Conservation and restoration of fluvial ecosystems is, with no doubt, one of today’s big environmental challenges. Iberian rivers, streams and watercourses are, in more or less degree, far from their ecological optimum level.
In the Iberian Peninsula, at least a third of these ecosystems is very degraded in both structure and water quality and 60% of the wetlands and thousands of kilometres that would mitigate the damage caused by floods have disappeared.
Today’s water management model that “markets” with most of the water that flows through the rivers, dries up watercourses generating severe damages to ecosystems. Massive occupation of the floodplains by agricultural lands or the incessant urban growth, pollution from urban, industrial or agricultural sources, overexploitation of water for irrigation porpoises and lack of environmental sensitivity in the society contributes to aggravate this situation.
In this context the Iberian Centre for River Restoration (CIREF) was created as a non profit association, linked to European Centre for River Restoration (ECRRfollowing examples of other European countries as DenmarkDCVR), Italy (CIRF) or United Kingdom (RRC).
- To promote participation, support and advise public and private activities and initiatives that have as goal to protect, preserve and restore fluvial systems.
- To establish and maintain relationships and adequate representation in public or private institutions that touch upon the scope of the Centre, collaborating with them in which may be beneficial for fluvial systems.
- To promote and design technical documents and educational resources to use at High School, Universities or others to disseminate knowledge in river ecology and restoration.
- To disseminate and defend fluvial ecosystem values, to collaborate in the fight against their degradation due to pollution, dredging, channelization, flow regulation, reservoirs and occupation of riversides and floodplains.
- To promote international projects or other sustainable development cooperation activities, compatible with conservation and restoration of fluvial ecosystems.
- To promote de information exchange among the experts that develop or participate in the conceptual development of river restoration projects, with the goal of improving the technical quality of the projects.
- Creation of a river restoration action’s inventory for the Iberian Peninsula, in which all the information needed to understand the problem and its solution is offered so it can be used as reference.
- Publication of monographs about different aspects of river restoration
- Creation of a glossary (in Spanish and English)
- Creation of an electronic bulletin as communication channel about new techniques/materials and possible funding sources (Interreg, Life+, R+D, etc...), subsidies, regulations, etc.
- Promotion of volunteering activities and communication and sensitize campaigns.
- Organization of technical seminars and training courses.
- Editing of a scientific-technical journal on river restoration.