Our vision is to help local communities achieve better, healthier rivers for people and nature.

BRF seeks to turn innovation into river restoration through advocacy, consultancy, education, and the development of economic incentives, including co-participation mechanisms and crowdfunding. 

One key objective of BRF is the development of the Blue Rivers Flag award as a mechanism to recognize and incentivize river restoration.  

We need healthy rivers because for two billion people, they are the only source of drinking water

Rivers and their floodplains rank among some of the most threatened ecosystems in the world, but provide also some of the most valuable services to society. 

One of the main impacts on rivers is the fragmentation caused by artificial barriers to free flow, BRF thus places a special emphasis on the restoration of river integrity and fluvial connectivity in its various dimensions.

BRF has the know-how, resources and vision to deliver the paradigm shift necessary to reverse the loss biodiversity and begin to heal Europe’s broken rivers, making them better for people and Nature.


Here's an overview of the current projects we are working on.

Open Rivers Programme

Formulating indicators, targets and an approach for monitoring the Open Rivers Programme - Scoping Report

Danube 4 All

We work in improving the quality of the Danube River

Blue Rivers Flag

We are developing a certification scheme for rivers


The Blue Rivers Foundation (BRF) is a not-for profit organization registered in the Netherlands who seeks to improve the state of rivers in Europe and globally by promoting and incentivizing research, education and training on river restoration and conservation. 

We are a proud member of the ECRR
Chairman of the Board

Carlos Garcia de Leaniz

Carlos is the Chair of Aquatic BioSciences at Swansea University (UK) and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR). He obtained a BSc in Marine Biology at the University of Victoria (BC, Canada) and a PhD (Zoology) at the University Aberdeen (UK), followed by post-doctoral research at the University of Glasgow and ZSL London. Carlos led AMBER, a Horizon 2020 project that assessed the extent of river fragmentation across Europe and developed tools to quantify and mitigate barrier impacts.

- Carlos Garcia de Leaniz , BSc, PhD
- Chair in Aquatic BioSciences
- Director, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research
- Swansea University
- Department of BioSciences
- Singleton Campus
- Swansea SA2 8PP UK

Secretary and Executive Board Member

Stefano Ferrari

Stefano is Managing Director & Partner at management4health GmbH (m4h) and Managing Director & Partner at management4ecosystems GmbH (m4eco). Both companies are engaged in international development cooperations programmes in health and environmental topics for governments and international financing institutions. He is graduated at the Politecnico Engineering School in Milan (Italy), and obtained a Master in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and an dual Executive MBA at the European Business School (EBS) and Durham Business School (DUBS).

Stefano has experience in managing multi-sector organisations and he led several teams and projects in Europe, Asia, Africa and Middle-East. He is very passionate about ecosystem conservation and restoration in general, and of rivers in particular.

Vice-Chairman of the Board

Piotr Parasiewicz

Piotr is a civil and environmental engineer and ecologist, educated on the University of Agricultural Sciences in Vienna. After his tenure at Cornell University and University of Massachusetts he is currently department head of River fisheries Institute of the National Inland Fisheries Research Institute in Poland, and serves as a director of Rushing Rivers Institute in USA. Piotr is an expert in ecohydraulics, a developer of MesoHABSIM, a multiscale approach for instream habitat modelling. He participated in development of Water Framework Directive and AMBER, a Horizon 2020 project that assessed the extent of river fragmentation across Europe and developed tools to quantify and mitigate barrier impacts.

Martin Pusch

Martin is a senior scientist with expertises in lake and river ecology and management at Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) in Berlin. He has been lecturing as an associate professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin and at the University of Potsdam for two decades, respectively. His research focuses on the ecology and management of mountain streams, lowland rivers and lakes and often combines basic research on microbial ecology, aquatic invertebrates or the metabolism of matter with topics of water management, as river training, hydropower, inland navigation, ecological status assessment or ecosystem services provided by rivers and floodplains.
Non-Executive Board Member

Jesse O'Hanley

Jesse is a Professor of Environmental Systems Management at University of Kent (UK) and Associate Dean of Research & Innovation at Kent Business School. He obtained both his BSc in Biological Sciences (with dept. honours) and his MSc in Engineering-Economic Systems & Operations Research from Stanford University and earned a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy & Management from University of California, Berkeley. Prior to joining Kent, Jesse worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford and before that was a management consultant to high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. He is the 2015 winner of the prestigious EURO Excellence in Practice Award in recognition for the development of a state-of-the-art decision support tools for river connectivity restoration.

- Jesse O’Hanley, BSc, MSc, PhD
- Professor of Environmental Systems Management
- Associate Dean of Research & Innovation
- Kent Business School

Executive Board Member

Tom van de Beek

Tom is an allround ecopreneur and movement builder. He is the founder of The Tipping Point Foundation and The Pollinators Foundation. Tom has a Masters degree in Business Communications at the Radboud University Nijmegen and is an avid amplifier for biodiversity and ecology. Besides, Tom qualifies as a Warm Data host at the International Bateson Institute in Stockholm, and last but not least: he loves the outdoors.
Non-Executive Board Member

Gilles Segura

Office Director at ISE. Member of Amber International, seeking to apply adaptive management to the operation of barriers in European rivers to achieve a more effective and efficient restoration of stream connectivity

Together we work towards pristine river ecosystems

Registration number: 86329553

©  Blue Rivers Foundation 2024