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Dam Removal Award

By March 8, 2022March 31st, 2022No Comments

European Dam Removal Award 2021

The ambition of Dam Removal Europe is to restore rivers in Europe that have high natural or cultural importance. Many of these rivers are fragmented by obsolete dams and weirs. By removing these barriers, we can once again have healthy free-flowing rivers full of fish for all to benefit. Removal of obsolete barriers has been recognized as a viable and cost-effective river restoration tool and is included in the European Commission’s Biodiversity Strategy 2030, which set the target of opening at least 25.000 km of free-flowing rivers by removing primarily obsolete barriers.

About the award

Dam Removal Europe presents the annual Dam Removal Award. This is first of its kind in Europe. We celebrate the most innovative and inspiring barrier removals from European rivers. We want to praise dam removal practitioners, river-users, communities and authorities who gave their hearts into these projects and enable them to keep up with good work to restore free-flowing rivers. The award is hosted by Dam Removal Europe, World Fish Migration Foundation, WWF, the European Investment Bank and supported by the Dutch Postcode Lottery. The most inspiring project will be awarded 10.000 euro towards team’s next removal! Runners up will not be left empty-handed.

This year’s award is an occasion to mark the best dam removal project from 2021 in Europe. Its purpose is to make the civil society coalitions who complete successful removals proud of what they have achieved and encourage them to continue working in this field in the future.  And if you and others are proud, then let that inspire more people to follow in your footsteps!

Nominations are open till April 8, 2022. The Award will be announced at the upcoming Dam Removal Europe Seminar in Portugal (May 19 -21, 2022).

UPDATE: deadline extended !!

Submit your project before April 15, 2022

How to apply?

Share your awesome initiative in our online application form HERE. The application has 23 fields and will take you about one hour to complete. It contains contact information, technical details about the project with required upload of 2 photos of the project site and 4 main open questions for you to present the uniqueness of the project. The open questions however have limited number of characters. We also give you an opportunity to prepare max 1-minute-long video and answer the question no.23 in a creative way. The application form is open for submissions between March 8 and April 15, 2022.  The video can be sent to Neza Posnjak ( before the nomination’s deadline stated above.

Our rules:

  • The barrier removal project must have been finished in 2021.
  • 1 project per organisation (or partnership of organisations) can be nominated.
  • Projects can only be submitted by the primary organisation responsible for the execution of the project.
  • Only 1 organisation can apply on behalf of a partnership or coalition.
  • One barrier removal project can also mean that multiple barrier removals were completed in 2021.
  • Only complete applications submitted by the deadline will be taken into account.
  • We will not discuss or justify the choices of the jury and outside of discovery of disqualifying facts, all decisions are final.
  • By submitting your pictures, you agree that the Dam Removal Europe can use them in our communication. Make sure to include any photo credit and/or copyright information.

Selection process

After the closing period for nominations our jury members will review eligible applications and select top 5 nominations and among those the winner. The winner will be announced during the official award ceremony, which will take place as part of the Dam Removal Europe International Seminar in Lisbon on May 19 and 20, 2022.  The nominated 5 projects will be informed about the nomination before the ceremony.

Disclaimer: The selection procedure will be done by independent team to prevent potential conflicts of interest. For the Dam Removal Europe partners which are also removing dams themselves, this will mean that they will not be involved in the pre-selection nor the jury procedure.

Criteria for selection

Selection of the top five projects will be made against the following criteria:

  • Relative importance of the project for the river, reasons for removal, and rationale for removing the barrier.
  • Scalability and replication potential of the project, involvement of stakeholders.
  • Ecological, social and economic impacts of the removal.
  • Statement of why the project should win the award.

The Jury

The Dam Removal Award jury is international and interdisciplinary. The five members are experts in nature conservation, freshwater ecosystems, fish and community innovations. Each of them brings their perspective on barrier removal and river restoration and together they create a balanced team.

The award

The 5 nominated projects will be invited to the Dam Removal Europe seminar in Portugal and will receive 2 free entry tickets per project. The monetary prize for the most inspiring project is 10.000 euro, which is to be spent on the winners’ next removal. Beside the cash prize, the winner will be given the Happy Fish statue and will hold/own it for a year until it they hand it over to the next years’s winner. A symbolic gesture that connects removals around Europe. Runners-up will receive practical prizes.

Please submit your application before the April 15, 2022!

For any further questions regarding the application, please contact :

Don’t be shy, every removal counts! Every removal is unique and no matter the size it takes a lot of time and effort to make it happen.



Submit here
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