NGOs call for strong river connectivity targets in the EU nature restoration law

Posted on 23 September 2022

With 60% of Europe’s surface waters in bad health, and over a million barriers blocking our waterways, the time to act is now.
The Living Rivers Europe NGO coalition calls on the European Parliament and the Council of the EU to set a binding target of restoring at least 15% of Europe’s river length to a free flowing state by 2030.

Reconnecting freshwater ecosystems is the first requirement to bring back the natural functions of rivers, lakes and wetlands across our continent. Free-flowing rivers are healthy, biodiverse, provide clean and sufficient water supply and adapt to the consequences of increasingly frequent climate change related episodes, like droughts or floods.

The EU Nature Restoration Law proposed by the European Commission in June 2022 introduces new measures and obligations to restore the health of fresh waters. In this briefing paper, WWF, the European Anglers Alliance, the European Environmental Bureau, the European Rivers Network, The Nature Conservancy and Wetlands International Europe analyze the proposed framework on river connectivity  and propose measures that will raise its objectives,  ensure an efficient implementation and expand the financial support.
Demolition of the Kangaskoski dam in Hiitolanjoki, Finland.
© Mikko Nikkinen / Storymakers