Privacy Policy

It is Open Rivers Programme’s policy to respect your privacy and comply with any applicable law and regulation regarding any personal information we may collect about you, including across our website,, and other sites we own and operate.

This policy is effective as of 20 September 2021 and was last updated on 20 September 2021.

Information We Collect

Information we collect includes both information you knowingly and actively provide us when using or participating in any of our services and promotions, and any information automatically sent by your devices in the course of accessing our products and services.

Log Data

When you visit our website, our servers may automatically log the standard data provided by your web browser. It may include your device’s Internet Protocol (IP) address, your browser type and version, the pages you visit, the time and date of your visit, the time spent on each page, other details about your visit, and technical details that occur in conjunction with any errors you may encounter.

Please be aware that while this information may not be personally identifying by itself, it may be possible to combine it with other data to personally identify individual persons.

Collection and Use of Information

We may collect personal information from you when you do any of the following on our website:

  • Contact us via email, social media, or on any similar technologies
  • When you mention us on social media

We may collect, hold, use, and disclose information for the following purposes, and personal information will not be further processed in a manner that is incompatible with these purposes:

Please be aware that we may combine information we collect about you with general information or research data we receive from other trusted sources.

Security of Your Personal Information

When we collect and process personal information, and while we retain this information, we will protect it within commercially acceptable means to prevent loss and theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use, or modification.

Although we will do our best to protect the personal information you provide to us, we advise that no method of electronic transmission or storage is 100% secure, and no one can guarantee absolute data security. We will comply with laws applicable to us in respect of any data breach.

You are responsible for selecting any password and its overall security strength, ensuring the security of your own information within the bounds of our services.

How Long We Keep Your Personal Information

We keep your personal information only for as long as we need to. This time period may depend on what we are using your information for, in accordance with this privacy policy. If your personal information is no longer required, we will delete it or make it anonymous by removing all details that identify you.

However, if necessary, we may retain your personal information for our compliance with a legal, accounting, or reporting obligation or for archiving purposes in the public interest, scientific, or historical research purposes or statistical purposes.

Children’s Privacy

We do not aim any of our products or services directly at children under the age of 13, and we do not collect personal information about children under 13.

If we receive personal information about you from a third party, we will protect it as set out in this privacy policy. If you are a third party providing personal information about somebody else, you represent and warrant that you have such person’s consent to provide the personal information to us.

If you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time. We will provide you with the ability to unsubscribe from our email-database or opt out of communications. Please be aware we may need to request specific information from you to help us confirm your identity.

If you believe that any information we hold about you is inaccurate, out of date, incomplete, irrelevant, or misleading, please contact us using the details provided in this privacy policy. We will take reasonable steps to correct any information found to be inaccurate, incomplete, misleading, or out of date.

If you believe that we have breached a relevant data protection law and wish to make a complaint, please contact us using the details below and provide us with full details of the alleged breach. We will promptly investigate your complaint and respond to you, in writing, setting out the outcome of our investigation and the steps we will take to deal with your complaint. You also have the right to contact a regulatory body or data protection authority in relation to your complaint.

Use of Cookies

We use “cookies” to collect information about you and your activity across our site. A cookie is a small piece of data that our website stores on your computer, and accesses each time you visit, so we can understand how you use our site. This helps us serve you content based on preferences you have specified.

Limits of Our Policy

Our website may link to external sites that are not operated by us. Please be aware that we have no control over the content and policies of those sites, and cannot accept responsibility or liability for their respective privacy practices.

Changes to This Policy

At our discretion, we may change our privacy policy to reflect updates to our organisation processes, current acceptable practices, or legislative or regulatory changes. If we decide to change this privacy policy, we will post the changes here at the same link by which you are accessing this privacy policy.

If required by law, we will get your permission or give you the opportunity to opt in to or opt out of, as applicable, any new uses of your personal information.

Contact Us

For any questions or concerns regarding your privacy, you may contact us using the following details:

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Frequently asked questions

We have pulled together a series of questions and answers that may be useful to applicants. If your question is not answered below or in our Information Guide for Applicants, please contact us.

What is a small dam?

The term ‘dam’ is used by the programme to refer to any man-made barrier that has been constructed transversely across a river to alter its flow and thus the transport of sediments or the movement of organisms. Examples include dams, weirs, culverts, fords, and sluices.

The programme generally refers to a small dam as one between 1 – 3 metres in height.

How long is a typical grant cycle?

A full grant cycle takes approximately nine months from the date of our call for new Expressions of Interest to receiving a grant award. A4 Dam removal (preparatory work previously funded by the programme) and Category C grants take approximately four months from the date of our call for Proposals.

Are countries or organisations outside of Europe eligible to apply?

The Open Rivers Programme supports projects within Greater Europe. For a list of those countries, please review our Information Guide for Applicants.

Can I apply for more than one grant?

We will accept multiple project applications from the same coordinating organisation.  Applicants should use one application for multiple barriers within the same catchment, as long as the project sites are at the same phase of work. If your projects are in several different catchments, you should submit a separate application for each catchment.

What is the difference between preparatory work and dam removal?

Preparatory work involves activities that are required before dam removal can begin. Some examples of preparatory work include feasibility studies, preparation of technical design documents, and securing permissions and permits.

Do you have a maximum grant value?

For most grants, we do not have a maximum permissible value although we apply a maximum cap of €100,000 for catchment development projects. We expect all projects to demonstrate value for money and will assess this during our review of applications. We will look carefully at your activities and the local context and assess the potential ecological impact of your project against the cost.

Can a public sector entity apply for a grant?

Yes, as of July 2023 a public entity may apply for a Category A3, “Dam removal” grant or Category B “Enabling others to remove dams” grant. However, the criteria for application are more restrictive than that for NGO applicants. Notably, a public entity applying as a lead partner for a Category A3 “Dam removal” grant must provide at least 50% of project costs i.e. the programme will contribute up to 50% of project costs. Please review the category A and B information guides for full eligibility criteria.

Public entities must demonstrate that the staff managing the grant have the relevant river restoration and dam removal experience to necessarily implement the project. Agency experience alone is not enough.

The intention of this change is for the programme to support the removal of small dams where it might not otherwise be possible to do so due to a lack of dam removal experience in the NGO community or lack of funding. Therefore, applicants must demonstrate a commitment to partnership, involving NGOs and stakeholders in the implementation of a selected project. Applicants must also describe the availability of public funding for river restoration and dam removal in the implementing country and demonstrate the need for resources provided by the open rivers programme.

Is it possible to apply for a grant from Open Rivers Programme if part of the proposed project is funded from a different source? 

Whilst it is not a mandatory requirement, we strongly welcome co-funding, and your application will be positively reviewed if co-funding is in place. We also strongly welcome applications seeking dam removal funding in locations that have other projects taking place with wider ecological benefits. You may also wish to source co-funding for activities in your project that are not supported by Open Rivers Programme e.g. post-dam removal restoration.

Are there any match funding requirements in projects supported by the programme?

There are no match funding requirements although projects that have sourced funding from other sources to support the dam removal process or for wider restoration measures in the catchment will be viewed favourably.

Is it possible for applicants to regrant funds for similar local initiatives?  

This is not possible. All funds released by the programme must be approved by the Open Rivers Programme.

Do all grants need to be completed within one year?

The expected grant duration is up to 12 months, give or take several months to capture the required field season, if appropriate. Depending on the project complexity, dam removal timelines can vary widely from inception to demolition. One year is intended to cover one phase of work (e.g. preparatory work or demolition), as determined by the applicant. The applicant should develop a clear project schedule with milestones and deliverables. For projects that require preparatory work before demolition can take place, the applicant is eligible to apply to the programme in successive grant cycles for the same project site i.e. first for preparatory work and then later for demolition.

For category C – enabling the European dam removal movement grants, the expected grant duration is up to three years.

A duration of 12 months means that the project must start immediately following grant award and will end 12 months later. Is it possible to postpone the start of the project, so the project will last 12 months, but the start and end will be later? 

Projects are selected based on the ease of which they can result in dam removal over short timescales and projects that take longer than 12 months to implement will be seen as less attractive to the programme at the time of application. Once live, all projects must be delivered within 12 months of grant award, and we are unlikely to agree to postponing the start or end date of a project unless there is an exceptional reason e.g. severe weather delayed demolition or permit approval took longer than expected.

Do we need to send in an expression of interest before applying for categories A or B, and do we need an expression of interest for every submission?  

Yes, you need to send in an expression of interest for categories A1, A2, A3, and B1. If you are submitting a project for an A4 dam removal (preparatory work previously funded by the programme) or for category C you only need to submit a Proposal. Our application portal makes this process easy as it will lead you in the right direction once you pick which category you are applying for.

What is the difference between categories A3 and A4? 

An A3 dam removal grant is for new projects that are ready for demolition and where the programme has not supported previous preparatory phases. An A4 dam removal grant supports demolition projects where preparatory work for the dam was previously supported by the programme. The reason for separating out the different grants is because the application process and questions differ. You will only need to submit a Proposal for an A4 grant, whereas A3 applications are required to first submit an Expression of Interest.

Regarding categories A2 preparatory work and A4 dam removal, can you apply for both A2 and A4 for the same barrier?  

If a dam is not yet ready for removal, an applicant is encouraged to apply for an A2 preparatory work grant first. After the applicant successfully finishes an A2 project (or has completed most of the necessary work), they are eligible to apply for dam removal funding under the A4 grant category for that same barrier.

For dam removal, should the first step be to obtain the support of local permitting agencies and communities? 

It depends on where you are in the stage of the project. The main steps to take to remove a barrier include:

  1. Identification of the most suitable barriers for removal – catchment development
  2. Preparing barriers for removal – this could include sourcing permits, preparing technical designs, carrying out feasibility studies and any other essential work to prepare for demolition.
  3. Demolition – full removal of the barrier.

You can find more detailed information on how to prepare projects on our website.

How do you assess ecological significance?

Please review our Information Guide for Applicants for more information on what the programme considers ecologically significant.

Which do we prioritise: a cluster of smaller dams or just one bigger one?

The programme focuses on the removal of small barriers that will maximise the potential for ecological gain, are achievable in short timeframes, are relatively low risk, stand out as unique and important and demonstrate value for money. Most importantly, the programme would like to support dam removals that open up large stretches of river, impact whole river basins and have a significant ecological impact. Carefully assess your project’s potential to fulfil each of these attributes. If there is the opportunity to remove multiple barriers in a catchment in a single proposal, that is strongly encouraged. Because the grant timeline is limited to approximately 12 months, it may be necessary to apply for removals in different applications over time. If a single removal is part of a holistic basin plan, please discuss the overall restoration goals in the proposal. If you have questions about how to apply for a project with multiple removals proposed over time, please contact us.

For further information please read Best practices for selecting barriers within European catchments

If I have more than one barrier that I would like to remove, how should I decide which one is more feasible / of higher importance?

Please see the guidance on our website for selecting barriers in catchments. In particular, section 5.3 may be of use. Overall, we are seeking projects that have appraised a whole catchment and selected barriers to be removed that will maximise the potential for ecological gain, are achievable in short timeframes, are relatively low risk, stand out as unique and important and demonstrate value for money.

If there are two rivers in one catchment, one small and one large, can these rivers be in one project? Or do I need to submit two applications? The rivers are far from one another.

You will need to submit one application per catchment so projects that consider two rivers in one catchment can be submitted as part of one application. Ideally, we welcome applications to prepare for and remove multiple dams within a catchment, rather than one isolated dam.

What criteria do you look for to assess is an NGO is financially sustainable/eligible? What documents will we need to provide to you? 

All applicants will need to send us accounts for the past three financial years. We wish to see that organisations have a steady income and can handle funds to the size of the grant that you are applying for. We also wish to see that organisations are not reliant on just one funder and have several different income streams. If you are looking to apply for a project and you are a new or recently formed NGO, we will wish to discuss your suitability prior to receiving your application.

For catchment development projects and barrier inventories, should we consider part of a catchment or the whole area?

A successful catchment development project will be at a scale that is feasible for the applicant to complete in one year. The programme would like to assess and remove as many barriers as possible, so larger and more ecologically significant catchments are welcome. Ultimately, the scale should be determined by the applicant, judging what is feasible given the specific conditions of the catchment of concern.

When applying for Category A and B, is there still funding available for the communication / advocacy around that project? 

Yes, owner and community engagement can be an important part of the dam removal process and is an eligible activity/cost under catchment development, preparatory, and dam removal grants. As a part of the application process, we ask that applicants provide a budget and schedule of activities. In this, you may list activities associated with involving the local community and public so long as it relates to the proposed project and is an essential requirement to enable the removal of the dam.

However, the primary objective of the project needs to be barrier removal. The work associated with it should be structured around getting permission and promoting the removal of the barriers that are part of that project. If your overall goal is communications and awareness raising, you may wish to consider applying for a category C grant.

Is a project seeking to remove an illegally built dam considered “controversial or risky”?

A project is generally considered to be controversial or risky if the dam in question does not have the support of local permitting agencies and communities and if the demolition of the dam could have adverse effects (for whatever reason) following removal. If you would like to discuss your specific case to assess if the programme would consider it to be feasible, please contact us.

Does the programme support project monitoring?

Simple baseline and post-project monitoring are eligible activities although applicants should consider that activities must be completed within the expected duration of the grant (i.e. one year). A more extensive monitoring programme is being explored and developed by the programme so that dam removal impacts can be better understood and communicated.

Can you explain more about the requirements for public liability insurance for projects, that is mentioned in the information guide? Is this only for dam removal? 

Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for incidents that occur in connection with your business activities, for example personal injuries or loss of or damage to property. As most projects (even catchment development) will have some kind of field component, we expect project implementers to be suitably insured. We would expect that most European NGOs will have public liability insurance already. We ask for all project implementers to hold public liability insurance. Full liability is with the implementing organisation and not Open Rivers Programme. Therefore, project implementers should carefully assess the risks associated with their project and ensure that appropriate insurance is in place.