The EU has acknowledged restoration of rivers and their floodplains as necessary during the last decades, and has thus already funded a number of isolated river restoration projects. However, to benefit most in the future from this knowledge and experience on river restoration there was a need for national organisations as well as an international network to collect and disseminate such information.
For this purpose the European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR) was established in 1995. In 1999 the official constitutional meeting of the ECRR was held in Silkeborg, Denmark, within a LIFE Environment project, that ensured funding during the 1999-2002 period. At the meeting, with 55 participants representing 22 European countries, a management board was set up and the first steps towards a European network on river restoration was taken.
For the first three years the secretariat was held by the National Environmental Research Institute (NERI, Denmark); then, for the following four years, by the Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RWS-RIZA, The Netherlands); from mid 2006 until the end of 2009 the Italian Centre for River Restoration (CIRF, Italy) hosted the secretariat.
As of the 1st of January 2010 untill 31 December 2014 the secretariat was hosted by DLG Governement Service for Land and Water Mnagement in the Netherlands and from then on the secretariat is supported by the ECRR Association.