river engineering, monitoring, visitor management etc.) task forces have been established.