Wetland Contract of the Caorle lagoon system

Wetland Contract of the Caorle lagoon system


Status: complete

Categorization: habitat and biodiversity, agriculture, water quality

Country: Italy

Period: 16.11.2016 / 31.10.2019

Contact info

Name: Veneto Agricoltura

Organization: Veneto Agricoltura

Email: info@venetoagricoltura.org



Summary description: The heterogeneity of the Vallevecchia lagoon site makes the development of a wetland contract challenging because of the number of different public authorities and stakeholders involved in the area. The lagoon is a vulnerable interconnected environments, hugely contributing to biodiversity. Their protection intertwines scientific-environmental aspects and governance concerns. The implementation of this participatory management process of the territory is integrated in the Interreg WETLAND and put the basis for further participative processes in the Mediterranean area.

Type: project

EU Challenges for sustainable tourism: (i) preserving and giving value to natural and cultural heritage and diversity, (iii) enhancing local community prosperity and quality of life

EU Principles: (i) taking a holistic and integrated approach (economic, social and environmental aspects), (iii) involving stakeholders, (iv) multilevel governance, (v) promoting awareness and commitment

Reason of interest for COASTING: The great importance of testing the wetland contract of the Caorle Lagoon System as a voluntary, inclusive and integrated governance process emerged from the observations that many public bodies have competences in the management of wetlands, agricultural lands, fishing areas, navigation, hunting, environmental protection, etc. and there is a clear lack of coordination capable of defining the common interests of resources users in this kind of fragile environment.

Financial information

Budget: 0.00 €

Financial sources: Co-funded by European Regional Development Fund - The Interreg MED WETNET funded the starting of the governance process.

Background information

Territorial context: The Valle Vecchia area is located between the beach towns of Caorle and Bibione, in the Province of Venice, and is the only non-urbanized coastal site in the northern Adriatic area. It spans over a total area of 800 hectares, half of which is characterized by important environmental sites: coastal pine and lowland forests, hedges, and wetlands. 377 hectares of farmland are used for rotating crops (maize, winter wheat, soybean, rapeseed, sorghum, alfalfa, meadows and vegetables). The area is characterized by a wide range of natural and artificial waterways (the latter linked to reclamation activities). The most important rivers are the Tagliamento, Livenza and Lemene. The Nicesolo and Lovi lagoon-channels cross and collect in the lagoons of Caorle and Bibione. As regards the settlement system, two distinct areas are distinguished: the densely urbanized coastline with large seaside resorts and the extensive reclaimed territory behind it, characterized by highly developed agriculture and fishery ponds toward the coast.

Relation to policies and strategies:

Regulation framework: Italy and Veneto Region already have a regulatory framework for Environmental Contracts (River/Lake/Wetland). The main regulations concerning the Environmental Contracts are: National Charter of River Contracts (2010). National Environmental Code art. 68-bis. Regional Law 3/2013, which formally adopted the River Contracts with article 42 paragraphs 1. The Wetland Contract of the Caorle Lagoon System - adapted to the Italian national legislation in the form of a negotiated agreement.

Specific information

Objectives: The experimental trials carried out in the farm are focused on sustainability and natural resources: water quality and management, conservation agriculture, precision farming, dune conservation and wildlife monitoring. Vallevecchia farm hosts several European projects, in particular those of the LIFE Programme.

Developers (and governance): Veneto Region - Veneto Agricoltura.

Beneficiaries: Local communities, farmers, tourists.

Innovation aspects: Multilevel and multistakeholder approach

Actions: The process includes 55 actions: - 25 relating to defining and recognizing a "representative institutional model" of single reference for the coordination of the various actors, by stimulating and activating actions for the management, protection, in the Caorle lagoon system; - 2 relating to the hydraulic protection of the area from the risk of flooding and sediment from the canals - 2 relating to creating a network of meters to monitor all the data needed to define and know the current lagoon dynamics, in order to plan and plan the interventions on an extended and integrated knowledge base; - 11 related to establishing an operational program that takes account of all components of the system, through an integrated approach capable of restoring lagoon dynamics, ensuring and consolidating the protection, promotion and development of the wetland area; - 15 related to consolidating and/or promoting instruments and actions for the protection and enhancement of the territory.

Stakeholders involvement: The participative process developed between September 2018 and October 2019 engaged around 50 stakeholders that were previously identified and mapped. According to the path established by the Project, it began with a detailed analysis of the context and with public conferences with experts, addressed to the various stakeholders in order to clarify the main issues emerged in the first general meetings and in the previous attempts to start a similar initiative.

Results achieved: It were signed the memorandum of understanding by 14 stakeholders and in November of 2019 began the signing phase of the Wetland Contract. This was the first wetland contract developed and signed in Italy.

Potential for learning and transfer

Challenges and obstacles: Some difficulties identified during the participatory process were the low involvement of some relevant stakeholders at the management level, the difficulty of some subjects to submit proposals. Some other difficulties emerged in gaining confidence from the most skeptical subjects and convincing some institutions to participate because they were not accustomed to sharing information with other parties.

Success factors: One of the main features (and bets) of the wetland contract of the Caorle Lagoon system is the postponement of the final choice of those responsible for the actions identified in the action plan and the identification of the sources of funding. The choice was dictated not only by the strict terms for signing the contract, but also by the will to test a different way of defining and implementing individual actions.

Transferability in COASTING project: Improved governance - based on a more transparent and inclusive governance model that goes beyond the previous excessively separate governance schemes. • Empowerment of the local community - through the creation of new channels for the exchange of knowledge and the preparation of concrete actions. • A new common vision of the future scenario trend was shared. • Greater awareness of local stakeholders on the fragility of the wetland system and pressures on ecosystems; • Empowerment of local stakeholders to monitor and preserve the quality of the wetland; • Improvement of the dialogue between different interest groups; • Greater awareness of decision-makers on the importance and effectiveness of the governance process.