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  • Floodplains are an important part of rivers. They are largely in poor condition. Improving their condition is important for achieving objectives of the Water Framework, Floods, Habitats and Birds Directives.
  • Presently, floodplains are recognised in the context of the Water Framework Directive, but they are not systematically assessed as part of river basin management plans, although an ecosystem based perspective suggests this could be highly relevant.
  • A more overarching strategic approach for the protection and restoration of floodplains, also encompassing objectives of the Floods Directive, the Habitat and Birds Directives, the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, the Green Infrastructure initiative, and the EU Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, could be taken.
  • Natural water retention measures are cost effective and viable alternatives to structural flood protection. In addition, they support multiple ecosystem functions and services needed to achieve the objectives of several EU policies. Such solutions enable achieving multiple environmental policy goals: they enhance the delivery of ecosystem services and in return for this improvement they support the delivery of good ecological status, good conservation status and improved flood risk management.
  • Shifting the management focus towards natural retention measures represents a transition towards ecosystem-based management and needs to be incorporated into river basin and flood risk management plans, conservation plans and climate change adaptation plans. Once implemented, natural water retention measures deliver valuable regulating & maintaining ecosystem services and high quality cultural services.
  • Restoration requires public support, investment and time. EU and national funding instruments are available to support restoration.
  • In spite of the obvious benefits of floodplain protection and restoration, the analysis points to a fragmented management approach that would benefit from some streamlining across Europe, in order to better achieve the value of restoration efforts. Relevant measures for achieving cross-policy objectives can often be the same.
  • As most restoration projects involve using land differently, it is very important to secure citizen engagement in the planning process and to allow enough time to negotiate the best possible solutions. The results are, however, often greatly appreciated by the public because of the recreational qualities achieved.

Previous comments

  • birkseba (Sebastian Birk) 28 Jul 2019 13:39:24

    Regarding the report's title: Both "indispensable" and "extenuators" seem to be 'highbrow', scholary terms that might repel potential audience.

  • januskat (Kathrin Januschke) 31 Jul 2019 12:47:06

    The start of the last senctence 'As most restoration projects involve using land differently...' should be a little bit more precise. For me, it is not clear what it means.

  • johnsdav (Dave Johnston) 15 Aug 2019 12:13:46

    Include message about increased and more varied ecosystemn service provision from restored and functioning floodplains compared to disconnected systems

  • kampaele (Eleftheria Kampa) 20 Aug 2019 14:00:36

    1st bullet: Key message should make clear from start, we are talking about Europe here, e.g. "In Europe, they are largely in poor condition...".

    Use of term restoration should be more precisely used, i.e. we talk about "floodplain restoration" (see 6th and 8th bullets).

  • ritvamar (Maria Szomolanyi Ritvayne) 27 Aug 2019 16:26:47

    The first sentence of the first bullet needs clarification, we recommend the following: Floodplains are areas associated with water courses, ie. not part of the riverbed: floodplains are important adjacent parts/valley floors of rivers.
    We could not agree with the second sentence either, because it is not for the purposes of the Directives that necessary to improve the status of the floodplains. Instead, we recommend the following wording: among other things, as set out in the "1-2-3..." policies. Maybe not ’for’ is the perfect word here but something like ’as it is recognised inter alia by the…. Directives’...

  • ritvamar (Maria Szomolanyi Ritvayne) 27 Aug 2019 16:43:06

    The following note we would like to be added to the second bullet:

    In the WFD, under hydromorphological assessment floodplain is/should be assessed as river bed, banks and floodplain is part of the analyses, but there is no separate ecological status assessment for it.

  • casteser (Sergio Castellari) 06 Sep 2019 16:51:42

    In the key message about NWRMs I would add '...retention measures and Green Infrastructures'.

    Then I would add some text on the issue that (as stated in this report at page 5) that EU promotes the increased use of NWRMs as part of its EU GI Strategy and has cofinanced restoration projects through the LIFE programme.

    I think is important.

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