The publication “BREAK FREE – Restoring the biodiversity of rivers by removing dams” addresses the effects of barriers on migratory fish highlighting the worrying and catastrophic situation on the Mekong River (going across 5 countries in Asia) where the constructions of hydropower dams are putting not only the river and its components at risk but also all the already vulnerable populations depending on the Mekong River. The intensive use of water for agricultural irrigation can even lead to the complete drying out of the river bed as it is the case for the Colorado River. A number of dam construction projects are also on the table in the EU, including Northern Italy. On the other hand, there are striking examples of dam removals in the USA that show the efficiency of dam removals on biotopes and ecosystems restoration. In Europe such examples can also be found in France where 2 big dams are currently being removed at the Sélune River and in Finland where dam removal meanwhile is a more common practice.
According to the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 at least 25,000 km of rivers need to be restored into free-flowing rivers through the removal of primarily obsolete barriers and the restoration of floodplains and wetlands. The EU Commission released a guidance reporting one dam or weir every 1.5 km on European Rivers. Dams have different purposes, like hydropower or water supply, but many structures are ageing and some don’t fulfil their originally intended purpose, anymore. Whereas it is mandatory to consider the removal of ageing dams, severely impairing migratory fishes, the question of hydropower, especially in energy crises such as we live nowadays, must also be properly addressed.
Authors: Athénaïs Georges and Michael Bender, with contributions provided by World Fish Migration Foundation, Free Rivers Italy, WWF Finland; David J. H. Blake, Herman Wanningen, Pao Fernandez Garrido and Elena Alfaya.
You can find the brochure here: https://grueneliga.de/images/Wasser/dam_removal_EBOOK.pdf
You can find the brochure in German here: www.grueneliga.de/images/Wasser/dam_removal_de_EBOOK.pdf
You can find the brochure in French here: https://grueneliga.de/images/Wasser/BREAK_FREE-FR.pdf
The whole Interview of M Alban Thomas, Responsible of the Information System of the Sélune Project, is available here: Interview Sélune Project.
On 11th of May 22 Michael Bender (Living Rivers Foundation), Tobias Schäfer (WWF Germany, Patagonia and flow:europe organized a River Film evening as part of the next World Fish Migration Day (21.05.22) at the Patagonia Store Berlin.
Four short movies were presented, as well as the multi-award-winning documentary “Was Fische wollen. Last chance for the Tyrolean Inn.” from Christoph Walder. It shows the causes and background of the dramatic decline of the Tyrolean Inn and give a voice to the committed fishermen and conservationist fighting for the return of free-flowing rivers.
A trailer is available here: https://vimeo.com/567821999.
Theresa Schiller (WWF Germany), Tobias Schäfer (WWF Germany), Dr. Ruben van Treeck (IfB: Institute of Inland Fisheries) and Olaf Lindner (DAFV: German Angling Association) had a discussion with the engaged audience on wild rivers, migratory fish and hydropower and highlighted the new Renewable Energy Sources Act, currently debated in the Bundestag. The Riverfilm event was moderated by Michael Bender (Living Rivers Foundation).
On 19 April, the Grüne Liga Berlin e.V. and Spreequell will once again launch the "Save our trees" campaign. After the successful start last year, Berlin's city trees are to be supported by citizens watering them in 2022. Last year, numerous individuals, families, office communities and watering groups took part in the campaign with great commitment. The Green League Berlin and Spreequell will therefore again be handing out free watering packages consisting of watering bags and watering cans to citizens in 2022.
Anyone observing the weather in 2022 will notice that it is very dry again this year. March was the driest since weather records began. Heat waves are on the rise, to the detriment of the city's trees. The city of Berlin and the district offices responsible for irrigation are calling on the public to help. "Often, Berliners are not lacking the motivation to help the trees, but rather the practical implementation," says Lena Assmann, urban greening expert of the Grüne Liga Berlin e.V. Therefore, the join-in campaign of Grüne Liga Berlin e.V. and Spreequell supports Berliners in helping long-suffering urban trees.
The environmental network GRÜNE LIGA is concerned about the slides on the bank of the Cottbus Ostsee, the former open-cast lignite mine Cottbus-Nord, which faces the city.
"When the grown shore of an open-cast mining lake starts to slide, this is unusual and worrying. With Schlichow, an inhabited settlement lies in the immediate vicinity of the slide. In addition, the area of the quay wall is affected, where the city of Cottbus wants to extensively develop the lakeshore and where millions of structural funds are flowing in," says René Schuster, lignite expert of the association.
Several landslides occurred in February and March. In the Cottbus district of Schlichow, the former noise protection dam was extensively closed off. LEAG is currently analysing the causes. This was confirmed by LEAG and the mining authority at the request of the GRÜNE LIGA last Thursday at the meeting of the Brandenburg Lignite Committee. The responsible department head at the State Office for Mining, Geosciences and Raw Materials also pointed out that the landslide visually resembles the one in Lake Helene near Frankfurt (Oder).
The present European Groundwater Memorandum formulates five key requirements for the protection of naturally formed groundwater resources and thus complements the European River Memorandum (ERM) aiming at the protection of the surface water bodies. Around 170 water suppliers, representing the water protection and drinking water interests of 188 million of people in the catchment areas of the rivers Rhine, Ruhr, Danube, Elbe, Meuse and Scheldt in 18 riparian states have collaborated. The five key requirements include:
You can find the entire Groundwater Memorandum following this link: (PDF 1,8 MB)
You can find more information about our info distributors here.
All issues of the Water Newsletter 2022:
All issues of the Water Newsletter 2021:
Water Newsletter December 2021 (pdf 2,3 MB)
The GRÜNE LIGA Federal Contact Point Water has been a member of the EEB's Water Working Group for over 20 years and is a founding member of both the Water Working Group of the Forum Environment and Development and the "Living Lakes Germany" network.
Michael Bender represents the GRÜNE LIGA as an observer at the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe (IKSE).
In 2021, the cooperation between the GRÜNE LIGA and the Living Rivers Foundation was intensified and a joint office was established at the federal association.
Together with the GRÜNE LIGA Berlin, we were active in the Aktionsnetz Kleingewässer Berlin, in 2022.
Since January 2023, the GRÜNE LIGA Berlin e.V. is partner in the pilot project Wassernetz Berlin. We will organise 24 dialogues at water over 3 years (around 8 per year) to raise awareness of the public on the issues faced by water bodies and offer training in their management (biodiversity, physical and chemical status, etc.), as well as helping our partners in the project to prepare for the enhancement and restoration measures that will be implemented in the framework of this pilot project. You can find the schedule of dialogs on our events page.
On the European level, the GRÜNE LIGA e.V. is also member of the European Water Movement. The EWM aims at reinforcing the recognition of water as a commons and as a fundamental universal right.
On a global level, the GRÜNE LIGA e.V. is also involved in the People's Water Forum, a coordinating space for Water Justice Movements around the world.