Salt Marshes - protection and restoration using bio-engineering techniques

Reference: LIFE99 NAT/IT/006246 | Acronym: Barene

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

Since 1939 the Venetian Lagoon, in the Northern Adriatic, has been classified as a protected exceptional landscape and environment. The north of the lagoon in particular, which is proposed as a Site of Community Importance, is the most natural part of it. It is the most extensive wetland in Italy and the only one in the Northern Adriatic, which has all the features of saline wetlands.

The sandbanks, which consist of consolidated sediment and its vegetation, is the most typical biotope in this environment, rich in habitats and species which have been assigned priority by Directive 92/43/EEC.

The lagoon landscape is gradually deteriorating as the sandbanks disappear. This is because there are not enough deposits of river sediment and also because of natural erosion, which is aggravated by the wash of fast motorboats. Recent studies in the northern part of the lagoon have showed that sandbanks are receding by one metre in winter and as much as ten metres in the summer, as a result of the increase in water traffic.


OBJECTIVES

The basic aim of the project was to restore and protect various morphological and vegetation features of the sandbanks, within an area of more than 1000 hectares. The preoject included measures to enable ecosystems to become more resistant to negative influences in order to improve the conservation of saline habitats of community interest.

Various bioengineering techniques were to be used to halt this degradation, all of low impact or temporary, and not affecting the environmental, morphological, hydrodynamic or landscape features of the sandbanks.

Beach-fill techniques were to be used to reconstruct sandbanks where erosion is worst, and initial colonies of salt-loving plants were to be sown or planted to stabilise them. The realization of biodegradable structures to combat erosion in the water surrounding the sandbanks and to encourage the growth of bivalves and algae were also foreseen.


RESULTS

The project has been concluded positively, obtaining all the foreseen objectives.The main achievements of the project are listed below.

  • The project can be considered a pilot experience: different structures (sacks, fences, gabions) with different biodegradability degrees have been experimented in the site in order to evaluate the best technique to be used at a larger scale for the restoration of the sandbanks. A plant nursery was realised for plants to be used to stabilize sandbanks. 2000 seeds of various halophytes species were collected. 10.000 seedlings of Spartina marittima , 5.000 of Puccinellia palustris, 4.000 of Halimione portulacoides, 5.000 of various halophyte species and selected seeds useful for sowing a surface of 800 m2 were produced in the nursery. The techniques and the knowledge acquired during the project can be exported in other similar environmental situations of the Venice lagoon.
  • The beneficiary was able to bring in the project the experience and co-operation from other lagoon areas in Europe (Wadden Sea, Germany).
  • The benefiary was very active in relations with local stakeholders, in particular fishermen, and administrations.
  • Four local young workers have been involved in the project for the management of the plant nursery and will continue to manage the plant nursery for the cultivation of the halophyte species.
  • The project has given a significant contribution to raising awareness of the existence of the Natura 2000 network in all competent administrations in Venice.

    The project has been concluded positively, obtaining all the foreseen objectives.The main achievements of the project are listed below.

  • The project can be considered a pilot experience: different structures (sacks, fences, gabions) with different biodegradability degrees have been experimented in the site in order to evaluate the best technique to be used at a larger scale for the restoration of the sandbanks. A plant nursery was realised for plants to be used to stabilize sandbanks. 2000 seeds of various halophytes species were collected. 10.000 seedlings of Spartina marittima , 5.000 of Puccinellia palustris, 4.000 of Halimione portulacoides, 5.000 of various halophyte species and selected seeds useful for sowing a surface of 800 m2 were produced in the nursery. The techniques and the knowledge acquired during the project can be exported in other similar environmental situations of the Venice lagoon.
  • The beneficiary was able to bring in the project the experience and co-operation from other lagoon areas in Europe (Wadden Sea, Germany).
  • The benefiary was very active in relations with local stakeholders, in particular fishermen, and administrations.
  • Four local young workers have been involved in the project for the management of the plant nursery and will continue to manage the plant nursery for the cultivation of the halophyte species.
  • The project has given a significant contribution to raising awareness of the existence of the Natura 2000 network in all competent administrations in Venice.

  • ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE99 NAT/IT/006246
    Acronym: Barene
    Start Date: 01/10/1999
    End Date: 31/03/2002
    Total Eligible Budget: 0 €
    EU Contribution: 567,586 €
    Project Location:

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Magistrato alle Acque (VE)
    Legal Status: OTHER
    Address: Palazzo dei dieci Savi - S. Polo, 19, 30125, Venezia, Italia
    Contact Person:
    Email:
    Website: Visit Website


    LIFE Project Map

    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Coastal

    KEYWORDS

    • introduction of plant species
    • landscape protection
    • coastal area
    • wetland
    • restoration measure
    • protected area

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

    TARGET HABITAT TYPES

    • 1140 - Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide
    • 1150 - Coastal lagoons
    • 1320 - Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae)
    • 1410 - Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)
    • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
    • 1510 - Mediterranean salt steppes (Limonietalia)

    SPECIES

    • None or non applicable

    NATURA 2000 SITES

    Type Code Name
    SCI IT3250031 Laguna superiore di Venezia

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    Magistrato alle Acque (VE) Coordinator
    Comune di Venezia-IT Participant
    Forschungsstelle Kuste-DE Participant

    READ MORE

    Type Resource
    Brochure Progetto LIFE Natura 1999 Barene-Protezione e recupero con tecniche di ingegneria naturalistica