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Seyhan is a municipality and district of Adana Province, Turkey - the fifth most populous municipality in the country. Seyhan is the first settlement area of Adana and currently the administrative, business and cultural center of the city. The Seyhan River is the longest river in Turkey that flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Large population density, urban sprawl and intensive agriculture present in the region since ancient times have resulted in extensive interventions such as dams and reinforced concrete banks - introduced to prevent seasonal floodings, control afterbays and discharges and to support significant irrigation - actually wiping out the riparian belt and the natural vegetation buffers, amongst other issues. 

The project aims to provide for chief stakeholder-driven, community-owned and consensus-based development of a Restoration Roadmap focused on the single section of river bank (owned by the municipality). This objective combines the following functions: a micro flood-plain, recreational public space and biodiversity hot-spot. It will be aimed at restoring the riparian zone, vegetation buffers, aquatic and river belt habitats and bridging ecological corridors, curbing the runoffs, inter alia, piloted at the selected portion of Lower Seyhan River Basin. 

The pilot project location is in the planning process and it is hoped the project will demonstrate affordable, accessible and replicable micro-scale NBS restoration measures. Raising ecological awareness and community engagement in Restoration Lab meets the objectives of DANUBE4all and EU Mission “Restore our Ocean and Waters”.

What are the project’s priorities? 

The major Seyhan Dam upstream of Adana serves for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and flood control. Yedigöze, Çatalan and Kavşak Bendi are the other dams on Seyhan River that also serve the same purposes. The river is 
currently under extensive development for hydroelectric power and irrigation. The former floodplain was completely reshaped into an agricultural landscape additionally affected by urban sprawl, which is associated with a number of problems, most of which are expected to become more significant because of climate change.


Therefore, the project's priorities are to show that there is a feasible alternative to extensive river regulation, which secures water supply but also protects biodiversity. Additionally, success of the project relies on the direct 
involvement of citizens and stakeholders, which will ensure that they understand the goals of the Restoration Roadmap and are not sceptical towards Nature Based Solutions. 

How will the learnings from DANUBE4all help the project in its river restoration goals? 

Ex ante problem mapping will help to identify major challenges related to the Lower Seyhan Restoration Lab. Participatory events (Ecosystem-services Living Lab and Aggregation seminar) will give us detailed information on 
how those affected by the Restoration Roadmap perceive NBSs and why they might feel their livelihoods are threatened by them. We will also find out which of the solutions are most acceptable and most likely to be replicated outside the project within local communities. Finally, with the help from the experts we will establish what specific Nature Based Solutions are best suited for Lower Seyhan and how they can be replicated in other areas. 


Through engaging citizens in the planning of Nature Based Solution (NbS) via a Lower Seyhan Restoration Lab, the aim is to raise ecological awareness and civic involvement in environmental issues, present micro scale restoration measures and to convince sceptical local communities that these vital environmental interventions do not pose a threat to their livelihoods. 

What can citizens do to protect our waters for future generations?

We need to work with citizens to show them that rivers must be perceived as more than just a resource and that it is in their interest to maintain biodiversity and natural flow of rivers. We need to save water consumption where possible and reduce production which requires high water consumption. We also need to facilitate understanding of how citizens and businesses can benefit from nature based solutions instead of feeling threatened by them.


This requires a long term approach and should involve not only citizens, but local public authorities, farmers and companies using the water. Provided there is a shared understanding that we need to look beyond short term gains and particular interest, we believe it is possible to restore and preserve waters for future generations. 

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