WaterLANDS – European Green Deal project will lead largescale restoration of European wetlands


WaterLANDS: Water-based solutions for carbon storage,  people and wilderness

Project objective

WaterLANDS will undertake hands-on restoration of specific wetland sites, covering an initial 10,500 ha, and create best practice models that can be applied to wetland restoration at other sites. By engaging with local communities and stakeholders, the project will ensure that wetland restoration results not only in environmental gains, but also social and economic benefits for the communities involved.

The five-year project is led by University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland and brings together 31 other organisations from research, industry, government and non-profit sectors in 14 European countries.



The Tour du Valat contributes to the project by integrating lessons learned from its restoration actions in the Camargue. These lessons concern both environmental and governance issues. The exchange of experiences aims to improve the effectiveness of restoration on new sites in Europe.

Actions & methodology

WaterLANDS revolves around 6–8 large-scale wetland restoration initiatives or “living labs”, in different stages of implementation across the European Union: from unprotected wetlands with no  measures, to newly established wetlands beginning remediation works, through financed plans at the  verge of implementation, to fully implemented restoration efforts. Connectivity with communities in  design, implementation and management is essential, to learn from the wealth of local experience and

knowledge and ensure the long-term resilience of projects, tailored to the socio-ecological  conditionality of each site. By sharing ecological, community, governance and financial expertise, the  reshaping of attitudes to wetlands, and the modes of their sustainable conservation and exploitation,  can be effected.

We believe that to build more sustainable and resilient landscapes, restoration of ecosystem services  should go hand-in-hand with development of socio-economic incentives. We aim to assess and  demonstrate how this can be achieved in different landscape and social settings through a  Participatory Action Research (PAR) model. More specifically we aim to:

1) Identify bottlenecks and solutions for upscaling wetland restoration at the landscape level

2) Develop process-indicators that enable assessment of restoration success (service  provisioning, socio-economic embedding and financial sustainability)

3) Demonstrate successful restoration pathways/trajectories and associated business models

4) Incubate scalable innovation across the “living lab” network and beyond the life of this project,  to build healthy rural communities supported by the ecosystem services provided by  functioning wetlands.


About WaterLANDS



Technical partners

Financiel partners