Mainstreaming Ecological Restoration of freshwater-related ecosystems in a Landscape context: INnovation, upscaling and transformation

Europe's environment is in an alarming state, with climate change expected to further aggravate the situation. This poses severe threats to economic prosperity, human wellbeing and social peace – our society needs systemic transformative change.

Ecosystem restoration is key to this change, and freshwaters play an important role: the restoration of streams, rivers, peatlands and wetlands has a long tradition and offers an extensive knowledge base – freshwaters are ideal demonstrators of the necessary change.

The MERLIN project commits to transformative ecosystem restoration, mainstreaming Nature-based Solutions for the urgent systemic change of our society.

MERLIN webinars

The MERLIN project is offering a monthy webinar-series on (freshwater) restoration-related topics.

Next webinar #15: Sept 04, 2023, 15h (CEST)

Speaker: N.N.

The MERLIN webinar series is taking a summer break, looking forward to see you in September.


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MERLIN Innovation Awards 2023

And the MIA - Winners 2023 are..

ecocean - MIA 2023 - winner "Product of the year"

Plastic Fischer - MIA 2023 - winner "Service of the year"

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Comments on the draft Nature Restoration Law

compiled by the EU-funded projects MERLIN, REST-COAST, SUPERB, WaterLANDS and PONDERFUL

Five large EU-funded research projects, all operating at the science-policy interface, jointly analysed the text of the draft Nature Restoration Law. The involved projects include the four projects funded under the Green Deal (Horizon2020) Area 7 topic “Restoring biodiversity and ecosystem services”, and represent 168 institutions working at the interface of environmental science, application and policy.

The recommendations listed below result from a science-policy workshop hold in Brussels on 25th November 2022 that was organised by the Research Executive Agency of the European Commission and DG R&I, and attended by the project coordinators and by representatives of EEA, JRC, DG-ENV, DG-AGRI, DG-MARE, DG-REGIO and DG-CLIMA.


Bringing Europe's freshwater back to life

Introducing the MERLIN project

MERLIN at 10th Nordic WFD Conference in Reykjavik/Iceland, Aug 2022

What MERLIN does

Demonstrating best-practice restoration

For 17 flagship restoration projects across Europe, MERLIN explores social, economic and environmental success factors, generating a blueprint for the proficient implementation of Nature-based Solutions suited for immediate replication.

With investing more than 10 million € in further hands-on upscaling measures, MERLIN upgrades these 17 projects into radiant beacons of innovation for the systemic change.

case studies

Upscaling into broader landscapes

MERLIN identifies landscapes with high potential and priority for transformative restoration, particularly focusing on essential ecosystem services, biodiversity targets, and climate change mitigation and adaption.

MERLIN illustrates environmental value chains as well as costs and benefits of Nature-based Solutions for selected European regions. This economic analysis demonstrates the opportunities for green business resulting from transformative restoration.

Engaging with investors and economic sectors

MERLIN delineates models for private investment into restoration alongside public funding, tailored to contexts specific for economic sectors and countries.

MERLIN’s initiatives maximize synergies across economic sectors, and transparently mediate trade-offs where necessary.

Win-win solutions to mainstream restoration

MERLIN closely collaborates with local communities and key economic sectors such as agriculture, water supply, navigation and insurance industry. Main focus is to co-develop win-win solutions spearheading systemic economic, social and environmental change.

MERLIN Marketplace and Academy

The MERLIN Marketplace connects restoration actors, offers restoration-related services, and brokers restoration financing. The MERLIN Academy multiplies the knowledge to mainstream freshwater restoration, addressing the community of practice, restoration project convenors, communities, investors and policy makers.
Academy & webinars

Partners in MERLIN

MERLIN is a ‘research and innovation action’ funded under the European Commission’s H2020 programme.

MERLIN involves 44 partners from across Europe, including universities, research institutes, nature conservation organizations, and stakeholders from business, government, and municipalities.

Merlin partners

... large-scale river and floodplain restoration investments can provide a major economic boost for the restoration sector and for local socioeconomic activities such as tourism and recreation ...

EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030