Raising awareness about benefits from river restoration

Aquatic environments provide many services to human societies, thus contributing to their development and well-being, called ecosystem services. The majority of these services depend on the status of ecosystems.

Ecosystem services are usually divided into four types:

  • Provisioning services include products resulting from ecosystems (food, water, fibres…)
  • Regulatory services are the benefits resulting from the regulation of ecosystemic processes (climate regulation, hydrological regulation, water purification, erosion and sedimentation…)
  • Cultural services include non-material benefits resulting from ecosystems (recreation and well-being services, religious and spiritual services, education and cultural heritage)
  • Support services comprise soil formation, the nutrient cycle and the water cycle.

River restoration can maintain and even increase these services provided by a healthy ecosystem. Communicating the importance of the services provided by ecosystems to the public can thus help obtaining comprehension and support in favour of restoration projects

Restoration measures enable to treat different types of pressures on water bodies (agricultural, industrial...). They contribute to the implementation of numerous water related European directives (water framework directive, flood directive, renewable energy directive, habitats directive…). 


For more information on the services provided by healthy aquatic environments and the benefits of river restoration for other policies, take a look at these following documents. Some communication tools, such as leaflets, videos, education ressources, are also presented in the second part below.

    Ecosystem services and river restoration benefits

    EN - AFB - 2017

    This document presents the history of the concept of river restoration, the French and international definitions, but also the diversity of practices and some reflexions about possible strategies for river restoration. A poster is also available.


    EN - Onema - 2013

    This document presents the results of a seminar held in 2011 in France, with the concept of ecosystem services, the application methods for integrated water management in Europe, recommendations for decision-makers and the fields where further research is required.

    EN - Onema - 2015

    Synthesis of a symposium, aimed at a professional audience, which highlighted the importance of head water streams and showed some good practices and ambitious territorial projects.

    EN - Onema - 2013

    This review of the literature presents the most noteworthy aspects of current knowledge and a number of examples on the relations between hydromorphology and nutrient-transformation processes.

    EN - Onema - 2015

    This workshop aimed to promote a better integration of European directives and policies through river restoration and natural water retention measures. The workshop was also focusing on the ways to improve local communities’ engagement in aquatic ecosystem restoration projects.

    Find out more by reading the guide to support the selection, design and implementation of Natural Water Retention Measures in Europe.

    EN - Onema - 2011

    This book provides managers with key concepts on addressing why assessments of ecological services rendered by aquatic environments are necessary and how the results of an assessment can be used.

    EN - Onema

    Viewpoints of 2 persons involved in aquatic environments issues, on ecosystem services.

    EN - Onema - 2010

    This fact sheet presents the different ecosystem services and their importance, especially concerning human societies

    EN - Onema - 2010

    This fact sheet presents why respecting the river dynamics is important, in terms of ecosystem services, biodiversity and for reaching good ecological status.

    Communication tools

    EN - OFB - 2022
    Online since:
    Wed, 09/07/2022

    This 3-minute animated film for elected officials and citizens presents possible nature-based actions to reduce the risk of flooding.

    EN - AFB - 2017

    Designed for a broad public, this 5 min animated movie explains how rivers are shaped and why it is crucial to preserve and restore their health.

    EN - ASTEE - 2021

    A video on the preservation of riparian vegetation.

    EN - ERN - 2016

    France has been working on dam removal for years. European Rivers Network presents, as an NGO engaged in the preservation of rivers, its views on the main actions implemented by the country for almost 30 years, and proposes some case studies, including the Brives-Charensac dam removal and the Blois mobil dam removal.

    EN - ERN & WWF - 2021

    Four factsheets to raise awareness on threats and impacts from hydropower to some French rivers.

    EN - Natural Regional Parks of Morvan and of Ballon des Vosges - 2017

    Through interviews with users and experts, this 31min movie presents the actions carried out in the context of the Life “Ecological Continuity” programme, and raises awareness about river issues. More films from the programme

    EN - OFB - 2021

    A video presenting the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon and the importance of knowledge to help its preservation.

    EN - RMC Water Agency - 2016

    This film, aimed at stakeholders involved in rivers management, presents and illustrates three key ideas, focusing on river restoration, to manage rivers: leaving more space to the river, slowing the speed of water and managing water at the watershed level.

    EN - Astee - 2019

    This video presents the benefits ecological engineering can have on flood protection, rainwater management, water quality in peri-urban areas and in harbours management.


     Association Migrateurs Rhône Méditerranée, Association Bretagne Grands Migrateurs

    Tools on migratory fishes are made available by these associations.

    EN - AFB - 2019

    France is taking part in the International year of the salmon! For this occasion, the French agency for biodiversity has gathered on line resources on Atlantic salmon stock management in France.


    Artois-Picardie, Adour-Garonne, Loire-Bretagne, Rhin-Meuse, Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse

    Water agencies provide educational resources for the general public on water issues.

    EN - AFB - 2018

    This 7 min video shows testimonies from local community representatives regarding the benefits of the river restoration actions undertaken in their river.

    EN - Onema - 2015

    Onema has produced a film to raise awareness among the general public of the alarming situation facing migratory fish, in France and other North Atlantic countries.

    EN - Université de Lorraine - 2013

    This one-hour film on the Moselle river and based on interviews with researchers emphases three key points: links between river and biodiversity; ecological services; the negative consequences of some human activities on the river‘s ecology.

    EN - Onema - 2010

    This document identifies environmental and regulatory reasons for restoring river continuity, and proposes possible solutions to that end.