Living Lake 2023

Living Lake of the Year 2023:

Lake Geiseltal



The Global Nature Fund (GNF) and the Living Lakes Network Germany declare the Geiseltalsee in Saxony-Anhalt as "Living Lake of the Year 2023". The award is presented on the occasion of World Water Day on March 22 and is a recognition of the outstanding achievements in restoring nature and creating a species-rich environment at and in the lake: Within only 30 years, it has developed from a pit in the middle of a barren mining landscape to a natural gem with a unique flora and fauna.

© Tauchzentrum Geiseltalsee: Heiko Günzel


Nature conservation and sustainable use at Lake Geiseltal

Lake Geiseltal is a truly precious body of water, located in the middle of a once barren and inhospitable mining landscape. With its impressive dimensions of 1,840 hectares in area, 76 meters in depth and 423,000,000 cubic meters of water, it is not only one of the largest lakes in Germany, but also of exceptional quality.

But what makes this lake truly unique are the treasures it hides in its rich flora and fauna. Geiseltalsee is home to eight different species of stonewort algae, whose populations reach great depths due to the clarity of the water - a rare phenomenon in Germany.
In addition, a wide variety of aquatic insects and fish species can also be observed here. But that's not all - the lake also provides habitat for an incredible 240 bird species, including 108 breeding species and numerous migrants and winter visitors.
The sight of the conservation-worthy tundra goose, red-crested pochard, bee-eater and common tern will make your heart skip a beat. It is simply wonderful to see how these unique birds have found a new home here.
The surrounding landscape offers a diverse mosaic of habitats characterized by butte forests, loess escarpments, scrub, grasslands and fallows, raw soils and reed beds. This creates unique conditions for plants and birds in the newly created post-mining landscape.

In just 30 years, Lake Geiseltal has undergone an amazing transformation - from an abandoned mine to a place full of splendor, uniqueness, diversity and worthy of protection. It is an absolute joy to see how nature has reclaimed its place here.

© Silke Oldorff

© Silke Oldorff


© Tauchzentrum Geiseltalsee: Heiko Günzel


Challenges of a young habitat

Lake Geiseltal is not only a popular leisure destination, but also a true natural paradise. But to ensure that this remains the case in the future, potential threats must be identified, addressed and dealt with in good time. Despite its good quality and unique natural features, the lake is under increasing pressure, which particularly affects the protected areas. Increasing tourist use brings challenges, such as the disturbance of internationally important resting and breeding sites at the lake. To counteract this, a holistic approach to habitat maintenance and sustainable use is needed, as well as monitoring compliance with nature conservation regulations. Effective cooperation between those active on site from nature conservation, angling, boat rentals, tourism associations and the local population is essential for this. With the commitment of all involved, Lake Geiseltal can remain a place of recreation and unique nature in the future.

© Tauchzentrum Geiseltalsee: Heiko Günzel


Joint efforts for the Living Lake

The NABU Regionalverband Merseburg-Querfurt e.V. is working together with the towns of Mücheln and Braunsbedra, the representatives of diving and the Saalekreis to preserve the lake for the future. The association is planning a nature conservation project in the post-mining landscape of the Geiseltal, which promotes education and public relations work, disturbance-free nature experience and species and biotope protection. In addition, the association is committed to implementing the EU Birds Directive at the lake and regularly maintains breeding sites of bee-eaters and sand martins as well as breeding islands in the lake. The Geiseltal Diving Center has already trained 25 experts in nature conservation diving in cooperation with the Association of German Sports Divers and the NABU project "Diving for Nature Conservation". They carry out annual monitoring of the aquatic plants in order to document the further development of the lake. This enables scientists to recommend well-founded protection measures, such as restricting recreational activities in areas particularly worthy of protection or de-bushing on steep walls with sustainable use in the interests of nature. The lake thus remains experienceable for all users and beautiful in the long term.

"Protecting together and using carefully" - Common goals at Lake Geisel

  • We want to show all stakeholders how special the lake is nationwide and how important it is to preserve the lake in its current state. We will collect data about the flora and fauna above and below water, so that all users have a chance to protect the lake.
  • A balance between different uses will be found so that previous investments retain their value and the potential for cooperation and good lake management can be exploited.
  • Long-term efforts will preserve the unique landscape of the Geiseltalsee, despite the increasing pressure of use and natural changes in the environment.
  • Through joint efforts of local and national stakeholders, Lake Geiseltal can serve as a good example of how a new lake can maintain its quality and meet growing use demands with appropriate lake management and cooperation.




NABU Sachsen-Anhalt
Gerhart-Hauptmann-Straße 14

39108 Magdeburg



NABU Regionalverband Merseburg-Querfurt e.V.

Ackerweg 28

06130 Halle (Saale)


NABU Bundesfachausschuss Lebendige Seen

Fürstenberger Str. 6
16775 Stechlin



Landestauchsportverband Sachsen-Anhalt

Department of Environment and Nature Conservation

Tauchzentrum Geiseltal

Strandallee 1

06249 Mücheln OT Stöbnitz







The Wilo Foundation supports the work of the Living Lakes Network Germany as a sponsor. Its board member Evi Hoch explains the commitment: "We support projects around the world relating to water as a resource, including the initiatives of the Global Nature Fund. In our decision to support the Living Lakes Network Germany, we were particularly impressed by its sustainable approach. Here we support a long-standing cooperation of particularly committed and competent people who develop exemplary ideas for environmental and water protection. In doing so, they look at concrete ecosystems, but always have the big picture of a living and livable nature in mind."


Torben Johannesen, three-time world and European champion with the German eight, is also closely associated with the Living Lakes Germany network: "The sport of rowing depends on the water habitat. Good quality waters and their ecosystems are extremely important to us. So it makes sense that we, as Team Deutschland-Achter, are ambassadors for the proven environmental initiative 'Living Lakes Germany' and the commitment of the Global Nature Fund," says Johannesen.

 Deutschland Achter

For over 40 years, Deutsche Umwelthilfe has been working to preserve the natural foundations of life. Like no other organization in Germany, it combines the protection of the environment and consumers.

 Deutsche Umwelthilfe e.V.