Open Rivers Programme supports 15 new projects across Europe

April 29, 2024

The Open Rivers Programme, committed to restoring the ecological vitality of rivers across Europe, is proud to announce its support for 15 new projects across five countries, including Greece and Belgium, as it broadens its impact. These initiatives mark significant progress in dismantling barriers and revitalising essential river ecosystems. Notably, within the demolition projects, support will be provided for removing 14 dams, opening up 335 kilometres of rivers. These endeavours underscore the programme’s dedication to enhancing river connectivity and advocating for barrier removals to foster ecological health and habitat restoration.

In Finland, the Holstenkoski dam removal project, led by The Regional Council of Southwest Finland, aims to restore the ecological integrity of the Aneriojoki River by eliminating barriers and enhancing habitat quality, contributing to the Natura 2000 network. Similarly, in Spain, removing a dam in the Ega River headwaters promises crucial genetic exchange and spawning area access for key fish species, aligning with broader conservation strategies.

Ukraine’s Danube-Carpathian Programme is undertaking a monumental task of removing three barriers in the Upper Tisza catchment, rejuvenating extensive river lengths and facilitating the migration of various aquatic species. Meanwhile, in Sweden, the Rewilding Sweden initiative is preparing to remove four barriers, aiming to enhance hydrological and ecological connectivity for diverse species.

Exciting developments are also underway in Portugal, where the removal of the Foz Côa Cofferdams is set to bring about numerous cultural and ecological benefits, including increased water quality and the restoration of vital migration routes.

Belgium’s Contrat de Rivière Semois-Chiers is embarking on a significant pre-demolition effort for six upstream barriers along the Semois River, marking the country’s largest dam removal project to date. In Greece, the Mediterranean Institute for Nature and Anthropos is identifying and prioritising barriers in the Sarantaporos sub-basin, contributing to the restoration of Aoos/Vjosa, Europe’s longest free-flowing river.

Learn more about each of the projects.

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