River Restoration conference held in The Netherlands
River Restoration 2000: practical approaches
15-19 May 2000, The Netherlands
The European Centre for River Restoration (ECRR), under the umbrella of the Dutch Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA), organised from 15 to 19 May 2000 an international conference on practical approaches to river restoration throughout Europe, including a few review papers on river restoration aspects in North America, China, and Australia.
More than 100 specialists (engineers, biologists and administration staff) exchanged their respective experiences and visited different river and floodplain restoration sites in the southern Netherlands along the rivers Maas (Meuse) and Rhine (Waal, Rijn). Western, southern and eastern European priorities were addressed in specific workshops. The regional coordinator for Europe of the Ramsar Bureau presented the Convention on Wetlands' toolkit and detailed the guidelines provided by its handbook on "integrating wetland conservation and wise use into river basin management", hoping in this way to create additional exchange of experience and synergies for many new river restoration activities and projects, direly needed along many European rivers.
The conference participants concluded that the ECRR has an important role to play to connect people and institutions, to act as an inspiring forum for river restoration action as a component of sustainable water management. Currently its activities are co-financed by a European Union LIFE grant. With a view to the time after the LIFE project (ending in 2001), ECRR plans to accelerate its actions and dissemination of information; improve the value and increase the awareness of the demonstration projects; extend its database on river restoration projects and involved people; promote further research, monitoring, project funding and training needs assessments; and develop detailed long-term options. Besides a number of national water management and research institutions in different European countries, Ramsar's partners WWF and Wetlands International are active board members of ECRR.
-- reported by Tobias Salathé, Ramsar Bureau