Cover image: Hučava Weir, Slovakia © Rob Kleinjans
Scaling up dam removal: implementation plan for Southeastern Europe
Open Rivers Programme supports new project to accelerate dam removal in Southeastern Europe“Scaling up dam removal: implementation plan for Southeastern (SE) Europe” is a Dam Removal Europe project that brings together several organisations, including Fauna & Flora, MedINA Greece, Wetlands International (WI), ERN (European Rivers Network), World Fish Migration Foundation (WFMF), WWF Netherlands, Slovakia, and Adria.
The project interventions will help to catalyse funding applications being submitted to the Open Rivers Programme during the implementation period, aiming for at least 100 dams to be removed. Additionally, the project will focus on developing supportive policies, providing new expertise and tools and generate support from stakeholders and public. Croatia, Greece, Romania, and Slovakia will lead the way, with impacts expected across the region.
The project is funded by the European Open Rivers Programme – a grant giving organization dedicated to restoring endangered European rivers by supporting interventions that lead to the removal of small dams and the restoration of river flow and biodiversity.
Why is it relevant?Dam removals are proven to be a fast and cost-effective solution with lasting benefits to communities and nature. There are thousands of barrier removal projects across Europe that have shown environmental, economic and social benefits and yet dam removal has not become a mainstream practice in many countries and in particular many CEE and Balkan regions.
Considering the high ecological potential, with several aquatic biodiversity hotspots and extensive Natura 2000 networks of the region, DRE, led by WFMF, initiated this project together with regional partners to focus on building the movement and ensuring that the EU legal obligations and targets (such as from the Nature Restoration Law and Water Framework Directive) are incorporated into regional commitments.
What will we do in this project
- Build the movement in CEE and Balkans by enabling more people to remove dams: Expanding the network, developing the know-how using the community of practice and a helpdesk.
- Build a pipeline of dam removal projects in CEE and Balkans region: by catalysing and developing opportunities for DR, identifying quick wins, exploring funding opportunities, supporting practitioners to submit Open Rivers Programme proposals.
- Create more enabling policies: with activities that will lead to more effective DR process in Croatia, Slovakia, Greece and Romania e.g., legal frameworks will be assessed and used to improve integration of DR into relevant legislation, regulations and administrative procedures.
- Generate support from stakeholders and public: by developing solid narratives which can be used by various target groups to promote dam removal. This will be supported by developing a communication channel that will promote top down and bottom-up communication and exchanges between global, European, national, local levels.