Rivers in Europe, have been significantly affected by the intensification of agriculture and the urbanization since the 1950s. Modifications and degradations of the natural state have occurred, with rivers being rectified, channelized, and disconnected from their natural floodplains. As a consequence, the usual ecological services that a river in a good ecological status can offer have been degraded: flooding mitigation, landscape aspects, leisure & wellbeing, biodiversity bank, auto-purification, aquifer recharge, climate change resilience, tool for rural tourism and economic development (clean water for business, agriculture and citizens).
There is a need to restore rivers to their optimal functionality, taking account of the role they can play as green infrastructures and in the social and economic life of the countryside. Legislation is already favorable in Europe for such initiative, mainly through the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the Floods Directive.
Rivières de Wallonie was set up to valorize the river ecosystems. It acts as a platform catalyzing hydromorphological restoration projects, awareness raising activities, and development of sustainable rural economic activities linked to rivers.
In a first phase, Rivières de Wallonie aims to develop small scale restoration projects where various stakeholders are pulled together. The methodology of such project can then be replicated along the river, and on other water basins.
The initiative focuses primarily on two rivers in the South of Belgium: the Bocq, and the Eau Blanche. It has identified river stretches and stakeholders to implement the first two pilot projects.
Our team is made of three experts on aquatic ecosystems, who shared the same observation about the status of rivers. Sébastien is an agriculture and forest engineer specialized in river ecosystem management. Philippe is a skilled hydrobiologist who developed a passion for filming, and specialized in producing nature movies. Tanguy on his part is also bio-engineer, focusing on project development.