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The project goal is the conservation of habitats and species of Natura 2000 sites in the delta of the river Po
The Delta of the river Po is the only true delta in Italy and contains the most complex national wetlands system. Large tracts of originally present wetlands have been cleared, the remaining parts of the valleys have not been reclaimed as used for the activity of extensive lagoon fish breeding, whose basic principle is the fish breeding in the natural environment, in which the fry feed using what they find there.
In the Veneto Region, these valleys are privately owned and occupy about a third of the surface area of SCI IT3270017 " Delta del Po: tratto terminale e delta Veneto" and the SPA IT3270023 "Delta del Po".
In Emilia-Romagna, the SIC-SPA IT4060002 "Valli di Comacchio" is instead 90% publicly owned and about 80% is dedicated to extensive lagoon fish breeding. This project has therefore identified the continuation of extensive lagoon fish breeding and consequently the involvement at various levels of stakeholders, particularly the private breeder in Veneto area, as a key element for the conservation of these sites. This project also involves with common goals the two Regional Parks in which the Po Delta is currently divided, therefore it shows an organizzational value of objectives and actions on an area that is geographically uniform but divided by two separate administrative skills.
This project will then start a sharing and participation process of the conservation goals for the Natura 2000 Network sites, between private landowners and public bodies, which recognizes the value of extensive lagoon fish breeding as productive activity that has contributed to the preservation of wide wetlands. For the first time the Ente Parco Delta del Po Veneto works within private areas (Valle Bagliona and Valle Ca 'Pisani) with conservation actions on habitats and bird species, in particular Sternidae. At the same time, such actions are functional also to the extensive lagoon fish breeding activities  as they improve the water circulation.
Moreover, these areas will be opened to a regulated tourism fruition, previously precluded because of private property. This process will be ratified by a specific agreement between the Ente Parco Delta del Po Veneto and private owners, representing the first demonstration action, which pave the way for other similar agreements with the owners of other basins valleys present in the Natura 2000 sites.
The southern part of the Po Delta is managed by Parco Delta del Po of Emilia-Romagna, but the arrangement of the property is proportionally different. In fact most of the surface of the SIC-SPA IT4060002 "Valli di Comacchio" is public property, and a recent agreement provides the sale of a private area, the Boscoforte peninsula, to the park itself.
However, even in the Valli di Comacchio extensive lagoon fish breeding takes place, conducted by the Park. Likewise conservation actions on habitats and birds species, in particular Sternidae, will be carried out , at the same time improving the water circulation, functional activity also for lagoon fish breeding.
The two main basins of the Valli di Comacchio are affected by a serious eutrophication problems resulting from intensive aquaculture activities performed in the 70s. In these basins the water circulation is completely artificial regulated. This threat will be faced by improving the water circulation and implementing a model to reduce the nutrient supply from freshwater. Freshwater from the Rhine River, the only freshwater source, is recognized as the main source of nutrients in the catchment. The model has been developed during the project LIFE00NAT/IT7215.
In delta wetlands water circulation concerns both freshwater and marine waters, either essential for the proper balance and protection of habitats; so actions will be carried out also in favor of valuable amphibians and reptiles at precarious conservation status or which, however, limited information are available: Pelobates fuscus insubricus *, Emys orbicularis. The main threat to this species is the lack of breeding habitat and the lack of knowledge about the population status.
The involvement of private entrepreneurs as active players in the Natura 2000 sites conservation has already been tested through several LIFE projects, as shown in the "Natura 2000 newsletter: business and biodiversity, Issue 24, June 2008". In this project, however, a not yet experienced positive example, concerning extensive aquaculture, is presented.
From a purely technical point of view interventions for habitats aim to improve water circulation into the Valli di Comacchio (SCI-SPA IT4060002),  Sacca di Scardovari, Valle Bagliona and Ca 'Pisani (by SCI IT3270017, "Delta del Po: tratto terminale e delta Veneto" and SPA IT3270023, "Delta del Po"). Interventions for species concern instead the restoring of existing nest sites and the creation of new sites. The interventions here formally distinguished in habitats and species operations are not mutually exclusive, especially with regard to the birds, since the hydraulic circulation works involve the excavation of sub-lagoon channels, in which the resulting sediments are used for creating bumps for nesting Sternidae species. All works on amphibians and reptiles species concern Bosco Nordio (SCI-SPA IT3250032) and Cà Mello (a small totally fresh water area in the Sacca di Scardovari).

It is worth noting that in the basins involved, except Sacca di Scardovari, the water circulation is totally artificial and/or anyway artificially regulated by a system of locks and draining pumps. Interventions in the Valli di Comacchio start from the main sub-lagoon channel linked to the sea and then developed within the valleys and extend to the western portion called Valle Fossa di Porto.
The Sacca di Scardovari communicate with the sea through two mouths, which will be dredged up to the sub-lagoon channels which carry the water in the northern portion.
Restoration of freshwater habitats suitable for amphibians and reptiles will be performed in Bosco Nordio and Cà Mello. In Cà Mello is expected to restore some habitat suitable for the nesting of Alcedo atthis.
For dissemination actions, the involvement of the mass media and the local communities through the implementation of a specific program of environmental education and a process of involvement and awareness of stakeholders are foreseen. For this purpose, specific informational product will be realized: booklets, brochure, a video documentary as well as website and posters.
Two structures will also be made for visiting the sites, and a further existing private facility will be open to the public: the first structure will take place in Bosco Nordio, with the construction of a basement which will allow the view of a freshwater pond; the second structure includes the recovery of a small room adjoining the existing Museo della Bonifica di Cà Vendramin, which will exhibit the works carried out.
The third structure, privately owned and located in the Ca'Pisani valley, will be opened and used as a teaching laboratory and facilities for tourists; for this purpose a specific agreement between the Po Delta Veneto Park Authority and the property owner will be signed.
A Management Plan for Valli di Comacchio will be realized within this project, while Management Plan for SCI and ZPS of Veneto Region are already in progress.