Publications on River Restoration in Europe

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Policy and Economic Analysis of Floodplain Restoration in Europe

Emerging from the project ‘Wise Use of Floodplains – a demonstration of techniques to evaluate and plan floodplain restoration’, this paper presents the results of an analysis of all WWF river and floodplain restoration projects in Europe during the last ten years.  Major constraints and ‘lessons learned’ are summarized, and illustrated with case studies.


Description:

As its first contribution to the EU-funded project entitled ‘Wise Use of Floodplains – a demonstration of techniques to evaluate and plan floodplain restoration’, WWF undertook an analysis of all WWF river and floodplain restoration projects in Europe during the last ten years, resulting in publication of a report  summarising major constraints and ‘lessons learned’.

This paper builds on the results of that report and attempts to identify the principal policy and financial instruments influencing European floodplain restoration efforts, either negatively (‘obstacles’) or positively (‘opportunities’). The paper focuses mainly on the impact of EU policies, both within and beyond the territories of Member States.

The paper also includes summaries of case studies presented at a technical workshop held in Bratislava, Slovakia, in July 2000. The workshop concluded that whilst EU policies and financial instruments are amongst the most important underlying factors (or ‘driving forces’) affecting use of floodplains, the opportunities for restoration projects (and the ultimate success or failure of such projects) depend on a wide range of other variables.

This paper concludes with a series of recommendations focusing on maximising the opportunities (and minimising the obstacles) offered by existing policies and financial instruments but also calls for radical reform of EU agriculture and regional policies. It is only through such reform that the ‘driving forces’ behind floodplain loss and degradation can be reined in and replaced by ecologically and economically sustainable use, based on restoration and management of natural processes.

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