RESTORE: Recipes for Success

RESTORE is a project funded by the European LIFE+ programme aiming to encourage the restoration of European rivers towards a more natural state.

Most rivers in Europe have been modified to serve human needs and wants, with varying levels of impact. RESTORE is a partnership for sharing knowledge and promoting best practice in river restoration.

River restoration refers to a large variety of ecological, physical, spatial, and management measures and practices that aim to restore the natural state and functioning of the river system in support of biodiversity, recreation, flood management, and riverine landscapes. By restoring natural conditions, river restoration improves the resilience of the river systems and provides the framework for the sustainable multifunctional use of estuaries, rivers, and streams. River restoration is an integral part of sustainable water management and directly supports the aims of the European Water Framework Directive in addition to national and regional water management policies.

RESTORE is a partnership of six organisations across Europe that is developing an information-sharing network for policy makers, river basin planners, and a wide range of practitioners and experts across Europe. We are disseminating this information through events, seminars, a website, and our RiverWiki.

We are developing our website with the aim of creating a central repository of information on European river restoration. This is being developed in cooperation with the European Centre for River Restoration, and we will look to them to host our information in the future. We would gratefully receive any comments you have on the website:  

We have held a number of River Restoration Events, where some of the most cutting-edge and innovative ways of achieving river restoration have been discussed. If you have not been able to attend any of these events, you can find out more about them and view the presentations on the events page of our website.

A new side channel under construction on the River Danube. Building a new channel to bypass obstructions in the main channel enables migration for all animals. Some fish bypass channels only allow certain species of fish to move up and downstream. Photo: SYKE.

  • We discussed high energy rivers at workshops in Scotland and Iceland.
  • Restoring London’s Rivers breakfast discussion with planners, architects, and engineers.  The key messages include that effective river restoration can improve natural habitats for wildlife and provide space for human recreation. Designed imaginatively, they can also even help to reduce crime and the fear of crime, thereby contributing to a higher quality of life for all. To view the slides see our website and slideshare site.







New bypass channel constructed at Ålgårda. Photo: SYKE.

  • We have visited informative case studies on our field tripsin Poland, Italy, Finland, UK, France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden (including Ålgårdain the Adjacent photo), and the Czech Republic. All case studies have been uploaded onto our RiverWiki.
  • Our event at the River Restoration Conference in Nottingham engendered great discussions, including one entitled ‘It ain’t all about the environment:’ the UK's groundbreaking National Ecosystem Assessment was debated by Dr. Mark Everard of the Environment Agency, who argued that river restoration was no longer a ‘nice to have’ measure but can have beneficial impacts on house values, social inclusion, and a host of other public benefits, such as improved flood management.  Additionally, he made clear that restoration is a crucial element in addressing degraded river environments that disproportionately affect the poor. Practical information on making the most of natural resources can be found here: What nature can do for you.
  • The RESTORE project will end at our international conference in Vienna in September 2013. There will also be a REFORM side-event as part of the conference. Please go to for more information.

Our RiverWIKI is live at:

RiverWiki is a tool for sharing best practices knowledge and the collation of information about river restoration across Europe. It is an interactive source of information that works in a similar way to Wikipedia.  You can search for river restoration projects that are planned or already implemented within Europe. You can upload or search for case studies using parameters such as cost, substrate, land-use, or hydropower. Practitioners are invited to contribute river restoration case studies, good practice, and research to the database.

Calling all planners! Help wanted with our guide

The RESTORE team is also busily writing a guide about river restoration for spatial planners and developers who do not have a background in this subject. It will be a practical introduction of our approach and will explain why it is an important part of development, the benefits of carrying our river restoration, and how to get the best results. 

If you are a planner or developer, we would love to have your help in shaping this guide. If you'd like to get involved please contact us:


For further information: 

Toni Scarr, RESTORE Project Manager