Few countries in Europe have good inventories of stream barriers. Data is often missing, incomplete or outdated. Also, planning at the river basin level is insufficient for decision making when national and European wide energy and resource considerations have to be taken into account (Bodis et al, 2014).
On the other hand there is great potential for removing unused barriers and for strategic planning which fulfils both ecological and socio-economic needs. Combined effects of obstructions are rarely taken into account (Anderson et al., 2015) and in many cases it may be more ecologically and economically optimal to allow new barriers on rivers that are already compromised rather than build barriers on pristine rivers (Zarfl, 2015).
AMBER will assess the current state of existing stream barrier inventories. It includes an ambitious plan to use an app to collect basic barrier date (type, height, location) through a European wide (33 EEA countries) ‘citizen science’ network to create an atlas maintained by the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy. This will allow for better insight into the state and distribution of barriers throughout European rivers and provide a good basis for barrier planning, mitigation and restoration measures.
Preliminary results on the current state of stream barrier inventories in European countries will soon become available. Follow AMBER on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date!
Anderson D, Moggridge H, Warren P, Shucksmith J (2015) The impacts of ‘run of river’ hydropower on the physical and ecological condition of rivers. Water and Environment Journal, 29 p.268-276.
Bodis K, Monforti F, Szabó S (2014) Could Europe have more mini hydro sites? A suitability analysis based on continentally harmonized geographical and hydrological data. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 37, 794-808.
Zarfl C, Lumsdon A.E, Berlekamp J, Tydecks L, Tockner K (2015) A global boom in hydropower dam construction. Aquatic Sciences. 77(1), p. 161-170.