'Trebbia' Integrated project
Date du début: 1 mai 2001,
Date de fin: 31 déc. 2003
The River Trebbia flows from the Ligurian and Emilian Apennines to the Po, which it reaches near Piacenza. The central stretch of the river between the villages of Bobbio and Perino, which is about 12 km long, offers a remarkable diversity of habitats, with hilly terrain, areas of extensive agriculture and zones of riverine sand covered with woods, heath and dry grassland. Among the habitats of Community interest are gallery forests of Salix and Populus and a riparian vegetation with Salix eleagnos and Cenopodietum rubri typical of submontane rivers. There are seven fish species of Community interest in the river, while the woods are home to Pernis apivorus, Circaetus gallicus, Milvus milvus and Milvus migrans. The open areas support communities of birds associated with extensively managed meadowland and pasture.
The designation of three pSCIs (proposed sites of Community importance) covering a total of almost 7 000 ha reflected the significance at EU level of the habitats and species to be found there. However, simply designating sites of Community importance is not enough to fix the damage caused by human impact, due to the many built-up areas, motorway construction, works to regulate water courses, reafforestation with non native trees, tourism and the abandonment of traditional agricultural practices.
With this project the beneficiary intended to launch a campaign to safeguard and enhance the habitats and species of Community interest in the three proposed Natura 2000 sites in the province of Piacenza. The many actions planned included purchasing land, building a fish ladder, stabilising a landslide by appropriate re-planting techniques, carrying out works to benefit benthic fauna, creating and improving wetlands for amphibians, biological waste water treatment operations, conserving nesting habitats for birds of prey, and making environmental improvements for species of open habitats. Also planned were reafforestation and forest maintenance, the building of facilities for wardering and for visitors, and nature and environmental awareness and education campaigns.
The project experienced some delays due to slowness of the administrative procedures and poor weather conditions, including a rainy summer during 2002, followed by a severe drought in the summer of 2003. These problems affected the success of some of the main objectives, although all the planned actions were completed.
For example, the following four actions were completed, but only in the final phase of the project: this meant there was not enough time for monitoring to assess the impacts. And although a planned biotope was built, the beneficiary reported that this restoration action failed due to insufficient waterproofing of the ponds, which resulted in unfavourable conditions for the targeted amphibians.
Actions completed were:
restoration of river ecosystem through removal of cement and stabilising âthalwegâ (valley way);
removal of obstacles for fish species through the building of fish ladder;
reducing impact of landslide; and
creation of a biotope.Unfortunately, planned works to encourage diversification of the river ecosystem through realisation of models to reduce river current speed were not carried out, due to unforeseen bureaucratic constraints.
Improvements in the water quality of the river through the realisation of a new eco-filter and improvements to two phytodepuration plants were successfully implemented. Monitoring indicated that the quality of water has increased after the conclusion of the LIFE actions. The positive impact on habitat and species is expected to be verifiable in some years.
Another achievement was the promotion of forest management practices aimed at (i) improving the environmental quality of artificial pinewoods for species of Community interest and (ii) improving the riparian woods. The mountain community of Piacenza has agreed to continue the forestry actions started under LIFE, financed under the Regional Development Plan. And the positive effects of the restoration of the riparian woods are expected to be verifiable in the longer-term when the plants placed will be sufficiently mature.
Finally, the project monitoring has resulted in updated information on the status of the site habitats and species of the sites. The beneficiary concluded that this data will be useful for the realisation of future restoration works in these areas. Another positive result has been that the local authorities recognized the importance of the public awareness about the sites, as prior to the LIFE project there was little knowledge about their high nature value.
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