Water-based solutions for carbon storage, people and wilderness

The Challenge

Wetlands provide essential services for landscapes and society by retaining and purifying water, removing pollutants and excess nutrients, storing atmospheric carbon, moderating flooding and coastal storms, supporting an immense variety of wildlife, and offering recreational, well-being and employment opportunities to surrounding communities. However, when mismanaged, these valuable services are lost. There is an urgent need to scale up from restoring isolated wetland reserves and move towards redesigning wetland landscapes.

About the Project

WaterLANDS aims to restore wetland sites across Europe which have been damaged by human activity and to lay the foundations for upscaling protection across more areas. The project will undertake hands-on restoration of specific wetland sites, covering an initial 10,500 hectares, and create best practice models that can be applied to wetland restoration at other sites. By engaging with local communities, policy makers and other stakeholders, the project will ensure that wetland restoration results not only in environmental gains, but also social and economic benefits for the communities involved. Identifying viable investible propositions for wetlands will also help establish long-term financial support for scalability.

The five-year project is led by University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland and brings together 32 organisations from research, industry, government and non-profit sectors in 14 European countries.

Expected Results

The partners will work together to ensure the resilience and health of both wetland habitats and the communities who rely on them. The following results are expected:

    • Demonstration of large-scale wetland restoration.
    • Identified barriers to restoration and integrated solutions for upscaling.
    • Cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary collaboration to co-create wetland restoration.
    • Maintained and enhanced natural carbon sinks.
    • A community-led paradigm in the co-design of wetland restoration, empowering, engaging and reconnecting with nature.
    • Tailored financial solutions and resources for restoration of wetlands.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101036484 (WaterLANDS). This output reflects the views of the authors, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Designed and developed by ERINN Innovation Ltd.

Project information and results

 Visit the Waterlands website to find out more about the project. You can also read some of the project results and find useful resources here.

Project Manager: Craig Bullock

Deputy Project Manager: Shane Mc Guinness

CWF - Waterlands Project Officer: Kate Flood