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    -Bart Fokkens \ ECR
    "Ecosystem protection and restoration were one of the major targets at the Sixth WWF. Onema played an essential role with other European agencies, such as the European centre for river restoration, in identifying possible solutions to meet that goal..."

    -Pascal Bonnetain \ RMC Water agency
    "In the field of aquatic-environment restoration, there are strong links between the EU and our towns, and not only in the cross-border basins. With its arsenal of regulatory and financial tools, the EU pushes for restoration..."

The WWF highlights the preservation and restoration of European rivers

The physical restoration of rivers and protection of aquatic environments have become European priorities. They were also the topic of a session at the WWF (World water forum) as part of the European regional process. Onema participated in the study coordinated by the European centre for river restoration (ECRR).

In Europe, alterations in the morphology and the hydraulic regime of rivers have become major factors in river degradation. Less than 20% of European rivers are still in their natural, physical condition. The Water framework directive, via the national regulations, makes it mandatory to preserve and restore aquatic environments. Though many projects have been launched over the past few years, river restoration on a large scale is still hindered by a lack of awareness of decision-makers, elected officials and local governments, to say nothing of the general public. It is also hindered by the lack of available information on good practices for this type of project and the lack of project feedback. A session during the WWF was devoted to this issue and participants included Wetland International, the International commission for the protection of the Danube, the Rhône- Méditerranée basin committee, the Russian Research institute on integrated management of water resources and the Armenian Agency for the management of water resources. Recommendations and an action plan were debated during the forum. The feedback from hydromorphological projects in the various river basins was fed into the Solutions platform. Initial results are encouraging. With four other basins (Spain, Armenia, Ukraine and the U.K.), the Rhone basin was selected to share its experience and the challenges encountered in executing projects considered necessary for the success of a restoration programme, i.e. public education, the development of sustainable tourism, land-use planning and sharing of best practices. The Rhône- Méditerranée-Corse water agency will coordinate the work, with support from Onema. Further work is still required on the programme methods and implementation.

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