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Aim: Former floodplains in many European countries increasingly suffer from serious floods due to intensified human activities and a climatic change. These floods cause safety problems, ecological problems and economic losses. At the same time, highly valuable floodplain habitats are degrading. There is growing awareness amongst stakeholders and scientists that establishing floodplains and wetlands may offer interesting opportunities to decrease the risk of floods while allowing development of natural habitats at the same time. It could be a cost effective and sustainable way of alleviating floods, droughts, maintain and restore valuable ecosystems, protect surface and groundwater and provide recreational and educational opportunities. This requires an integrated vision. However, there is a knowledge gap between research fields, and scientific output is often not appropriate for stakeholders. The long-term objective of EcoFlood is to stimulate creation of floodplains that protect the environment against floods and provide opportunities for restoration and development of highly valuable habitats at the same time. EcoFlood contributes to this long-term objective by means of a comprehensive manual, being the main deliverable of a scientific conference, a stakeholder workshop and a so-called thinktank meeting. During these meetings information will be combined on scientific knowledge; practical problems and scientific gaps and insecurities. EcoFlood contributes to this long-term objective by compiling comprehensive guidelines for creation of natural flood defences based on the present information. Main activities: The EcoFlood project consists of the following main activities: - Scientific Conference 'EcoFlood: Towards natural flood reduction strategies' (September 2003) - Stakeholder workshop Practical constraints and opportunities (January 2004) - Thinktank meeting (June 2004) - Elaboration of Guidelines for constructing natural flood defences (end of 2004) - Communication and dissemination of results (during the entire project period) Results: EcoFlood conference: The conference was organised by Warsaw Agricultural University and The Institute for Land Reclamation and Grassland Farming (IMUZ). During May and June the consortium assisted in the review of abstracts. Some 120 professionals from 19 European countries participated in the conference. The topics discussed were: - Hydrological efficiency - Biogeochemistry of floodplains - Ecological response - Reference areas & processes - Socio-economic opportunities & constraints - Valuation of natural flood defences Many aspects of flood control in river valleys were discussed. Two excursions were part of the programme: one to the valley of Vistula River and the other to Biebrza and Narew Rivers. The proceedings (on CD-ROM) were handed out at the conference. A selection of papers will be published in peer reviewed special issues of Journals. Further information can be found on the project web site: levis.sggw.waw.pl/ecoflood/ Publications: Mioduszewski W., E.P. Querner and A. Slesicka, 2003. Analysis of hydrological aspects in the lower Biebrza basin. Ecoflood Conference, Warsaw, Sept 2003. Dutch partners. Congres in Polen over Kennisbundeling rond waterberging: Behoud van natuurlijke overstromingsvlaktes van groot belang. H2O 2003 (36) no. 20.