The first reflections on applying for a so-called "Integrated LIFE Project (IP)" within the LIFE program were discussed between the Hessian Ministry of the Environment (HMUKLV), the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of the Environment (MUEEF), the Federal Ministry of Transport and Innovation (BMVI) and the Federal Waterway and Shipping Administration in spring 2014. With the new funding scheme of Integrated Projects the EU Commission intends to support projects that promote the implementation of important European environmental directives within a large-scale area. The Integrated Projects are in particular suitable for actions concerning the Water Framework Directive, the Waste and Air Pollution Directives and the Birds and Habitats Directive (Natura 2000). Further criteria for funding are a high degree of transferability to other regions of Europe, as well as an integrated approach getting other sectors on board. In case of the LIFE-IP "Living Lahn", the sectors involved are maritime transport, agriculture, energy producers and tourism, as well as all neighboring municipalities. In addition to the above mentioned partners who had developed the idea of the project, the two regional implementation partners, Governmental Authority of Gießen (Regierungspräsidium Gießen) for Hessen and the Structure and Approval Directorate (SGD) for Rhineland-Palatinate, joined, as well.
The project was applied for and evaluated in a two-step procedure: the "Concept Note" was submitted to the EU Commission in October 2014, and the full application was submitted on April 15th, 2015. It was evaluated by the EU Commission leading to a grant agreement in June 2015, which was linked to the revision and clarification of the application in a 5-month process. Finally, in November 2015, the final approval for the project application, followed by the contractual agreement for the promotion of the project Living Lahn" in December 2015.