Publications on River Restoration in Europe

This page gathers the most interesting case studies, best practices and other relevant studies on River Restoration in Europe. Feel free to download the publications and share them among your network.

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RESTORE final report

The RESTORE project ran between 2010 and 2013. It launched with six European partners working to share and promote information on the best and most effective means of carrying out river restoration in Europe.

The overall mission of RESTORE was to: encourage the restoration of European rivers towards a more natural state. This delivers increased ecological quality, flood risk reduction, and social & economic benefits.


Why restore our Rivers?

Human society and development have dramatically changed the way land is used. Rivers have been straightened and culverted to make maximum use of land for housing, industry, infrastructure and agriculture. These changes have often created problems related to flood management, drainage, waste, wildlife and a lack of good recreational space.

But it is possible to halt the damage being done to the water environment and bring rivers back to life. River restoration can act as a catalyst to transform cities, towns and

rural landscapes into truly living environments, helping to re-establish connections between rivers and communities and helping people see the benefits that rivers provide.

With vision and skill degraded rivers can be transformed from polluted, lifeless, concrete channels into vibrant ecosystems providing people and the environment with water, food, wildlife, energy, transport, recreational space, riparian forests, natural floodplains, purification systems and even ways of combating the impacts of climate change.

The activities of RESTORE have helped share this approach to river restoration. The project aimed; to bring people together by establishing networks through its website, events and conferences; to identify the barriers and opportunities for river restoration and; to give professionals the information they needed to restore rivers and, in doing so, achieve a variety of environmental, economic and social objectives.

Research carried out prior to RESTORE had shown that the main problem faced by river restoration professionals is often not a lack of expertise but a lack of access to shared experiences and knowledge. To address this issue RESTORE worked to share and promote information on the best and most effective means of carrying out river restoration in Europe.

RESTORE’s legacy will continue to deliver knowledge and broaden networks in order to increase the practice and implementation of river restoration in Europe.

Project Objectives

RESTORE actions can be split across four objectives:

Support river restoration practices across Europe

Build up existing river restoration network capacity

Promote effective river restoration knowledge transfer

Establish long term river restoration knowledge sharing

RESTORE’s Key message was to share knowledge and promote best practice on river restoration. The partnership encouraged the restoration of European rivers towards a more natural state for increased ecological quality, flood risk reduction, and social and economic benefits.

We explained and raised awareness of good practice river restoration and how it can:

meet the targets of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Birds and Habitats Directives.

mitigate the impacts of hydropower in line with the EU Renewable Energy Sources Directive.

contribute to wider economic and environmental benefits and ecosystem goods and services .

mitigate against the effects of climate change on river habitats.

The delivery of RESTORE was managed by the Environment Agency as co-ordinating beneficiary. We split our work into different regions across Europe. The River Restoration Centre (RRC) led for Western Region. SYKE (Finnish Environment Institute) led the Northern European countries. Centro Italiano per la Riqualificazione Fluviale (CIRF) coordinated work across Southern Europe. Dienst landelijk Gebied (DLG) were the information manager and subcontracted RESTORE work across Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Additionally, Wetlands International provided communication expertise to the project and managed the RESTORE website.

The European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR) has acted as an advisor to the project. The organisations involved in this network came up with the idea for RESTORE and will continue to play an important role in RESTORE’s after LIFE+ plan. The ECRR chair Bart Fokkens provided an advisory role at a number of our board meeting and at key monthly teleconferences. RESTORE has ensured continuity through cooperation with the ECRR. The ECRR is a European network consisting of national centres and individual members bound by their mission to enhance and promote river restoration throughout Europe. From January 2014 ECRR has taken over hosting the RESTORE website and the RiverWiki is now managed by the River Restoration Centre on behalf of the ECRR. The ECRR secretariat sits in DLG until the end of this year. They are planning to establish the ECRR formally as association in June.

The ECRR membership was approached last year to support the RiverWiki within their own countries. The RESTORE website is now being managed through ECRR. This will ensure that there is up to date information alongside the information on the RESTORE project.


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