120-year-old obsolete dam removed in Ukraine to restore rivers in the Carpathian Mountains

August 8, 2022

Despite the war, critical conservation work continues in Ukraine with a WWF team successfully removing an obsolete dam in the Carpathian mountains, opening the river to migratory fish for the first time in 120 years. This was the first programme-supported dam removal to take place this summer.

The dismantling of the clogged and abandoned Bayurivka dam this summer has freed 27km of the Perkalaba river close to Ukraine’s western border with Romania – and removed the risk of the ancient barrier failing.

Reconnecting the river will allow fish such as endangered Danube salmon, brown trout and Ukrainian brook lamprey to return to their ancient spawning grounds, boosting their populations and supporting the return of predators such as brown bears, European mink and otters – to what could soon become a ‘biodiversity hotspot’ in the Carpathians.

WWF has now removed seven obsolete dams in Ukraine since 2020, opening up 530km of river – more than one-sixth of the overall goal of 3,000km of restored, free-flowing rivers in the country by 2030.

This latest removal in Ukraine shows the growing momentum behind dam removals in Europe. Last year saw a record 239 barriers removed in 17 countries across the continent, including three countries that dismantled their first dams – Montenegro, Portugal and Slovakia.

Open Rivers Programme and WWF full press release.

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