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The Dam Removal Europe Award 2023 goes to…

By April 16, 20242 Comments

The Dam Removal Europe Award 2023 goes to… Portugal!

GEOTA winning the DRE Award
GEOTA from Portugal, winner of the Dam Removal Award 2023

Thanks to the removal of the Vaqueiros Weir in the Alviela River, GEOTA from Portugal was crowned winner of the Dam Removal Award 2023 during a ceremony held Tuesday, April 16, at the Free Flow Conference, in Groningen, The Netherlands.

After being pre-selected as one of the top three projects by an independent jury of international experts, an open voting round took place in which the public voted on their favourite finalist project. The jury’s and the public’s opinions were considered on a 50-50 ratio and the final count of votes elected Portugal as the Dam Removal Europe Award 2023 winner.

Learn more about the winning project: Removal of the Vaqueiros Weir in the Alviela River, Portugal.

In a pioneer intervention, GEOTA restored a 100m section of the Alviela River, stabilizing banks, recovering the riparian gallery, and reestablishing river connectivity in 3.3 km by removing the Vaqueiros Weir.

The Vaqueiros Weir was a significant barrier to river flow, measuring approximately 14 metres wide and 1.1 metre high. This project was a milestone for the dam removal movement in Portugal as, following the removal completion, the Minister for Environment and Climate Action announced the initiation of a National Program for the Removal of Obsolete Barriers.

This removal was made possible thanks to funding from the MAVA Foundation and the support of DIMFE, the municipalities of Santarém and Alcanena, the Portuguese Environment Agency, and E. Rio, a river restoration company.

Vaqueiros Weir before and after removal (© GEOTA)

The award is hosted by Dam Removal Europe, the World Fish Migration Foundation, the European Investment Bank, The Nature Conservancy, and supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery and Forest Peace Foundation. 

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