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An EU initiative is mapping dams and barriers across the continent to identify those that need to be restored or lifted. The database could help strike a balance between economic gain and environmental sustainability.

Efforts to demolish older, obsolete dams have intensified since the adoption of the EU’s Water Framework Directive in 2000. According to some estimatesby the Dam Removal Europe network, at least 5 000 obstacles of various sizes have been lifted from rivers in Europe so far. But this process has to be managed carefully to achieve a more efficient restoration of stream connectivity.

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