Alpine rivers are endangered

  • You can download this position paper here.

Alpine region of Europe.


To ensure water management practice, that does not degrade water habitats and enables the existence of functional fish habitats and longitudinal connectivity of watercourses, the cooperation between water management and fisheries experts is necessary.

It’s understandable that certain water management interventions in the watercourses are necessary for the flood protection and for ensuring safety for people and infrastructure. Negative water management effects on fish habitats cannot always be avoided.

However, it can be severely reduced with the close to nature planning and implementation methods and with the use of natural materials.

Resulting from past inappropriate water management practice, a lot of river restoration projects across Europe are in progress with the same goal: to rehabilitate deteriorated river sections and restore water habitats.

Although river restoration is a step towards better future, we believe that the priority must always be preservation of natural rivers.

Preserve, so we won’t have to restore in the future!

What the EAA wants:

  • Consideration of the Water Framework Directive in coherence with the Habitats Directive
  • Updated hydromorphological pressures and impacts analysis
  • Clear delineation of water bodies with catchment size between 10 and 100 km2 to ensure that significant impacts are not being overlooked
  • Defined No-Go areas where hydrological and morphological alteration is forbidden
  • Ensured fisheries and nature conservation expert and public participation in water management issues
  • Prohibiting bad practice in water management
  • Implementing an effective inspection control of concrete works and water use
  • Effective management of transverse water obstructions in terms of assuring longitudinal river connectivity for freshwater organisms
  • Strategic planning and close to nature implementation of water interventions
  • Close to nature rehabilitation of inappropriately regulated sections of watercourses

Soča river, Slovenia. Photo: FRIS.