In this second newsletter, we would like to inform you about the latest important developments of the project activities that will now be easier to follow thanks to the uploading to the web of the line-dedicated website.
We also would like to take the opportunity of wishing you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year on behalf of all staff members of the project.
Green light for the project CONFLUPO by the European Commission.
In the early days of last July, “the Inception Report” was sent both to the European Commission and to the monitor of the project headed by the external evaluation group, Astrale.
This complex document reports the development of the project Actions, its administrative and financial aspect, as well as hypothetic changes of plan compared with the first project draft, until it gets to the point of highlight possible problems to deal with. All this in according to the directive contained in a specific format developed by the LIFE program of the DG Environment of the European Commission.
In short, a real "x-ray" of the project!
This first detailed analysis aims to understand if the project is able to deal with the entire amount of goals it has set itself. Other three similar works in addition will follow this analysis as well as a periodic check up on behalf of monitor until 06/30/2017, end date of the project.
On 15.11.2013, the response of the DG Environment of the European Commission confirmed the achievement of objectives, giving the green light to the project.
As we pointed out in the last newsletter, the official website of Lombardy Region hosted the various information about the first step of the project.
In early December, a bilingual (Italian-English) website (http://www.life-conflupo.eu/prj2013/) was created and it will continue to be updated every six months for the entire duration of the project. In addition to rich multimedia content, it will become a true web-based platform in service not only to those working in the Life program but also to all the different stakeholders.
In this first version, the various actions are described in detail giving, for each, an indication of the current development, and addresses of the various partner and co-founder. Besides, through a link to the official website of the European Commission, an overview of “CONFLUPO” project, and more generally to “Life” projects, has been presented.
Particular emphasis was given to two of the project milestones, such as the construction of the fish pass to overcome the barrier of Isola Serafini, the activities of captive breeding, and the release into the wild with a subsequent monitoring work. All this, in order to support populations of five species of fish in strong decline, such as Adriatic sturgeon (Acipenser naccarii), South European nase (Protochondrostoma genei), Pigo (Rutilus pigus) Italian Nase (Chondrostoma soetta) and Common Barbel (Barbus Barbus).
For each of these activities has been created a dedicated page where the progress is summarized and various documents are supplied, after a summary of the various project actions that contribute to the realization of that particular activity, such as the preliminary design of the freshly prepared fish pass.
Soon will be implemented the section on networking activities with other projects working on similar issues related to the river reconnection and with the launch of specific actions, including that concerning educational activities and divulgation.
Moreover, as soon as possible, customers will be enabled to access a dedicated section in which the various stakeholders can interact directly with the project activities, both expressing their opinion or giving advice, both effectively participating some of the activities.
Developed the Isola Serafini Fish ladder Preliminary Project
As have already mentioned, one of the main activities on which the CONFLUPO Life project revolves is to restore the ecological reconnection of River Po, stopped about 300 km from the sea by the barrier of the Isola Serafini hydroelectric plant, managed by Enel Green Power SpA.
The first step towards the realization of this work is specified in Action A3 of this project, which is divided into two phases. First of all the construction of the Preliminary Project created to collect the different technical guidance, in order to finally reach, by 31/12 / 2013, the Final Design, which is the basic document of the entire procedure for the fish pass.
In mid-October, we presented the preliminary design, made after a long process that involved the entire staff of the project. The specific Technical Report (Attachment 05) reports the design. This document was also presented to the Technical-Scientific Committee of the province of Piacenza, which has to give his opinion about the final design, along with AIPO.
From the technical point of view, the choice dropped on this type of fish passes mainly because of the environmental and territorial context, the hypothetic conditions of steady-state operation, the requirements and possibilities of using the passage by the species defined as the target of the project.
By the way, the fish ladder in successive basin entails some other advantages. In fact it presents itself as a passive structure which doesn’t require routine maintenance and/or the constant presence of personnel dedicated also at the passing of fish. As instead, it would be necessary to the lift or the closed passes which, however, result less suitable to the purpose, also because there is the need to connect the two branches of the river valley with the upstream stretch.
For this reason we chose to build a fish ladder Y-shaped, that is to say it will be made of a double fish pass, with a single upstream inlet and two downstream inlets, one for each branch of the river. Po River, in fact, come from the mountain with single watercourse trend, downstream of Isola Serafini dam, and then it resumes its stream dividing itself in two branches. On the orographic left, the natural branch of the river describes a long meander of about 14 km, while on the orographic right there is the artificial branch, which meets the natural branch after about five kilometres run. The total lengths of the two fish pass branches as expected from preliminary design are 187.15 m for the track on the natural branch and 237.65 m for the track on artificial branch.
In the year 2008, Enel had to release a minimum flow of 98 cubic meters/sec in the natural river branch. So if the most part of the fish, until that moment, had used, coming from the valley, the right branch, today thanks to Enel activity the left branch is actually revitalized. In fact, fish going back upstream, now choose, finding themselves in front of a fork, the way of the natural branch early characterized by reduced flow rates. The need to connect both river branches at the upstream part with the fish pass comes from these facts.
Therefore, the designed work operates like a dual link but it has also the advantage of running all over the year without bounds from hydrologic period. This is possible thanks to Enel hydroelectric plant, which controls upstream the water levels.
Finally, we take some technical accessory decisions, useful from the point of view of management and maintenance, such as the system catch of large transiting specimens and the monitoring system, explained in detail in the final draft.