These proceedings of the International Conference 'Novel Approaches to Assess and Rehabilitate Modified Rivers', which took place from 30th June to 2nd July 2015 in Wageningen (the Netherlands), contain the extended summaries of nearly all keynotes and oral presentations as well as several poster presentations. They are preceeded by a description of the scope, objectives and topics of the conference, feedback from the advisory and a visual impression of conference. The contributions are grouped within the six conference topics:
- Assessment and rehabilitation of hydromorphological processes in rivers
- Discerning the impact of hydromorphological modification from other stressors
- Achievements by restoration and mitigation practices
- How to improve the (cost-)effectiveness of river rehabilitation?
- Benefits of river rehabilitation and synergies with other uses (flood protection, navigation, agriculture, hydropower)
- Linking science to practice: tools to assess river status and guide rehabilitation to optimize river basin management
The much appreciated and successful scientific conference was organized to highlight the importance of the benefits of river restoration. 170 participants from 26 countries shared experiences, aspirations, challenges, analytical frameworks and new approaches to enhance the success of river restoration and to come to a better understanding of the consequences of hydro-morphological changes to the ecological status of running waters. The conference attracted universities and research institutes, environmental management organisations, NGOs and consulting firms in the field of river restoration. 15 keynote lectures from Europe, North America and New Zealand, 58 oral presentations in breakout sessions and 38 posters provided the ingredients and inspiration for animated conversations during the breaks.
Among others, evidence outlined by the conference speakers and participants gave fundamental insights into how rivers work, and presented a wide span of research from global to catchment and all the way down to the species level. It became evident that attention is shifting towards reflecting on the river in its full scope including the role of the riparian zone and the floodplain for ecosystem functioning. Keynote and oral presentations made a case for the need to develop more process-oriented restoration measures, and to consider hydromorphological changes and their evolution both in terms of space and time. A lot of inspiration for further work was given by presentations on the application of biotic indices for the assessment of river ecological conditions as well as by a multitude of case studies presented on the achievements by restoration and mitigation practices in Europe and beyond. The conference also provided a platform for exchanging experiences and ongoing work on the challenging issues of socioeconomic assessments related to river restoration, tools and strategies for more closely linking science to the practitioner level.