International seminar on scaling up dam removal as a river restoration tool in Europe.

19 – 21 May, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal

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About the event

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Presentations are available here.

ANP|WWF PortugalWorld Fish Migration FoundationWetlands International and The Nature Conservancy invite you for the 7th Dam Removal Europe seminar, an event that will be held, for the first time, in Lisbon, Portugal, where the process of dam removal is getting started.

This time, aiming to increase general commitment and know-how around dam removal, make it as efficient as possible and kick start new funding mechanisms and policy changes, we will focus on scaling up dam removal and how that can help enhance the biodiversity of rivers across Europe. Speakers from Europe and will touch base on their best practices.

The event will be composed of a 2-day conference plus a third day dedicated to a field trip to visit a riverine restoration site. The seminar is part of the global World Fish Migration Day celebrations and one of the highlights will be the Portuguese premiere of the DAMBUSTERS documentary.

You will meet river basin authorities, ministries, town majors, policy makers, EU project managers, water agencies, companies, engineers, researchers, students, social experts and the public interested in free-flowing rivers.

Please get in touch if you are considering to sponsor this event. This event is a great opportunity to create visibility for your work.



“Sharing information between river practitioners in Europe is essential to the success of scaling up dam removal as a viable river restoration tool. Thanks to this event, we make that possible.”

Herman WanningenDirector World Fish Migration Foundation

“Ramping up barrier removals is essential for restoring healthy rivers and achieving biodiversity, climate and freshwater policy ambitions.”

Paul BrothertonFreshwater Manager Wetlands International Europe

“This event will showcase to national policy makers many successful cases from other EU countries, boosting the Dam Removal movement in Portugal. I can't wait to see you all!”

Lorenzo QuagliettaEcologist, Water Consultant for ANP|WWF

Currently confirmed speakers

Sampsa Vilhunen - keynote speaker

Director, Marine and freshwater environments, WWF Finland

Dr. Sampsa Vilhunen is leading a team of conservation officers that are among the most productive in Europe when it comes to river restoration and dam removals. In the last five years, WWF Finland has been involved already in the removal of 43 migration barriers, which has alone opened over 1000km of new free running rivers. These barrier removals have included everything from culverts to old mill dams, to active hydropower plants. Furthermore, the successful advocacy by WWF in Finland, resulted in historical entry in the national plan for Finland to remove dams from its rivers, to bring back migratory fish stocks.

This has meant that dam removal as a restoration measure has penetrated widely in the Finnish society, with more and more organizations now working for this common goal. Last year some 137 barrier removals were counted from Finland. Sampsa Vilhunen is not resting assured that the current pace is enough though but feels that there is still room for accelerating the removals of all ‘unnecessary dams’, as he likes to frame them.

Sampsa Vilhunen thinks that the challenge is immense, but so are also the opportunities. Bringing back aquatic environment that was once lost all across Europe because of unsustainable human development will be crucial not only from biodiversity perspective, but also for humankind.

Dr. Vilhunen studied ecology and aquatic sciences in Helsinki University as well Imperial College in London. His PhD concentrated on fish behavior. Sampsa is also a passionate fly-fisherman and spends a lot of his free time with rivers.

Herman Wanningen

Director World Fish Migration Foundation

Herman Wanningen is ecologist and entrepreneur specializing in fish migration and water management. He is the founder and director of the World Fish Migration Foundation and initiator of Dam Removal Europe. He is recognized internationally for his work promoting the maintenance and recovery of free-flowing rivers by raising global awareness of rivers and migratory fish through the biennial event ‘World Fish Migration Day’.

Lorenzo Quaglietta - keynote speaker

Ecologist, Water Consultant at ANP|WWF

Dr. Lorenzo Quaglietta is an ecologist recognized in the academic world for his passion for and his work on otter and other semiaquatic mammals (in particular, the amazing Pyrenean desman) ecology. He also studied fish and crayfish and more broadly river ecology, developing tools specifically conceived for improving the application of movement ecology in river ecosystems.
Lorenzo is currently working as consultant for the WWF of Portugal, and is very excited to be the project officer of the Dam Removal project. In fact, being passionate about fishing and rivers since its early childhood, he now has the opportunity to use his knowledge and motivation to help strengthen the DR movement in Portugal, which lays a bit behind most other EU countries.

Jonė Leščinskaitė

Advisor at Strategic Change Group in the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania

Jonė Leščinskaitė is an advisor for free-flowing river restoration in Sustainable development and Strategic change group in the Ministry of Environment in the Republic of Lithuania. During the Master degree studies in Swedish University of Agricultural sciences she discovered passion for rivers and freshwater systems. During her work in County Board of Västerbotten (Sweden) as a field biologist for fresh water systems experience and knowledge deepened and with a new founded passion to restore rivers into more natural state she is now responsible for making legislation changes that would make dam removal an easier process and more accepted in the eyes of the public.

Rui Cortes

Full Professor at the Forestry Department at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD)

Academic Activity
Full Professor at the Forestry Department at the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), recently retired. Ex-Director of the Laboratory of Fluvial Ecology-UTAD; Member of the Scientific Council of the Laboratory of Fluvial and Terrestrial Ecology (LEFT). Lecturing subjects related to Aquatic Sciences, River Restoration, Riparian Ecology, Forest Ecology, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Research Activity
Member of the Research Center for Agro-Environmental Technologies (CITAB). HI Scopus: 30. 228 technical and scientific publications (103 in WoS)

Current research interests
Monitorization of aquatic ecosystems, with special relevance to bio-indicators based on benthic fauna, fishes; Forest ecology and sustainable management. Management of afforested catchments. Development of hydromorphological survey systems; river rehabilitation; Ecology and restoration of riparian layers. Soil engineering techniques and erosion control. Environmental Impact Assessment Studies on the effects of river regulation and mitigation measures.

Jorge Bochechas

Senior Engineer at ICNF - National Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests

Jorge Bochechas is a Senior Engineer at the Department of Natural Resources and Nature Conservation, of the Instituto de Conservação da Natureza e das Florestas – ICNF (National Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests). With a Forest Engineering and Natural Resources Management background graduation (1985), he has a MSc in Hydraulics and Water Resources Management (1996). From 1985 to the present he has worked in fisheries management, river continuity, fish passes and fish passage, river habitat survey, methods for evaluation habitat continuity, ecological status of rivers and water quality and habitat continuity under the EU Habitat Directive. From 1997 to 2008 he was the head of the Department of Inland Waters Fisheries Management of the General Directorate of Forests (DGF) and from 2010 to 2012 he was the head of the Department of Water Quality of the National Water Institute. Other activities included membership representing the DGF (1994 to 2008) in the National Water Council, and also represented Portugal (1996 to 2008) on the European Inland Waters Fisheries Advisory Commission (EIFAC) at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Andrea Goltara

Managing Director at the Italian Centre for River Restoration (CIRF)

Environmental engineer, he has worked as a researcher, in Canada and in Spain, in the field of advanced water treatment technologies. He has then concentrated his activity on topics related to sustainable water resources, river basin planning and management, freshwater ecology and in particular river restoration. Since 2007 he has been the managing director of the Italian Centre for River Restoration (CIRF), technical non-profit association advocating for a more nature-based approach in managing rivers in Italy and working at EU level in networks such as Wetlands International Europe.
His current activities, in Italy and abroad, are mainly focused on river hydromorphology, conservation of freshwater ecosystems, restoration of connectivity, development of synergies between Water Framework, Floods and Habitats directives.

Carlos Garcia de Leaniz

Professor of Aquatic BioSciences and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research, Swansea University, UK

Professor of Aquatic BioSciences and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea University (UK). He obtained a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Victoria (BC, Canada) and a PhD (Zoology) at the University Aberdeen (UK), followed by post-doctoral research at the University of Glasgow and ZSL London. Carlos Garcia Leaniz led AMBER, a Horizon 2020 project that assessed the extent of river fragmentation across Europe and developed tools to quantify and mitigate barrier impacts. I am currently working on a project that seeks to reconnect the salmon rivers of Wales as well as on ways to quantify and optimise the benefits of dam removal.

Paulo Branco

Biologist and Researcher at Instituto Superior de Agronomia, School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon

Paulo Branco is a biologist (2005), with a Doctorate in Forest Eng & Nat Res (2013). He leads an innovative and very active research line on river network connectivity with several collaborating researchers and students. Paulo has developed work in fish ecology, river connectivity, ecohydraulics, fishways, habitat suitability modelling, fish historical records, animal behaviour, fish physiology and animal experimentation.

OUTPUTS & DISSEMINATION: 51 articles, 47 (92%) in Q1 or Q2 Journals, 27 (52%) in top 10%, 19 (37%) in top 3% and 3 (6%) in top 1% journals (Scimago), and 30 conf. proceedings. Paulo has co-developed a free database for historical diadromous fish records, spanning one millennium of data, and a free software to deal with river network summarizations (RivTool - downloaded in 67 countries). 100+ oral presentations, of which 11 by invitation, and 30 posters.

TEACHING: Invited teacher at ISA-ULisboa for the last 8 years on 6 different BSc, 1 MSc and 1 PhD, teaching Ecology, Animal Biology, Zoology, Population Dynamics, River and Blue-green connectivity. Invited teacher at the International Master in Applied Ecology, since 2020, at the University of Coimbra.

RESEARCH: Participation in several national and international projects establishing a research network, collaborating with over 300 researchers in all continents. Active reviewer of scientific publications, contributing as a reviewer for 40 international journals. He co-edited a special issue for Water journal on the effects of multiple stressor on aquatic systems, and is co-editor of 2 special issues, 1 on river connectivity for IJERPH, where he is Topic Editor, and 1 on nature-based solutions for Hydrobiology, where he is part of the editorial board.

FUNDING: Applied, and was successfully awarded, for project funding, national and international, both as PI and as partner. Currently PI of Dammed Fish (FCT, 244KEUR), funded under a very competitive call (6% success rate), and leading tasks in MERLIN (H2020, 22 MEUR) and AQUADAPT (LaCaixa-FCT, 300KEUR). Paulo was involved on the creation TERRA Associated Laboratory (FCT, 1.1MEUR) that aggregates 400+ PhDs from different research centres in Portugal.

SUPERVISION: 10 BSc, 4 MSc and 4 PhD. Took part at juries and thesis committees from different degree levels in Portugal and abroad (14 BSc, 9 MSc and 3 PhD). Hosted two scientific stays.

FACILITIES: Planning and installation of an experimental mesocosm system, at the campus of ISA, and has been involved in the recovery and operation of a large scale ecohydraulic flume (50 m3 water) at the National Laboratory for Civil Engineering.

RECOGNITION: Member of the Scientific council of the Forest Research Centre. Part of the CEF-Outreach strategy group. Publicly nominated, member, as a freshwater specialist, of the Observatory Board for the management of the oldest national planted forest in Portugal - XIII century (Observatório Local do Pinhal do Rei). Member of the Ecosystems and Water Quality Committee of the Portuguese Association of Water Resources. Recently invited to lead a regional group of Early Careers on Ecohydraulics Network supported by IAHR. Awarded in 2020 and 2021, with Honourable Mentions at the University of Lisbon Scientific Prizes due to his publication record.

Branka Španiček

Project Officer at WWF Adria

Branka Spanicek is a river protection and restoration expert, enthusiastic about bringing life back to the rivers of Western Balkans. Apart from being invested in the designation of the world's first 5-country Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube, she has been coordinating WWF Adria's work on dam removal in the region.
In October 2021, she was on site of the first dam removal in Western Balkans. After taking down three dams on the Vezisnica River, the river is now running freely. Now, she is finding ways of spreading the excitement about removing dams in Croatia and Slovenia, where first dam removals are expected soon.

Catarina Miranda

Coordinator of the "Rios Livres" project at GEOTA – Territorial Planning and Environment Study Group

Catarina Miranda has a degree in Biology (2005, University of Lisbon), a Master’s in Mathematics Applied to Biological Sciences (2008, Technical University of Lisbon) and a PhD in Natural Sciences (2014, Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology, University of Constance, Germany). She was a professor and researcher at the postgraduate degree in Biodiversity and Conservation at the Federal University of Maranhão, Brazil (2014-2018) and at the postgraduate degree in Neurosciences and Behaviour at the Federal University of Pará, Brazil (2018-Present). In 2021 she joined GEOTA, a Portuguese environmental NGO, as the coordinator of the Rios Livres project. She has always been fascinated by nature conservation, namely by strategies of ecosystems' conservation in the face of human impacts.

Paul Herickx

Senior Project Manager at Environment Agency

Paul is a Civil and Environmental Engineer currently working for the UK Government’s Environment Agency. He is responsible for developing and delivering river restoration projects across the entire Midlands region of the UK, with a keen interest in barrier removal and fish passage. His recent projects include the removal of a 70m wide historic weir on the River Dove, removal of two 20m wide barriers on the River Teme as part of the Unlocking the Severn project and managing the design phase of the largest fish pass in the UK, which is now under construction on the River Trent after 5 years of design development. With a lifelong passion for the environment and a fundamental understanding of the key role that construction has in society, he seeks to achieve the best possible outcomes for both.
Since graduating from the University of Nottingham in 2010, he has spent his time designing fish passes and pursuing his interest in the social and environmental impacts of dams. This can actually be demonstrated through his attendance at many of the Dam Removal Europe seminars since supporting one of the earliest held in his home city of Birmingham in 2017! He wholeheartedly supports the growing community and industry awareness of the damage that dams continue to have on our increasingly fragile river systems, and has drawn on examples from previous seminars for additional justification when pursuing more barrier removals in the UK. Considering many of his fellow civil engineering students have gone into historically environmentally damaging areas of construction, he fully appreciates how fortunate he is to be able to have a very positive environmental impact within his own area of construction expertise.

Christopher Grzesiok

Fisheries Technical Specialist at Environment Agency

Chris Grzesiok is a Fisheries Biologist working for the Environment Agency in the West Midlands Area (England), with over 20 years of international experience specialising in fish passage and hydrology. His role requires him to provide advice in fish biology, geomorphology, river ecology, ecohydrology, ecotoxicology, environmental physics and engineering design principles on various national and local projects. His strong background in working with a range of stakeholders and policymakers ensures that the environment is safeguarded and improved through knowledge sharing and collaborative working. Chris has recently completed technical guides on eel passage and eel screening solutions in the UK, bringing together the most up-to-date research and knowledge to protect and reverse the decline of European eels. While Chris has a keen interest in formal fish passage solutions, he believes that the first and best option is always to remove any barrier to fish migration where possible.

Amy Singler - keynote speaker

Director of River Restoration at American Rivers and The Nature Conservancy

Amy brings over 20 years of experience in river restoration, advocacy, and capacity building to her work to restore rivers. She enjoys working and learning on rivers because of how rivers connect our human and ecological communities and the ways in which rivers require us to think across disciplines in order to achieve our goals. Amy’s position is shared with The Nature Conservancy and American Rivers where she works to advance the practice and rate of dam removal through reforming permit processes, coordinating and developing training resources, and directly project management. Amy’s work supports growth of the international dam removal movement through training and project support with TNC’s Europe program.

Pedro Raposo de Almeida

Vice Director at MARE - Marine Environment Sciences Centre | Full Professor at University of Évora

For the past 30 years Pedro R. de Almeida scientific activity was dedicated to the study of the biology and ecology of fishes (diadromous, freshwater, estuarine and coastal species). He has an extensive experience in management and conservation of anadromous fish species, namely in terms of design and monitoring of fish passes and management of fisheries. PRA dedicated a significant time of his career studying the family Petromyzontidae, which granted him the recognition as an international expert in the subject. He is a Full Professor at the Department of Biology, School of Sciences and Technology, University of Évora, and a senior researcher at the MARE – Marine and Environment Sciences Centre, where he holds the post of Vice Director since 2017. Since 2009 PRA is the Head of the Scientific Research Board of the Mora Freshwater Aquarium. PRA published more than 100 papers in SCI journals and 5 books. He was awarded the “Distinguished Project in Fisheries Engineering and Ecohydrology”, presented jointly by the American Society of Civil Engineers (Environmental & Water Resource Institute), and the American Fisheries Society (Bioengineering Section).

Sebastian Birk

Coordinator at MERLIN - Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: INnovation, upscaling and transformation

Sebastian is a senior scientist and lecturer at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany). His research covers environmental condition and human impact assessment, multiple stressors in aquatic systems, ecosystem services, restoration ecology and environmental policy implementation. For about 20 years his work contributes to the ecological assessment of European freshwaters, including the various facets of implementing the European Water Framework Directive. Sebastian coordinated the EU-funded research project MARS, which analyzed multiple stressors acting on Europe’s freshwaters. As the science manager for freshwaters at the European Topic Centre (commissioned by the European Environment Agency), he was involved in Europe’s science-policy discussions. Currently, he coordinates the EU-funded project MERLIN, mainstreaming freshwater restoration across Europe.

Nuno Lacasta - opening speech

President of the Portuguese Environment Agency

Nuno Lacasta has been working on environment and sustainable development for over 20 years in Europe and in the United States. Since 2012 he’s been serving as CEO of APA - the Portuguese Environment Agency. He worked for academia and NGOs and as consultant for international organizations such as the OECD, the UN and the European Commission.
Mr. Lacasta has been in public service since 2003, having led the Portuguese Environment Ministry’s International Department, coordinated Portugal’s climate policy and directed the Portuguese Carbon Fund. In his capacity at APA he served as Bureau member of the EEA - European Environment Agency, and as OECD Environmental Policy Committee’s Chair.
He holds a Law degree from Lisbon University Law School, a post-graduated degree (LLM) from the Washington College of Law/American University, as well as the Advanced Management Program (AMP) from Kellogg Business School / Católica Business School.

Ângela Morgado - opening speech

Executive Director of ANP | WWF

Ângela Morgado is the Executive Director of Associação Natureza Portugal in association with WWF – World Wide Fund for Nature.She holds a degree in Sociology and a master’s degree in Communication, Culture, and Information Technologies from ISCTE – University Institute of Lisbon.During her career as a fundraising specialist and communication consultant, she worked with several projects and entities: Community program EQUAL, ANESPO, Renatura, LPR, Erena, SetCom group.In addition, she was a member of the executive committee of Obercom – Communication Observatory and the person in charge of PR and Communication.Has worked as Client Director at Agenda Estratégica, communication agency, and participated in different investigation projects at the ISCTE Department of Sociology.

José Carlos Pimenta Machado - keynote speaker

Vice-President of the Portuguese Environment Agency

José Carlos Pimenta Machado, graduated in Environmental Engineering from the University of Aveiro, completed a postgraduation in Environmental Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Oporto as well as a master’s degree in Public Administration from the Catholic University and the Advanced Studies Course in National Defense. He has dedicated his professional life to the area of the environment, in matters related to the management of water resources. He began his work at the Integrated Management Committee of the Ave River Basin, planning and coordinating clean-up actions at the Ave River Basin. He worked in various regional environmental institutions where he focused on managing water resources. Between 2008 and 2011 he was Director of the Department of Coastal Water Resources of ARH do Norte and Regional Administrator of the Northern Hydrographic Region, APA's decentralized department, between 2012 and 2018.
Since May 2018, he has been Vice-President of the Board of Directors of APA. Has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sociedade Polis Litoral Norte since 2013, as well as Chairman of Sociedade Polis Ria de Aveiro, since 2018. He is a member of the Board of the Institute of Hydraulics and Water Resources of the Faculty of Engineering of Porto.

Gwen McDonald

Grants Manager at European Open Rivers Programme

Gwen is a restoration practitioner with over a decade of experience in ecological restoration program administration and grant management. Gwen is passionate about free-flowing rivers, the restoration of function over form, and breaking down barriers for others to join the dam removal movement. She believes in the importance of building strong relationships with interdisciplinary teams to implement creative solutions. Witnessing the systemic change that occurs when a barrier is removed from a river is what propelled her into a career in environmental resource engineering and ecological restoration – she’s been hooked ever since. Starting in 2010, Gwen oversaw all ecological restoration design, implementation, and monitoring activities for Save the Sound, a regional non-profit in the northeast USA. Gwen became Save the Sound’s first Director of Ecological Restoration, managing river restoration, green infrastructure, watershed planning and coastal resilience under one department, expanding it from a small pass-through grant program to an interdisciplinary staff of eight. She provided program, financial and administrative support for federal, regional, and private grants undertaken by the organization including grant development, scoping, contract negotiations, budgeting, due diligence, and reporting. Since 2010, the program has restored over 130 ha of tidal marsh and opened 100 km to fish passage. Prior to 2010, Gwen was employed as an environmental engineering consultant in the northeast USA working on environmental remediation and restoration design projects. Gwen holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resource Engineering from the ABET-EAC accredited State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry with post-graduate studies at Rutgers and the University of Massachusetts.

António Batarda Fernandes

Head of the Division for the Inventory, Study and Safeguard of Archaeological Heritage at the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage

Archaeologist by trade, António Batarda Fernandes currently heads the Division for the Inventory, Study and Safeguard of Archaeological Heritage at the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage, under the Portuguese Ministry of Culture. From 2000 to 2020, he worked at the Archaeological Park and Coa Park Foundation where he coordinated the Conservation Program of the Coa Valley open-air rock-art complex, co-coordinated the Educational Services at the Coa Museum, and managed social networks and website. His formal education includes a Bachelor's degree in History - Archaeology variant, University of Coimbra; a Master's in Management of Archaeological Sites, University College London; and a PhD in Archaeology, Bournemouth University. His research interests focus on prehistoric art, open-air rock-art management and conservation, education in museum environments, and cultural heritage communication strategies, namely within web and social media environments. He has published extensively on these matters, with a forthcoming Routledge book on Global Perspectives for the Conservation and Management of Open-Air Rock Art which includes a chapter on the impact for cultural heritage resulting from the recently built Sabor River dam in Northeastern Portugal.

Paulo Fernando da Graça Constantino

Spokesperson for proTEJO

Spokesperson for proTEJO - Movement for the Tagus, citizenship movement that assumes the mission of sensitizing and mobilizing citizens in defence of the Tagus River and its affluents in an ecological and cultural aspect, aiming to bring together all citizens and organizations for the defence of the river basin of Tagus. His passion for the Tagus River is due to have been born and living at Vila Nova da Barquinha, a riverside village of the Tagus River. The ecology in his life wasn’t originate in his degree in Economics, with a specialization in Monetary and Financial Economics, but in the learning of a New Water Culture.

Laura Caldeira - opening speech

The President of LNEC

Laura Caldeira has a PhD and an Aggregation degree in Civil Engineering, and the
Qualification for the Exercise of Scientific Coordination Functions at the National
Laboratory for Civil Engineering (LNEC). She is Principal Researcher and President of
LNEC, and an expert in the areas of Geotechnics, Earthquake Engineering, Dam Safety and Risk Management. She is a member of the Dam Safety Commission of ICOLD. She
has extensive experience in consulting the design, construction, and safety assessment
of embankment dams, in internal erosion and in the practical application of risk-
informed approaches to dam safety management.

Pedro Brufao Curiel

Senior Lecturer of Administrative Law at the University of Extremadura, Spain

Pedro Brufao Curiel is a Senior Lecturer of Administrative Law at the University of Extremadura, Spain. He holds a Ph. D. in Administrative Law at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and a Master of Laws in Enviornmental and Energy Law at Tulane University (New Orleans, USA), as a Fulbright Commission scholar.
Among his fields of interest, he pays a special attention to Water and Biodiversity Law, and the ways to get rivers and wetlands legally protected and restored. Besides, he took part as a advisor in the Groundwater Project of Fundación Botín, one of the main private foundations in Spain.

Helena Newell

Enterprise Manager at Rewilding Europe

Helena is Enterprise Manager for Rewilding Europe and Investment Manager for Rewilding Europe Capital. Helena works to develop initiatives and financial mechanisms which can scale rewilding and make Europe a wilder place. Helena works with businesses, organisations to develop sustainable business plans and financial models which can support wilder nature and which are viable businesses with diverse revenue streams. Helena is also working to develop financial mechanisms to support dam removal across Europe.

Prior to joining Rewilding Europe, Helena worked for two years at Conservation Capital working as a consultant in innovative finance and conservation business development. Helena developed business planning and financial modelling expertise working for PwC in London in their strategy consulting and merger acquisition advisory team. She has a MSc in Conservation Science from Imperial College London and a BA in Economics from Cambridge University.

Valentina Bastino

Policy officer at the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission

With an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford, Valentina joined the Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission in 2010, where she has worked on a number of different policy portfolios, including biodiversity and freshwater management. One of her responsibilities concerns the interface between freshwater policy, biodiversity, and nature protection policies, within the unit Sustainable Freshwater Management of DG Environment.
Before joining the European Commission, Valentina worked in two Brussels-based public affairs and communication firms, where she focused on EU environmental and transport policy.

Chris Bowser

Education Coordinator, Hudson River Estuary Program and Hudson River National Estuarine Research Reserve; NYS Water Resource Institute at Cornell University

Chris Bowser is the Education Coordinator for the NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and the Hudson River Research Reserve, in partnership with the Water Resource Institute of Cornell University. He also teaches environmental science at Marist College, and previously worked for the United States Peace Corps and the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

Andras Krolopp

Senior Policy Advisor and Biodiversity Lead for The Nature Conservancy Europe

Andras Krolopp is Senior Policy Advisor and Biodiversity Lead for TNC Europe, covering European governmental relations with special focus on the EU in support of TNC’s policy, conservation and public funding priorities, including both work in Europe, as well as globally. His specially focusing on the Convention on Biological Diversity, EU Biodiversity Strategy, Freshwater related issues and biodiversity finance. Prior joining TNC, Andras was working for IUCN (Brussels) first as Deputy Head for the Countdown 2010 Initiative, later as Senior Policy Advisor covering EU biodiversity and regional policies. He was also seconded to the Hungarian and Belgian Governments during their EU presidencies and covered Biodiversity Finance in preparations and during CBD COP in 2010. Previously Andras has worked with numerous NGOs in the cross-section of policy and conservation. Andras has degrees in Biology and Geography and an MSc in Environmental Management.

Paul Brotherton

Fresh Water Manager of Wetlands International Europe

Paul Brotherton is the Freshwater Manager of Wetlands International Europe. He has spent the past two decades at the intersection of conservation science, policy and communications in the US, EU and globally. Rivers run through his experiences – including the Hudson, Niger and Rhine – and he is a focal point in Europe seeking to influence and accelerate the implementation of EU freshwater-related laws, restore and protect free-flowing rivers and upscale nature-based solutions.
River hero Tore Solbakken from Norwegian angling club Gudbrandsdal Sportsfiskeforening initiated a campaign 5 years ago to remove a 7 m dam in this home town Fåvang (Norway), which was built over 100 years ago but hadn’t been used for the last 50 years.
© Rob Kleinjans (January 2022)

Dam Removal Europe

The overall ambition of Dam Removal Europe (DRE) is to restore rivers in Europe and prevent the extinction of migratory fish like eel, salmon, trout, catfish, sturgeon and hundreds more species who need free flowing rivers to reach their spawning grounds and fulfill their life cycles.  Currently, there are thousands of obsolete dams and weirs in Europe that are fragmenting the arteries of the continent.

DRE movement advocates for policy change and initiate the removal of (obsolete) dams and weirs in rivers in European rivers.  Together with our partners we raise awareness and support thousands of river practitioners with tools and knowledge for dam removal. By removing these barriers, we can once again have healthy free-flowing rivers full of fishes for all to benefit. JOIN US!”


  • Registrations open: March 8
  • Final program online: April 27
  • Final registration deadline: May 14

Registration & Refund Policy

The tickets for May 19 and 20 include lunch, coffee and tea. The ticket for May 21 includes bus rental and a meal. The bus will return in Lisbon around 6.00 pm local time.

By registering, you are accepting that we include your name and affiliation (no email addresses) on a registration list that we will facilitate to all attendees.

The tickets are refundable until 30 days before the event.

COVID | Measures implemented in Portugal

Travel – Mandatory to present

  • A valid vaccination EU Digital Covid Certificate;
  • Or a valid test or recovery EU Digital Covid Certificate;
  • Or a valid Vaccination Certificate;
  • Or a negative RT-PCR Test – 72h before boarding;
  • Or a negative Laboratorial Rapid Antigen Test – 24h before boarding.

Public Spaces and Events

Masks are no longer required when accessing most public spaces and events such as shops, restaurants, bars and hotels, among others.

Where/When is it required to use a face mask

  • Portugal still requires people to wear face masks on collective passenger transport, including aeroplanes, taxis and TVDE. On platforms and covered areas such as airports, maritime terminals, metro and train networks.
  • Health establishments and services – hospitals, pharmacies, care units, among others.
  • If you have a confirmed case of Covid-19.
  • If you had contact with a confirmed case of infection for 14 days after the date of last exposure.
First dam removal in Slovakia
© Rob Kleinjans (June 2021)

The program at glance

The event will take place in Lisbon, and it is expected around 200 visitors from all over Europe and the rest of the world. 

Download the full program here

May 19 & 20

Conference days which include a mixture of presentations on

  • Dam removal operations performed in various EU countries
  • Methodology of the removal, including issues associated with removals
  • Funding & Synergies opportunities
  • How to scale up and implement dam removal in an efficient way

May 21

Field trip to a riverine restoration site, including potential barriers to be removed.

Side events

The event also encloses World Fish Migration Day celebration and one of the highlights will be the Portuguese premiere of the DAMBUSTERS documentary.

Guadiana river, Portugal
©Lorenzo Quaglietta

The Location

Welcome to Lisbon!


LNEC: National Laboratory for Civil Engineering

Bus: 717, 731, 750, 783

Metro Lisboa: Alvalade station (green line)



Special hotel discounts | Download here

Don't wait too long to register, places are limited.

Once one of the last undammed wild rivers of Europe (currently unfortunately dammed), Sabor River, Trás os Montes, Portugal.
© Lorenzo Quaglietta


Rita Rodrigues |

Raquel Coelho  |

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