Initiating the process of barrier identification in Türkiye

To date, no single barrier or dam has ever been taken down in Turkey, and the project intends to investigate the possibility of removing older structures in the Eastern Black Sea region.


The Eastern Black Sea Region and the Coruh Basin in Türkiye are part of the Caucasus ecoregion. The region is one of the 200 sensitive terrestrial ecoregions of the earth of particular importance in terms of biodiversity determined by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Conservation International evaluates it among the 36 hotspots of the earth with the most important and also the most threatened ecoregions.

The region is characterized by cliffs, coastal ecosystems, streams, agricultural areas, deciduous and deciduous forests, mixed high mountain forests, peatlands, high mountain meadows, and alpine lakes. Many rivers and streams have been dammed, but there are still tens of intact streams.

At a glance

Project typeBarrier identification and prioritisation
Project statusLive
RiverCoruh River Basin

Project context and opportunity

The current project intends to explore the possibilities of freeing up rivers in northeastern Türkiye. The project aims to suggest candidate rivers and catchments to trigger and guide the discussion. During a preliminary field visit in October 2022, and based on local knowledge, two areas were tentatively identified. Technical data on rivers and catchments is generally available and often of very good quality, whilst information on flora and fauna is sometimes hard to come by. There are active fisheries research departments at local universities, and some limited fieldwork may be required. Amongst them, the members of the core group of this project have the skills and the network to find and use all existing data or gather crucial bits themselves.

Project aims

The project aims to

  1. Carry out a limited survey (mainly desktop/GIS, complemented with field visits) to identify, list and prioritise suitable restorable stretches of Black Sea rivers in Türkiye;
  2. Establish a coalition of the willing (incl. central and local authorities such as State Hydraulic Works [DSI, at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry], local stakeholders, and NGOs) which will agree on the where what and how of the first stretch of river to be restored;
  3. Formalise the agreement for the first restoration and agree with partners on the next steps towards implementation.