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River banks rehabilitation programme

: This program for the rehabilitation of beds and riverbanks across the country is expected to cover 5,000 kilometers of water lines over the next few years. The initiative multiplies by five the work carried out after the 2017 fires, which allowed intervention, with natural engineering solutions, in the recovery of almost one thousand kilometers of riparian galleries in 57 municipalities in the Center and North of the Country. Implementing hydraulic passages of dams and pontoons, always using natural-based engineering, besides that many trees have been planted. The intention is not only to renaturalize water courses but to rehabilitate, on its margins, the riparian galleries for which, in an urban context, there is often no space.
: Portugal
: Northern, Central and Western areas of the country
: Different areas of the country
: 2017
: Ongoing
: Yes
: Portuguese Environmental Funds
: 40.032863
: -8.401538
Increased infiltration, water retention and flood protection
Yes, the rehabilitation of the river banks has a significat effect to reduce soil erosion, enhance the water flow lines and flood protection (Coentrão, 2020).
Improved water quality
Yes, the reconstitution of vegetation on the banks of the river banks through increase in vegetation improved also water quality (Coentrão, 2020).
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, the implemented NbS in the area aims to enhance the shading of the streams and therefore, decreasing the occurrence of fires (Coentrão, 2020)
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, there are now also additional spaces available that are visible examples of the restoration of this type of natural structure due to the rehabilitation of ecosystems on the rivers banks (Coentrão, 2020).
Ecosystem restoration and/or improved ecological connectivity
Yes, the rehabilitation program has the overall goal of restoring the river banks and improving the vegetation cover.
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, the rehabilitation program for riverbeds and riverbanks based on the implementation of NbS would cover 5,000 kilometres of riparian galleries in 57 municipalities in the middle and north of the country (Coentrão, 2020).
Sustainable urbanisation
Yes, implemented natural-based solutions aimed to guarantee the drainage of the water lines, to minimize erosion and soil dragging and to reduce the effect of floods and floods eliminate. Rehabilitated riparian galleries are also an excellent "fire break” and will mitigate the impacts of climate change. (Coentrão, 2020).
Improved aesthetic value
Creation of green jobs relating to the construction and maintenance of NBS
Yes, the set of works on this project helped to develop a know-how in the area of NBS, in the sectors of forestry and environmental engineering and civil construction, which increased the number of suitable companies performing this type of work in Portugal (Coentrão, 2020).
Increased willingness, participation, investment in NBS
Provision of health benefits
Yes, due to the elimination of flood risks, forest fires and climate change mitigation.
Education, knowledge exchange and learning
Yes, project activities have helped to develop know-how in the field of nature-based solutions in the forestry and forestry sectors (Coentrão, 2020).
Flooding risk
Yes, one of the objectives of this project is to reduce flooding risk by rehabilitating the rivers bank thus reducing soil erosion and enhancing the water flow lines (Coentrão, 2020).
Low water quality
Yes, degradated ecosystems on the rivers banks due fires and flooding events have a significant effect on water quality (Coentrão, 2020).
Drought and heat risk
Yes, riparian gallery is highly effective to stop fires thus mitigating the impacts of climate change in regions with high vulnerability to fires (Coentrão, 2020).
Loss of biodiversity
Yes, the project actions are aimed at areas more prone to biodiversity loss due to higher vulnerability to fires.
Ecosystem degradation
Yes, fires in the region has left many slopes stripped of vegetation, and a land conducive to the degradation of water courses in the valleys, in several areas.
Low aesthetic value
Yes, due forest fires and flooding events.
Negative environmental impacts on human health
Yes, one of the Mediterranean's population health risk has been associated with increased water demand and forest fires. (Linares et al; 2020).
Limited knowledge about biodiversity
Good health and well-being (SDG3)
Clean water and sanitation (SDG6)
Sustainable cities and communities (SDG11)
Climate action, resilience, mitigation and adaptation (SDG13)
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
: Coentrão, A. 2020. Governo quer reabilitar seis mil quilómetros de ribeiras em todo o país. Information obtained: 2021-01-12. Available at:

Linares, C., Díaz, J., Negev, M., Martínez, G.S., Debono, R. and Paz, S. 2020. Impacts of climate change on the public health of the Mediterranean Basin population - current situation, projections, preparedness and adaptation. Environmental Research, 182:109107 Available at: