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Call for interest: the results of selection


Among the activities planned to promote the transferability and replicability of the project, on 1st December 2019 the Life Lagoon Refresh Called for Interest to select six sites where transfer and replicate strategy, actions and methods of the Project, through a busy program of visits, preparations of scenarios and activities to follow in the After-Life of the Life Lagoon Refresh. The activity is specifically directed at Water Managers, Researchers, professional and technicians dealing with monitoring, assessment and conservation of EU lagoon and estuarine sites.

Fourteen applications responded to the call, closed on 15th February 2020. The proposals concern estuarine and lagoon sites, both Italian and European, and come from Universities, Local Authorities and environmental associations. The selection, managed by the Project Coordinator (ISPRA), was tough due to the quality applications. ISPRA provided positive feedback to all applicants. Three Italian sites were selected: the Apulian Acquatina di Frigole, some lagoons of Delta Po River from the Veneto Region side, and Punta Alberete and Valle Mandriole from Romagna. The European sites are the lagoon of Albufera in Spain, Hyeres salt marshes in France and the transitional waters of Nestos Delta and Porto Lagos in Greece. A specific initiative on transplantation of aquatic phanerogams will be organized for other participants to the call, specifically interested in the topic (e.g.: Lake Grevelingen - Netherlands, Curonian Lagoon - Lithuania, Berre Lagoon - France,  Wolin and Uznam - Poland).  

Networking activities have been activated with the Life projects (e.g.: Life Primed) that participated to the Call for Interest.

 Congratulations to the winners with whom we have for now postponed visits to 2021, waiting for the health emergency to allow us a little more freedom of movement!


On line the second project video: the phases of the works


The Life Lagoon Refresh project has achieved an important goal: the connection between the Sile River and the Venice Lagoon was completed and modular biodegradables elements were installed in the lagoon in front of the hydraulic work. From May 20th, 2020 the fresh water is flowing from the Sile into the Lagoon. For the occasion, a new project video was published showing some images of the construction phase and the opening of the fresh water input in the lagoon. In the video gallery, the first video is also available, online since 19th November 2018.

The Lagoon Refresh area is ready to next steps that involve the planting of reeds and aquatic phanerogams.  The fresh water flow rate will be gradually increased up to a maximum average value of 1000 l/s and a second front of biodegradable structures, which slows down the fresh water flow, will be placed.  Monitoring activities restarted in June 2020, will verify the efficiency of the works and the effects on animal and plant communities within the project area. The conservation actions of the Life Lagoon Refresh aim to counteract the saline gradient loss, mainly due to the diversion of rivers, and to increase the biodiversity of fishes, birds, animals of mobile bottom and plants.


Monitoring of the Habitat (1150*) Coastal lagoon after starting fresh water flow


Following the end of the morphologic and hydraulic works, and the starting of fresh water flow into the lagoon on 20th May, the monitoring activities of the project Life Lagoon Refresh have started again. All the monitoring activities of the coastal lagoon habitat, the halophytic habitats and the target bird species are proceeding with the aim of obtaining data and information useful for the verification of project objectives.

Some of the activities planned for monitoring the Coastal Lagoons habitat (1150*) have never been interrupted, in particular, the activities related to the control of salinity and the status of biological communities, such as macrophytes and macrozoobenthos, continued during conservation actions. In June 2020, instead, the monitoring of water and sediment, biodiversity and ecological status of fishing communities and species of commercial interest restarted. ISPRA and Ca' Foscari University of Venice will continue with field activities until 2021. Meanwhile in the laboratories, researchers and technicians of the two Research Institutes are already analysing the first samples collected to verify the values of the chemical-physical parameters of water. The salinity data are monitored daily to verify the diffusion of fresh water into the lagoon. Finally, new updates on the status of the Lagoon Habitat will be provided after the ongoing reed transplants.





Monitoring of avifauna after starting fresh water flow


Following the end of the hydraulic work and the starting of fresh water flow into the lagoon on 20th May, the monitoring activities of the project Life Lagoon Refresh have started again. All the monitoring activities of the coastal lagoon habitat, the halophytic habitats  and the target bird species are proceeding with the aim of obtaining data and information useful for the verification of project objectives.

ISPRA birdlife experts have therefore resumed their monitoring activities from June 2020, to verify immediately the effects of the interventions on the area. Complete results on the repopulation of the species of birds of Community interest will be achieved at the end of the monitoring activities. However, experts have already heard one of the target species of the project, the Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), hidden among the branches of the reedbed, near the structure for fresh water intake from Sile River. They also reported about Pygmy Cormorans (Microcarbo pygmaeus) cleaning their plumage in the lagoon side at the intake point of fresh water, and even about young Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) feeding between the new morphological structures.


The hydraulic and morphological works are finished: the fresh water is flowing into the Lagoon!


The Life Lagoon Refresh project has achieved an important goal: the connection between the Sile River and the Venice Lagoon has been completed and from May 20th, 2020 the fresh water is flowing from the Sile into the Lagoon.

After several unforeseen events, which slowed down the construction sites, such as the exceptional weather event of November 2019 and the health pandemic of 2020, both the hydraulic and morphological works were finally completed and the fresh water input from the Sile Rivers to the Lagoon is now active. Fresh water flows by gravity within the inlet work, as a function of the difference in water level between the river and the lagoon, with variations that depend on the tidal regime. The first regulation of the sluice gates allows an average flow rate of 300 l/s. To avoid the sudden dispersion of fresh water, modular biodegradables elements were installed in the lagoon in front of the hydraulic work. The fresh water and the altimetric variability produced by the morphological structures will make the lagoon environment suitable for reedbed growing.

The next steps involve the planting of reeds and aquatic phanerogams, thanks to the involvement of hunters and fishermen, assiduous frequenters of the area, previously trained during the course of July 12th, 2019 . The fresh water flow rate will be gradually increased up to a maximum average value of 1000 l/s and a second front of biodegradable structures, that limits the flow of fresh water, will be placed.  Monitoring activities will verify the efficiency of the works and the effects on the animal and plant communities on the project area. The conservation actions of the Life Lagoon Refresh aim to counteract the saline gradient loss, mainly due to the diversion of rivers, and to increase the biodiversity of fishes, birds, animals of mobile bottom and plants.

The official opening is postponed for now, waiting for fewer restrictions on the social distance of the period. In the meantime, we invite you to follow our updates on this website or visit the social media channels of the project.



The third Newsletter is now available on the web site, section Download-newsletter (Italian Language only). The Newsletter is divided into sections. This issue is dedicated to updates on the state of progress of construction sites, salinity monitoring activities, training courses, communication and networking activities carried out until February 2020, with updates after the second Newsletter (published in October 2019).
Each Newsletter contains a general description of the project in the initial part and a detailed section in the final part, describing, each time, different issues related to the project. This issue explores the theme of the historical deviation of rivers flowing into the Lagoon of Venice and the consequences on the lagoon ecosystem.


Life Lagoon Refresh presented at Wetlands International Europe


On 9th December 2019, the Life Lagoon Refresh project was presented to members of Wetlands International Europe as an example of ecological restoration of wetlands in brackish environments.
On that occasion, the Call for Interest, which will expire on 31 January 2020, and which contains expressions of interest for anyone working on the assessment, conservation and restoration of Natura 2000 sites in transition environments, was also presented.

Thanks again to all the members of the partner associations of Wetlands International Europe for their great interest and hospitality!



Course of recognition and monitoring of aquatic birds


On October and November 2019, the avifauna experts from ISPRA held a basic course on the monitoring of water birds within the framework of the Life Lagoon Refresh project. The course was offered free of charge by the Project and guested by the Veneto Region in Ve-Mestre (Venice). 

The course aimed to introduce the Life Lagoon Project and its objectives and to transfer the basic knowledge on the themes and methodologies of the census activity and on how to recognize the water species more easily contactable in the Northern Adriatic Sea. During three intense afternoons (18th, 25th October and 8th November), the 38 participants, hosted by the Veneto Region, received notions about: the institutional resources that govern the censuses of birdlife, both globally and locally; the importance of the role of human resources; techniques and methods of counting. In addition, the participants had the opportunity to learn especially about the aquatic birds, going to deepen the differences between the various, more common and easily contactable species. Each of them received a certificate of participation and the “Guide of the birds of Europe”, 4th version published by Ricca Ed.. 

We are very proud of our students, very passionate and curious people, of various extraction, age and training, eager to learn and increase their knowledge on the issues related to water birds. The course aroused much interest by highlighting the desire to learn and the passion of the participants who, since the first exchanges, have shown great fervour and attention throughout the course. 

Considering the broad consensus of the participants and the suggestions received during and after the course, we do not exclude the possibility of replicating the initiative.

For all those who are interested in participating in this kind of activities, please visit our website and social pages to remain updated. Actually, other events on the subject of birdlife are coming, for example… a photo hunt!


Third monitoring visit for the Life Lagoon Refresh


On 30th and 31st October 2019 there was the third visit from the external Monitor, designated by the European Commission. 

As with previous visits, all project partners met at ISPRA in Chioggia (Venice) to explain the progress of the Project Actions both for the technical and administrative aspects. On the second day, the visit continued in the sites of the morphological and hydraulic  interventions. During the inspection in the Life Lagoon Refresh area, the Monitor, Mascha Stroobant, was able to visit the project on the ground and to see the progress of the work!




The second Newsletter is now available on the web site, section Download-newsletter (Italian Language only). The Newsletter is divided in macro arguments (sections). This issue is dedicated to the implementation of the interventions, the results of monitoring for the ante operam phase, the training courses and the communication and networking activities from where we presented with the first Newsletter (published on March 2019) until today (October 2019).

Each newsletter reports the Project general description as introduction, and a thematic detail sheet at the end, with the aim of addressing several issues strictly connected to the Project. The Newsletter no.2 delves into the Reedbed Habitat, that is one of the target habitats of the Project, whilst the Newsletter no.1 was about the Habitat 1150* - Coastal lagoons.

In this second year, many things have happened, among them the most important for the project: Conservation Actions have begun!

Hydraulic works and Morphologic reconstruction started


The Life Lagoon Refresh project comes alive. Construction work has begun on Actions C1 “Hydraulic works” and C2 “Interventions for morphological reconstruction” (Conservation Actions C)

The construction of the hydraulic system is being prepared with the definition of the site area and the preparation of the by-pass of bicycle line for the trucks passage. The freshwater intake from the Sile river to the Lagoon will be realized through the construction of an outlet channel on the right embankment of the Sile river, a crossing section with two parallel pipes, and a return channel in the lagoon.  For the morphological part in the lagoon, in the shallow bottom in front of the freshwater intake area, the phase of construction of the first extract has begun: it consists of the driving of lines of wooden poles inside which the bags in degradable coconut fibre are housed.

These structures will limit the dispersion of the fresh water and will be used as a substrate for planting the reed.

The term of these works is expected by the end of 2019. Both these Conservation Actions will lead to the achievement of one of the most important objectives of the project: the recreation of the typical ecotonal environment in the transitional zone between mainland and lagoon now lost in most of the Venice Lagoon.

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The First results of Bird Monitoring at the 20th Italian Ornithology Conference

From 26th to 29th of September 2019 the avifauna experts from ISPRA Ozzano presented the results of the ante operam monitoring phase of the project Life Lagoon Refresh to the XX CIO (Italian Ornithology Conference) held in Naples, at the National Society of Sciences, Letters and Arts, the Royal Mineralogical Museum, the Society of Naturalists and the beautiful monumental complex of Donnaregina.

The conference, organized by CISO, Centro Italiano Studi Ornitologici, and by Ardea onlus, saw the participation of 230 registered ornithologists, coming from all over Italy and foreigners, curious and professionals.The conference was characterized by 3 lectio magistralis of authoritative international researchers, numerous high-level talks, as many symposia and round tables on the world of ornithology at 360 degrees. LIFE Lagoon Refresh was present at all three intense days of activity, also presenting a scientific contribution (downloadable here) in which the mission of the project, the objectives and, as regards birds, the target species and the first analysis of the data collected during the initial year of the project (2018) were explained.

For the first year of ante operam monitoring, there are more than 6000 records registered in 12 exits, among which 5400 are aquatic birds. There are 79 contacted species, of which 40 species belonging to the aquatic group: 16 species in Annex I to the Birds Directive, contacted at least once during exits, 7 target species for the project for both water birds and reed sparrows.

EDU DAY 2019


LIFE Lagoon Refresh provides, among the dissemination activities, some update seminars for middle and high school teachers, through which knowledge and information will be transfer from teachers to their students.

On September 9th, 2019 in Ca' Rezzonico - Museo del '700 the EDU DAY was held, an event organized by the Venice Civic Museums Foundation to present the activities to teachers of elementary and middle schools in Veneto Region. With more than 500 registered teachers, the Life Lagoon Refresh and workshops, offered for free with availability limit by our Project, were presented.
For further information about the workshops and activities,  download the extract of the program  offered by MUVE.

For more info on the event visit


Course for the transplant of reeds and aquatic phanerogams


The Life Lagoon Refresh project involves, among Conservation Actions ,  the transplant of seagrass and reeds in the Northern Venice Lagoon.

On July 12th 2019 a training course was organized at the Natural History Museum of Venice in order to involve stakeholders (fishermen and hunters) who will take care of these activities.

The course was held by researchers and professors from ISPRA and DAIS-Università Ca' Foscari of Venice and  it involved twenty practitioners. The topics of the course covered general aspects of the project’s purpose and content, specific aspects of biology, ecology and recognition of reeds and aquatic phanerogams as well as intervention methodologies for transplants and effects on fish and bird species.

This theoretical course will be followed by a practical course directly on field in the Venice Lagoon.

Monitoring visit from EU for LIFE LAGOON REFRESH

On 13th of May 2019 all the partners from the Life Lagoon Refresh were present at the second monitoring visit of the European Commission, which was held at the ISPRA headquarter in Chioggia (Venice).
As for the first visit of 26-27 April 2018, several results obtained  from the Project Actions were presented, such as the first monitoring reports of the ante operam,  soon available in the download  area of this website. The site visit was postponed due to adverse weather conditions, but it will soon be recovered with the next visit scheduled for October. During the visit, it would also be possible to check the progress of the conservation actions that will start soon.
 We would like to thank again the Monitor expert, Mascha Stroobant, for her valuable tips and tricks!







The first Newsletter is now available on the web site, section  Download-newsletter  (Italian Language only). The Newsletter is divided in macro arguments  (sections) concerning planning of works and their realization, monitoring and dissemination activities, and networking from the beginning of the project until today.

Each newsletter will report the Project general description as introduction, and a thematic detail sheets at the end, with the aim of addressing several issues strictly connect to the Project.

The Newsletter no.1  delves into the Coastal Lagoon Habitat 1150*, that is  one of the target habitat of the Project.

Monitoring of halophytic habitats

During the ante operam (before interventions) monitoring, Researchers from UNIVE-DAIS are mapping emerged  halophytic vegetation (i.e, plants which tollerate salt and temporarily tidal flooding). From April 2018, several sampling campaigns were performed on field, also through an ISPRA drone survey for detailed analysis. Researchers and technicians are now elaborating and digitalizing data to return specific thematic maps.

Monitoring action including these activities is Action D.2, which also focus on the monitoring of halophytic habitats located in the saltmarshes surrounding the freshwater input and reedbed transplantation sites. The  aim is to evaluate the variation on halophytic habitats distribution induced by the project interventions. Indeed, Scientists will perform the same activities at the end of the interventions for comparing purpose.


Monitoring of the Habitat (1150*) Coastal lagoon before conservation actions

From November 2017 to October 2018 the Monitoring of the Habitat Coastal lagoon took place in the project area, with the aim of defining the initial environmental status before interventions.

The activities, carried out within the Action D.1 included the execution of measures, sampling and analysis of different components such as water, sediment and biological communities.

Once a month, ISPRA and UNIVE-DAIS sampled water and settled particulate sediments to characterize salinity, temperature and the quality of the water column and granulometry, sedimentation rates, nutrients, carbon, and general parameters of sediments.

Sediment parameters and biotic component, with particular reference to the Biological Quality Elements (BQE) Macrophytes (macroalgae and seagrasses), Macrozoobenthos and Fish fauna, were sampled twice a year, on Spring and Autumn, by UNIVE-DAIS and ISPRA.

Finally UNIVE-DAIS mapped seagrass all around the project area. These data will be useful to estimate the transplant success by comparing states before and after the project implemetation.

ISPRA and IPROS also performed specific sampling campaigns with particular reference to salinity measures (Action A.2). Bathymetric surveys, with the aim to estimate morphological variability of shallow tidal flat induced by the project, were performed by IPROS and OOPP (Action A.2).

Researchers and technicians are now hard working to elaborate all data. Results will be soon available on the first Monitoring Report of the project!


Life Lagoon Refresh presented at the LIFE CONVIVE Seminar

On 25-26 October 2018, the seminar  “GESTIÓN Y MANEJO DE HUMEDALES COSTEROS EN EL MARCO DE PROYECTOS LIFE” organized by LIFE CONVIVE, was held in Soano (Arnuero, Cantabria, Spain).  The organizers from SEO/Bird LIFE kindly invited our Project Leader (dr. Rossella Boscolo Brusà, ISPRA) to perform an oral presentation entitled “Coastal lagoon habitat and species recovery by restoring the salt gradient increasing fresh water input”, describing the LIFE LAGOON REFRESH aims, objectives and actions.

During the seminar, several LIFE projects regarding wetlands were depicted by delegates from LIFE PALUDICOLA, LIFE ANILLO VERDE, LIFE MIERALIFE EBRO-ADMICLIM,LIFE ALBUFERA and obviously LIFE CONVIVE, the masters of the house.

For the occasion, LIFE CONVIVE also presented the Management Plan for the coastal lagoons of Tinamenor, Joyel and Victoria.
Interesting insights emerged during the Round Table "Will coastal wetlands survive without management 

A field visit to Joyel Marshes and the Victoria Lagoon completed the seminar. Thank to that participants could observe the actions implemented by the LIFE CONVIVE project to improve the conservation of these Natura 2000 sites.


Gracias de nuevo por la invitación y la maravillosa oportunidad de Networking!

More info at:


Life Lagoon Refresh presented at the Life SERESTO Final Conference


On 11 April 2018, the Final Conference of the LIFE SERESTO project was held at Rome. The project has been coordinated by Ca’ Foscari University, now Association Partner of the LIFE LAGOON REFRESH project.  ISPRA and the Interregional Superintendency for Public Works in Veneto – Trentino Alto Adige – Friuli Venezia Giulia have been Partners of the LIFE SERESTO project, too.

The LIFE SeResto project (LIFE12 NAT/IT/000331) aimed to trigger a process of aquatic angiosperm recolonization in SIC IT3250031 “Northern Lagoon of Venice”, mainly through the transplantation of Zostera marina and Zostera noltei to small sites distributed throughout the area.

One of the Conservation Actions of LIFE LAGOON REFRESH consists on transplanting of small clumps of Ruppia cirrhosa, Zostera noltei and Z. marina, after hydraulic works and morphologic reconstruction, aimed to accelerate the development of wide seagrass beds, typical of the 1150* Habitat in good ecological status. The transplantation techniques and the most suitable seasons for LIFE LAGOON REFRESH were chosen based on the experience gained in the LIFE SERESTO project

During the Conference, the objectives and restoration actions envisaged by LIFE LAGOON REFRESH were presented and a comparison with other European projects to restore the transition environments, that took place at the conference in the "EU Project for Lagoon Restoration" session, was made.

Other LIFE projects, presented at the conference and involved in the restoration of lagoon habitats, were: LIFE EBRO – ADMICLIM, which illustrated pilot measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change in the Ebro Delta on the Mediterranean coast of Spain; LIFE BARGE, concerning the preservation and restoration of the Bay of Aiguillon on the French Atlantic coast. During the Conference, the LIFE SEPOSSO project, which aims to improve the Italian governance of Posidonia oceanica transplants, was also presented.

At the end of the sessions, valuable ideas for reflection and deepening were also provided by professor Mike Elliott of Hull University, UK.
For more info on the LIFE SERESTO project, please visit the website



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