This study analyses the potential of the Dutch river network to support viable populations of typical riverine species. The Dutch river network entails the river Rhine, Meuse, Waal and IJssel. In four ‘focal’ areas’ or hotspots cultivated land is being converted into more natural habitats or biotopes. The aim is to realise a robust river ecosystem with all its typical biotopes and its typical flora and fauna. Species were selected that are representative of terrestrial and aquatic, high- and low-dynamic river ecosystems (indicator species). Using the knowledge system LARCH it was evaluated whether, in the present configuration of habitat and for the predicted situation for 2050, viable populations can develop. LARCH quantifies the available habitat and evaluates the configuration of habitat for species. Selected indicator species are: Eurasian otter, Bittern, Common spadefoot, Black Stork, Arctosa cinerea or Northern bear spider, Great Reed Warbler, Bluethroat, Corncrake and Common barbel. The 2050 projection does not lead (yet) to viable populations of the indicator species. This projection [land division] was therefore optimized in order to achieve sustainability for most of the species. This resulted in a change in the share of different biotopes for each hotspot, whereby all indicator species can find their niche. For almost all species viable populations are possible with the changed distribution in biotopes. A range of other species groups, for which the species selected here are indicative, will also be able to find favourable conditions within the riverine network. An indication is also given for the potential contribution of the Water Framework Directive in relation to providing a positive framework for management, and how the proposed measures will contribute to the Natura 2000 targets.