Rivers rank among the most threatened ecosystems in the world, but also among the most valuable to society. Therefore, a large amount of funding is made available for restoration programmes. Conflict over water is not only one of the most widespread global stressors, but can also have an impact on nature and people. For centuries, dams and weirs have been built to control floods, improve navigation, provide supply for drinking water or irrigation, create or enhance recreation opportunities, as well as a means for hydropower production. However, these dams and weirs also fragment the river systems, which is especially evident in Europe.
One of the major challenges to achieving a good ecological status of European rivers under the Water Framework Directive is to reduce the fragmentation of stream habitats caused by these man-made barriers, many of which are no longer in or of use. Improving stream connectivity, therefore, has been flagged as one of the priorities for more efficient stream restoration.
For such improvement measures, it is important to consider the challenges and opportunities of both, the ecological aspects as well as the benefits that dams provide for society. This event will explore the tensions caused by the need to draw water and generate hydropower from European Rivers and the impacts dams and other barriers have on ecosystems and habitats, as well as the way novel technologies and adaptive management can help restore stream connectivity in more efficient ways.