Working with nature

18 January 2018

Nature and transport benefit from Inland waterway projects which aim to improve navigability, connect rivers and renature river banks.

Waterways are arteries of life. Inland waterway projects develop ‘win-win’ solutions that benefit nature and transport. With stakeholder engagement, win-win options are identified. Next to improving navigability, river branches are reconnected and river banks are renaturated to protect wetland habitats.

PIANC, the World Association of Waterborne Transport Infrastructure developed in 2008 the ‘Working with Nature’ approach. Waterway managers have shifted in the last decades to waterway development projects which result in win-win solutions for waterway transport and nature. They also take into account other functions as water management, anticipation to climate change and clean energy generation.

All waterway infrastructure projects in the EU nowadays focus on achieving the project objectives in an ecosystem context rather than assessing the consequences of a predefined project design. This leads to win-win solutions rather than simply minimising ecological harm.

The ‘Working with Nature’ approach consists of the following:
1. Establish project needs and objectives
2. Understand the environment
3. Make meaningful use of stakeholder engagement and identify win-win options
4. Prepare project proposals/design to benefit navigation and nature

More on the approach
PIANC working with Nature 
Platina Good Practice manual 
Joint Statement Initiative 

Working with nature