Let it flow – Remove barriers, restore river ecosystems

Webinar on the challenges for the EU nature restoration plan!

Our rivers are in a bad state. According to the latest EEA’s State of the Water (https://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/state-of-water), only 44% are in a good or high ecological state. Apart from chemical pollution (airborne or from waste water) or through nutrient deposition (from agriculture), built alterations are one of the heaviest pressures for these important ecosystems.

These barriers – such as dams, weirs, ramps, fords and culverts – have a terrible impact on rivers, affecting river health, the quality and availability of water, and blocking longitudinal connectivity therefore threatening the survival of vulnerable species.

Last year the EU Horizon 2020 project Adaptive Management of Barriers in European Rivers (AMBER) has shown (after walking 2,700 km of streams in 28 countries) that there are more than 1 million barriers in our rivers, with 10% of them being obsolete.

If we want to achieve the 25,000 km goal of free flowing rivers, we have to tackle these barriers. The upcoming nature restoration plan (4th quarter 2021) will present an opportunity to change things to the better!

When we talk about barriers in our rivers we also must talk about hydropower, especially small installations. We are currently racing against time to reduce our emissions and fight the climate crisis, but we should not turn a blind eye towards the biodiversity crisis. Hydropower can have detrimental effects on the ecosystem of rivers and therefore we would like to discuss this trade-off

Here you can rewatch our discussion about the state of our rivers and how to restore them:


Our panellists and their presentations :

Hosted by MEPs Jutta Paulus & Eleonora Evi

River plan:

At the end of the conference, we presented our green demands for a future restoration and protection of our rivers which is now open to public consultation.

We want to hear your opinion!

You can find our draft here: Let it flow-Paper

Please send us your comments to jutta.paulus@europarl.europa.eu and eleonora.evi@europarl.europa.eu