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This past September 140 experts from 23 different countries met in the city of Hudiksvall, Sweden, 300 km north of Stockholm.

 

There, they participated in a conference on dam removal projects in Europe and across the globe. Over two days, participants enjoyed presentations from a wide range of viewpoints by ecologists, engineers, politicians, social activists, NGOs, and the energy sector themselves. Questions abounded and the halls of the beautiful Kulturhuset building in Hudiksvall were full of energetic conversations.

© Iwan Hoving

Of course, hearing stories and seeing photos of removed barriers (or those on their way out) is great, but what would an international conference on dam removal be without actually seeing some dams! Luckily, the municipality of Hudiksvall recently removed two barriers in the river Nianån, and a neighboring municipality, Nordanstig, has plans to remove two hydroelectric stations in the river Gnarpsån as part of their mission to become Sweden’s first barrier-free municipality. Both municipalities have a challenging task ahead of them as Sweden’s waterways contain over 10.000 barriers, but if the drive and determination of the Dam Removal Europe 2018 conference attendees is any indication, we are well on our way.

Author: Andrew Harbicht; Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Environmental and Life Sciences/Biology; Karlstad University.

Check our events page for the conference presentations which will be uploaded within the next two weeks.