Restoration enhances aquatic biodiversity of flowing waters.
Waterway restoration projects can include several targets and are often different in scale. Aquatic biodiversity can be promoted, for example, returning a brook to its original stream or adding natural elements such as stones into the basin for a more natural water flow and to add more underwater habitats. In water courses with migrating fish, migration routes can be improved by removing obstacles or constructing fish passes allowing them to swim upstream.
Hydrological factors such as water level, flowing speed and water quality determine the opportunities that waters provide, not only from nature’s but also from our perspective. The quantity and quality of water affects, for example, the enjoyment of recreational activities like fishing and canoeing. From the biodiversity point of view, restoring water basins to their natural-like state is an effective way to bring back and promote its original biodiversity.
Regulating water courses is often a sensitive topic because of the varying needs and values that people assign to water. Inhabitants, farmers and forest owners next to shorelines are interested in maintaining a suitable water level for their properties and local infrastructure. When it comes to water regulation, many different aspects need to be taken into account. Achieving a sustainable end result, a good balance between sometimes conflicting interests has to be found. The authorities’ role and strong stakeholder engagement are therefore important.