The Open Rivers Programme was created to restore European rivers that have become heavily fragmented due to the proliferation of dams.
The creation of the Open Rivers Programme was informed by two years of research and stakeholder engagement which revealed that there are around one million dams fragmenting European rivers and that there is much potential and need for dam removal. The research concluded that dams are contributing to the significant decline of biodiversity and that removing them can quickly restore river flow and biodiversity. It also concluded that there is a genuine lack of understanding of the benefits of dam removal and only a handful of organisations promoting and funding it at the European level.
In recognition of the scale of the problem, a significant funding gap and also the opportunity, Arcadia enabled the creation of the Open Rivers Programme in the spring of 2021. A new entity “Stichting European Open Rivers Programme” was formed in Netherlands on 25th June 2021 to manage and implement the programme. It will offer grants to remove small dams and restore endangered European rivers.
The Open Rivers Programme officially began operating in October 2021, with funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
Learn more about our vision, mission and aims.