The European Open Rivers Programme was officially launched on 8th October 2021

October 8, 2021

The Open Rivers Programme is excited to officially launch on 8th October 2021, thanks to a €42.5 million grant over six years from Arcadia. Arcadia is a charitable foundation that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge.

European rivers are the most fragmented in the world which has led to the loss of many species and habitats. One of the biggest causes of river fragmentation is the presence of man-made barriers to river flow.

Dam removal is a relatively cost effective and quick solution to restoring river continuity. This in turn can improve water quality, restore the diversity and abundance of life in rivers and their surrounding habitats  and increase habitat connectivity and resilience.

With over one million barriers in European rivers, there is a need to prioritise those that are are removed. The programme’s focus will be to support organisations and communities working to restore rivers by funding dam removal projects that have the greatest possible impact on restoring river ecosystems.

The Open Rivers Programme will offer grants to:

  1. Support the removal of small dams in rivers.
  2. Support essential preparatory work that will result in a dam removal.
  3. Support the dam removal movement so that dam removal becomes more widely accepted and implemented in order to restore more rivers across Europe.

The programme will offer its first grants in February 2022 by supporting a selection of “ready to go” dam removal projects that have been identified during its preparatory phase. It will also release a new call for Expressions of Interest on 19th November 2021, with projects due to start from May 2022.

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