River Pearl PLUS

Label River Pearl PLUS

Less than 4% of rivers and streams in Switzerland are still in their natural state. Our River Pearl PLUS label gives them the recognition they deserve.

The label also highlights the commitment of local people who are working to protect our last remaining natural water bodies. By acknowledging local interest groups in this way, we want to preserve the river pearls – now and in the future.

Certification with the River Pearl PLUS label

The certification process must be requested and initiated by local authorities or other interest groups. In principle, it is open to everyone.

The label is based on scientific criteria, along with jointly agreed voluntary measures, for five years at a time.

Two requirements must be met for River Pearl PLUS certification:


The water body is in a largely natural state.

For a watercourse section to be certified, the aquatic landscape must be intact. This means that it must provide habitat for native animals and plants.


Local people draw up a development plan.

All of the watercourse section’s relevant stakeholders come together. Jointly, they draw up a plan for the next five years, in order to protect the watercourse in the future as well.


The certification process is as follows:

  1. The local interest groups prepare an application dossier for the label
  2. The scientific advisory board of the association Gewässerperlen examines the application
  3. The label is awarded by the association Gewässerperlen
  4. A certification ceremony is held on site

Detailed information on certification:

Certification criteria for the label
Regulations for use of the label (in German)

Frequently asked questions

Why is the label River Pearl PLUS relevant for people?

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The label River Pearl PLUS offers its holders a broad range of added value.

  • It improves natural aquatic habitats and promotes biodiversity.
  • It increases the quality of life for residents and secures local recreational areas.
  • It creates a sense of local pride, common identification, joy.
  • It contributes towards the protection against natural hazards and to the safeguarding of drinking water.
  • It brings innovative creation of value to the region in nature-based tourism.
  • It supports the financing of specific measures.

Which water bodies are eligible for certification?

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The water body must largely be in a natural state. Examples of such water bodies can be found here in German, French or Italian.

What should be included in a River Pearl PLUS development plan?

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The development plan defines how the condition of the river pearl can be maintained and improved over the certification period of five years. This includes measures in the areas of awareness-raising, information, education, and research, but also concrete field measures to upgrade the watercourse and its surroundings – not only in the certified river stretch, but also upstream and downstream and on neighbouring streams.

Recertification after five years

The label not only aims at protecting and, if necessary, enhancing the labeled river stretch itself, but also to improve the ecological conditions of the entire watershed (upper course and lower reaches downstream, tributaries). The development plan includes the measures to fulfill these requirements. In the case of a recertification after five years, the certified stretch ideally is extended.

Revitalized river stretches may be certified as well. This creates an incentive enlarge the certified stretch.

Example of ecological improvements within the framework of the label River Pearl PLUS
Example of ecological improvements within the framework of the label River Pearl PLUS. Left: initial certification. Right: recertification after five years.