BioAgora freshwater management insights presented at the 2024 Free Flow Conference

The 2024 Free Flow Conference, hosted by the World Fish Migration Foundation and the Institute of Fisheries Management, recently brought together a diverse group of stakeholders, including policymakers, river managers, ecologists, researchers, students, and members of the freshwater industry. The conference aimed to address the urgent challenges of global river ecosystems amidst declining freshwater biodiversity and increasing threats to riverine habitats.

The conference agenda featured 125 distinguished speakers in 27 sessions, covering a wide array of topics. Some of the topics at the conference were dam removal and fish passage projects, the ecology and hydromorphology of free-flowing rivers, freshwater fish and fisheries, hydropower development versus free-flowing rivers, policies for maintaining free-flowing rivers, river restoration tools and projects, cultural and socioeconomic aspects of free-flowing rivers, and nature-based solutions. Four workshops hosted at the conference provided platforms for collaborative knowledge sharing and the development of best practices for the preservation and restoration of free-flowing rivers.

BioAgora Workshop at the Free Flow Conference: Towards Removing Barriers Together

On 16 April a special BioAgora workshop organised by the project’s freshwater demonstration case focused on developing a collaborative strategy for prioritizing research to restore free-flowing rivers. The workshop, titled “Removing barriers together: developing a new collaborative strategy for prioritising research to restore free-flowing rivers,” emphasized the goal of Europe to restore 25,000 km of free-flowing rivers by 2030. It addressed the need for targeted research that bridges the gap between the priorities of natural scientists, social scientists, and legislative developments.

Participants critically examined the results of a European-wide research prioritization survey, engaging in an interactive brainstorming session to discuss and identify the critical research needs for restoring free-flowing rivers. The workshop aimed to align research priorities with real-world societal challenges and develop an interdisciplinary list of critical research needs to be communicated to EU Research & Innovation processes. The workshop saw active participation from the attendees and led to productive discussions.

Presentation of BioAgora Research on Free-Flowing River Restoration

In addition to the workshop, a presentation was delivered on BioAgora’s related research concerning the seven challenges of the Nature Restoration Law (NRL) to restore free-flowing rivers. This presentation attracted over 150 participants. The presentation was well-received and highlighted significant research findings that could inform future policy and restoration efforts.

For more details on the 2024 Free Flow Conference and the BioAgora workshop, visit Free Flow Conference.