Dordogne basin
Biosphere Reserve

Coordinating structure / Administrative authority

Etablissement Public Territorial du bassin de la Dordogne (EPIDOR)

Contact information

Raphaël MICHAU (biosphere reserve coordinator)

Main features and specificities

The longest estuary in Europe.
The middle part of the Dordogne basin is a large karst area, one of the longest underground networks in the world.
The last refuge of the eight major diadromous migrating fish in Western Europe (Atlantic salmon, European sturgeon, eel, shad species, lamprey species).
The Upper Dordogne Basin hosts one of France’s largest dam chains.
Several areas and sites recognised on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Prehistoric sites of the Vézère Valley, Juridiction of Saint-Emilion…).

Cultural and social particularities linked to rivers

One of the main European sites for freshwater recreational activities.
The Dordogne was a historically important water shipping way.
Professional fishing.

Main problems and concerns

  • water pollution (eutrophication, toxic substances)
  • morphological deterioration of river beds
  • biodiversity loss
  • loss of flooding areas
  • hydropower impacts
  • conflicts between water and land use
  • invasive species
  • disappearing of river-related cultural heritages (knowledge, identity…)

Main know-how, skills and specialties

  • Dialogue and Governance at a watershed scale
  • Migratory fish
  • Integration of hydropower activity
  • River restoration

Current scientific research topics and actions

  • Climate change
  • Hydromorphology of water courses
  • “Territorial knowledge”

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