3 Improving ecosystem services and measures - 3.2 Measures

Restoration efforts based on the principles of nature based solutions attempts to restore the natural connections between the river and floodplains, in this way improving the delivery of regulating & maintaining ecosystem services. Most of nature-based solutions directly affect hydromorphological features of the river-floodplain system, improving hydromorphological quality.


Across Europe there are many examples of successful restoration projects. In an analysis of 119 river restoration projects, carried out between 1989-2016, SzaƂkiewicz et al., 2018 show that river restoration in Europe increasingly builds on more holistic solutions including actions in the river channel, floodplain and catchment. Many examples can be found in the overview provided by Natural water retention measures project (NWRM, 2019), the EEA website Climate Adapt (EEA, 2018a), or on the website of the EU funded project RESTORE (ECRR, 2019). The latter provides a database that up to now, holds 1162 river restoration case studies from 31 countries. Examples of more in depth analyses are provided through the EU funded FP7 project REFORM (Reform, 2015). Since 1995 the Life+ programme of the European Union has funded more than 100 floodplain restoration projects. Together these projects support a comprehensive knowledgebase on the environmental benefits of river restoration that is presently finding its way into European policy.


Today the benefits of multifunctional management of floodplains is much more broadly accepted than when the EU Floods Directive entered into force in 2007.Both the REFORM and NWRM projects have provide systematic classifications of specific restoration measures that have been implemented across Europe. NWRM focused on natural water retention measures in a broad sense, whereas the REFORM project focused specifically on river restoration. An overview of the most important restoration measures to improve the natural hydromorphological properties of river-floodplain systems is provided in Figure 3.1.

The specific ecosystem services provided depend on the measure, but all measures listed, support multiple provisioning and regulating & maintaining services.

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