Better European river management with the AMBER project

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02 Mar

On the occasion of World Fish Migration Day 2018, the AMBER project will launch a mobile application to map rivers barriers and have a clear understanding of river fragmentation at the European level.

AMBER (short for Adaptive Management of Barriers in European Rivers) is an EU funded project that aims to improve dams and barriers management in European rivers in order to tackle the issue of rivers fragmentation and to achieve a more efficient restoration of streams connectivity. Rivers fragmentation is mainly due to man-made barriers which cause severe negative impacts on the ecosystems. Indeed, the presence of dams and barriers affects water quality, increases the risk of floods and is a threat to wild fish population as it hinders their migration process. The EU faces a dilemma as on the one side it needs to enhance river protection and on the other side hydropower is accepted as renewable energy, which add to the energy mix needed to reach the 20% renewable energy goal by 2020. This situation puts even further pressure on rivers, and could lead to the construction of new low-head dams as well as the rehabilitation of old, disused weirs. 

The AMBER project aims to mitigate the impact of barriers on rivers by putting in place an adaptive management process to gain more knowledge on river fragmentation and to improve future rivers ecosystem restoration. To achieve this goal the project’s members have created a first Barrier Atlas to have a clearer picture of river fragmentation at the European level. 

To help with this initiative, the AMBER team has developed a free mobile application called ‘AMBER Barrier Tracker’ which allows citizens to signal the presence of freshwater barriers in order to feed in the design of a reliable map of the existing barriers in European rivers. The app is already been used by the members of the AMBER project and will be open for public use on the 21st of April, on the occasion of World Fish Migration Day 2018

EAA welcomes this new AMBER initiative. A lot of river barriers are not serving any needed purpose anymore and should be removed. Others, are damaged or collapsed and need repair or removal. Fish passes are often missing or not working as intended. Hopefully, the AMBER project will sheer light on obstacles so they can be fixed or removed. 

More information on AMBER and on the app is available on the project’s website

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