Launch of the first online Global Freshwater Biodiversity Atlas: Biofresh

Biofresh LogoA new online Atlas of freshwater biodiversity presenting spatial information and species distribution patterns has been launched. It provides policy-makers, water managers and scientists with an online, open-access and interactive gateway to key geographical information and spatial data on freshwater biodiversity across different scales. The Atlas is a resource for better, evidenced-based decision making in the area of water policy, science and management. The Atlas is an output of BioFresh – an EU-funded project that is putting together the scattered pieces of information about life in our rivers and lakes, to better understand, manage and protect our freshwaters for generations to come.

BioFresh information platform

REFRESH stakeholder meeting in Ankara, Turkey

METU Presentation December 2013In December REFRESH Partner Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) organised a stakeholder meeting in Ankara attended by 55 people. The audience comprised scientists from a number of Universities, the Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs, General Directorate for State Hydraulic Works, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Environment and City Planning, Ministry of EU Affairs, Nature conservation centre and TEMA-The Turkish Foundation of Combating Soil Erosion for Reforestation and the Protection of Natural Habitats.

The audience were introduced to the project before REFRESH scientists presented results from the stream and lake work programme. The work being undertaken in Turkey was also showcased. The relevance of REFRESH output for policy and management was highlighted and the audience participated in discussion sessions following each presentation. The presentations from the workshop were filmed and these are available to view on Youtube at

Sharing Experience across Scotland and England - James Hutton Institute, 29 November 2013

A mini symposium was held at the James Hutton Institute on awareness/behavioural aspects of diffuse water pollution. The aim was to exchange experiences and plans for research to support implementation and uptake of measures to improve water quality through behavioural change. Results from the EU FP7 REFRESH Project and the Scottish Government Research Programme were presented by researchers from The James Hutton Institute. Key messages for policy guidance and advice were identified and discussed.

Andrew Lovett and Emily Vrain from the University of East Anglia presented research undertaken under Defra’s Demonstration Test Catchments Programme, presenting findings on farmers and farm advisors’ views on likelihood of adoption of mitigation measures.

Peter Wright from the Scottish Protection Agency presented Scotland’s Rural Diffuse Pollution Plan and the Priority Catchments strategy.

Symposium attendees were also given the chance to briefly present their current work in this area. Synergies and potential collaboration across Scotland and England were explored and further research developments were discussed, including how some of the methodological challenges identified in the REFRESH project could be addressed in the future.

REFRESH Stakeholder meeting, Norway - Workshop on Vansjø

VasjoA REFRESH stakeholder meeting Stakeholder workshop took place in Norway, 21-22 October 2013 at the Dillingøy conference centre located on the shores of Lake Vansjø (one of the REFRESH demonstration sites) in the Moss Municipality.

Approximately 40 participants attended, including representatives from municipal and country administrations, farmers association, boat owners association, drinking water company, agriculture authorities, wastewater consultants. Scientists from REFRESH (Work packages 3,5,6,7) and others working on Vansjø and its eutrophication problems were also participating.

The meeting saw presentations of REFRESH work at Vansjø including scenarios (storylines) for ca. 50 years into the future given various options for abating nutrient inputs combined with climate projections. A REFRESH participant from Denmark presented an overview of similar problems in Denmark and how these are dealt with.

Stakeholders responded to the presentations and engaged in discussions regarding measures to achieve good ecological status, and the costs and willingness to pay. There was also discussions about the means available to the authorities -- subsidies, taxes, regulatory restrictions etc

There was also a a session on wider benefits of measures, and REFRESH scientists received a lot of new and useful information on that topic.

A report from the workshop will be prepared as a deliverable from REFRESH