Status: complete

Categorization: habitat and biodiversity, agriculture, water quality

Country: Italy

Period: 01.01.2010 / 30.06.2014

Contact info

Name: Roberta Pascolini

Organization: Lazio Region


Contact address: Via del Giorgione 129 - 00147 Roma


Summary description: REWETLAND is a wide-area programme for improving the quality of surface water in the Agro Pontino by means of natural purification techniques. In order to facilitate the introduction of these techniques in the Agro Pontino, the Province of Latina elaborated a project together with the Municipality of Latina, the Circeo National Park, the Land Reclamation Consortium of Agro Pontino, and the consulting company U-Space. The project, co-financed by the LIFE+ Programme of the European Commission, has been implemented for four years; during this period, four pilot projects have been carried out, good practices and guidelines for the introduction of constructed wetlands in the Pontine area have been elaborated, and a programme of future interventions has been drafted and included within the local wide-area strategic programming, involving 19 municipalities of the Province. The quality of the Pontine waters and the necessary interventions for its improvement are therefore the main theme of this best practice and the multilevel governance has been the key to its success. Starting from the results of the project, the Province of Latina promoted three River Contracts of the Agro Pontino: Cavata-Linea Pio, Lake of Paola, Amaseno, Sisto-Ufente.

Type: program

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, further challenges

EU Principles: (ii) planning for the long term, (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance, (v) promoting awareness and commitment

Reason of interest for COASTING: -Construction of a shared strategy for a wide-area environmental restoration through a participatory planning process, combining the demands of local stakeholders; -cross-sectoral approach for the resolution of specific territorial problems; -Identification of solutions to local problems by involving multi-sectorial stakeholders; -promotion of public-private partnerships for the resolution of environmental criticalities; -innovative and effective environmental campaign for scholars and citizens

Financial information

Budget: 3,706,632.00 €

Financial sources: Eu-Cofinancing: 1.450.566 €

Background information

Territorial context: The Pontine Plain is the result of the Great Land Reclamation of the 1920s a drastic work of mechanical draining of wetlands, which has deeply modified the Pontine hydrography, topography, biodiversity, urbanisation, economy and landscape. Although the agricultural economy still characterizes this area, the progressive industrialization of agriculture have led to an alteration of the natural landscape. The tourism sector occupies an important part of the economy and in recent years has experienced a strong expansion. The main tourist destinations are obviously the seaside resorts (Sabaudia, San Felice Circeo and Terracina). A considerable attractive power is determined by the Circeo National Park. Around 200 hotels offer hospitality, with a constant increase in non-hotel facilities such as agritourism, b&b, holiday homes, hostels. In the tourism sector the seasonal gap in demand is very strong, and for the near future the goal is to reduce it by increasing the attractiveness of the territory in different periods of the year.

Relation to policies and strategies: The good practice is not framed within wider sustainable tourism policies.

Regulation framework: - Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) - D.Lgs 152/06

Specific information

Objectives: The main objective of the project REWETLAND was to improve the quality of the surface waters of Agro Pontino, which, following detailed studies, has been proved to be under “poor” and “very bad” conditions in most canals and watercourses, according to the parameters established by the Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), introducing a diffuse natural water purification system. With this aim the project, besides the implementation of four pilot projects, drafted an innovative wide area planning tool called “Integrated Environmental Restoration Programme of Agro Pontino.

Developers (and governance): •Province of Latina •19 municipalities of the Province

Beneficiaries: Main beneficiaries were the municipalities of the Pontine Plain, the Province of Latina, the Lazio Region, citizens and farmers of the area.

Innovation aspects: The Environmental Restoration Programme (ERP) for the Agro Pontino is an innovative planning tool as it does not fall within the typologies expressly provided for by territorial planning or by national and/or regional sector planning. It works on a local scale and is functional to achieving the objectives contained in Directive 2000/60/EC, and in Legislative Decree Lgs 152/06.

Actions: - Pilot project 1 - Filter ecosystem in the Circeo National Park - Pilot project 2 - Urban park in Marina di Latina - Pilot project 3 - Buffer strips along the reclamation canals - Pilot project 4 - Good practices of water management in a farm - Definition of the Environmental restoration programme for the Agro Pontino with its specific Action Plan, guide lines, 20 project sheets. - Environmental and educational policies (specific labs for schools on landscape and sustainable business management

Stakeholders involvement: Great commitment has been paid to the activities of participation, consultation and debate with the local stakeholders. Many segments of the local community have been involved in labs/workshops, allowing the elaboration of a SWOT analysis, result of a systematisation of their individual perceptions, and whose results have been included in the ERP. Farmers and pupils of the secondary schools, professionals and environmental associations, industry representatives and simple citizens interested in environmental quality. These frequent, and sometimes conflicting, contacts with the local communities have produced considerations that have been used later in the development of the Programme.

Results achieved: The achieved results have been: - a contribution to the implementation of EU policies related to waters through instruments, data and examples concerning the impact of widespread artificial wetlands; - a development of a participated process of environmental restoration; - the implementation of actions for monitoring the effectiveness of wetlands and buffer strips. - the awareness raising on the waters pollution of the Pontine Plain and on the application of the natural purification systems.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: The most challenging elements were related to the participatory process and in particular to the necessity of creating a dialogue within different kind of stakeholders (public administrators, professionals, researchers, but also farmers, entrepreneurs, students, and citizens) and to the necessity of actively engaging the farmers, a difficult target group to make aware of the environmental issues.

Success factors: The involvement of local public bodies responsible for water quality were pivotal for the success of the good practice, besides the inclusion of the latter and its guidelines in a programme of future interventions. This programme was finally transposed in the strategic planning of a wide area with the involvement of 19 municipalities in the territory of the Province of Latina.

Transferability in COASTING project: The transferability may concern the adoption of a participatory process for the construction of a wide area planning instrument, aimed at protecting the environment and the landscape. Furthermore, the Provincial Authority's capability to involve and agree on the municipalities of its territory is also virtuous, through the shared adoption of a unique plan which has also allowed the start of numerous river contracts. The awareness raising activities through the itinerant info point in the municipalities of the Agro Pontino and the educational campaign such as the school labs for 1.600 pupils of the primary and secondary school were also important experiences to be transferred.