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January 28, 2013 / landscapeiskingston

Tales of the Riverbank: Vidzeme, Latvia river regeneration.

The following article describes how local stakeholders of the Waterways Forward project partner, Vidzeme in Latvia, have used the development of a Regional Stakeholder Platform (RSP) and a Regional Action Plan to support the regeneration of local river systems.

Visualisation of Non-intervention approach in rivers: Eutrophication, Sedimentation,Tunnelling, Beaver

Visualisation of Non-intervention approach in rivers: Eutrophication, Sedimentation,Tunnelling, Beaver

Vidzeme has many small rivers which are suitable for tourism and recreation, but large parts of them are neglected – with abatis and dead trees, the banks are covered with reed.  So it’s important to inform local communities how to maintain these rivers. At Vidzeme’s Regional Stakeholder Platform (RSP) meetings they held practical workshops and visits to the riverbank to tackle the problem. This involved abatis removal and excavation of the Siberian hogweed. Local people got involved and such was the interest that it featured on Latvian television.
http://intranet.vidzeme.lv/images/Upload/Dalies_ar_failiem/wf_upju_talka.7z

Giving back  river functionality: before and after images Vidseme, Latvia

Giving back river functionality: before and after images Vidzeme, Latvia

At a subsequent RSP meeting the group were updated on further activities in the Waterways Forward project, their Regional Action Plans, ways to increase tourism and recreation use of their inland waterways, and how to make these a nature and business resource rather than merely a ‘protective zone’. This message was stressed to representatives of municipalities, waterways owners, and managers, who were encouraged to make better use of these water resources. Participants were able to see waterways planning issues in another dimension. Experts shared their knowledge how to involve the public in the planning process by new and attractive approaches.  Environmental experts Loreta Urtāne and Andris Urtāns gave a lecture on the waterways potential uses for local authorities and presented Vidzeme’s RAP and guidelines.

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