The Dam Removal Seminar in Madrid

The Dam Removal Seminar in Madrid

The Seminar was the official start of my journey. During this start I watched two talks from: Jeroen van Herk (Dam Removal EuropeDRE) and Arjan Berkhuysen (World Fish Migration FoundationWFMF). After that I went off exploring to Europe!

For the full talks follow the link: click here!


Jeroen van Herk

Jeroen van Herk started, stating that according the World Wildlife Funds: Freshwater living planet index 1970 – 2010, 81% of the amount of freshwater species are declined, in Europe it is the same. The two main reasons are: pollution of the freshwater bodies and the barriers build in rivers.

The ambition of Dam Removal Europe is: free-flowing rivers full of life for people and nature. They explicitly stated that people are part of the ambition for creating awareness and building new economies on the principle of free-flowing rivers.

The first “quick-wins”, DRE want to achieve is removing old and/or obsolete dams. The believe this in an Eco-efficient and cost effective way of freeing up rivers. If you look at the benefits: no more risk of flooding and no more maintenance costs. You can’t help but to make the same conclusion.

Their method in achieving this goal is: attending seminars, establish and maintain a European network, making new policy proposals and creating awareness. But DRE most important method is working on the removal of dams and inspire others to do the same!

The Video of Dam Removal Europe:

Arjan Berkhuysen

Arjan Berkhuysen has similar global goals for the WFMF. However focused on the world fish migration. Arjan Berkhuysen started with a story about a young boy called, Hansje Brinker.

In the Netherlands, Hansje Brinker saved an entire town of flooding putting his finger in the dike to stop the leak in the barrier. The dutch all know this story by heart because half of the Netherlands is under sea level and protected by barriers. Nowadays this cultural story makes a shift. The dutch more and more think: “maybe we should not enclose everything and give nature a change to get through.”

The prime example is the 30 kilometre enclosure dike, closing of the IJsselmeer from the Wadden Sea that created a hard barrier in 1932. Next year the fish that want to cross this barriere are getting a much needed helping hand. The WFMF together with 18 other organisations (listed below) has overcome the different challenges to get hole in the dike and expanding it into a five kilometre fish migration river. So fish can cross the barrier with relative ease.

The Fish Migration River (Dutch):

The solution that WFMF has for world wide migration is connectivity: bringing people together, sharing inspiring stories, give examples of good practises, establishing world wide fish migration knowledge.

The WFMF also practise what they preach. On the the 21 of april ‘18 the recurring, the World Fish Migration Day happened. On this day, 569 events world wide where held to create awareness about fish migration.

Not only did they have this extraordinary day. They published a book full of examples of fish migration to inform, educate and inspire people. The book is downloadable free of charge.