ENGREEN - 2nd Steering Commitee - Review of work done and plans for the future


On Wednesday, 11 November 2020, the 2nd meeting of the Steering Committee of the European project entitled " ENhancement of GREEN infrastructure IT-SI cross-border landscape” acronym ENGREEN, co-financed by the Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia programme 2014-2020 - took place on the Zoom platform.

The Lead partner of ENGREEN is Javni zavod Park Škocjanske Jame-The Škocjan Caves Regional Park. The other partners are: the Municipality of San Dorligo della Valle-Dolina, Univerza na Primorskem-University of Primorska from Koper (Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Technologies) and GAL Venezia Orientale from Portogruaro.

The project has been active in the cross-border area since 1st April 2020 and focuses on activities to strengthen, restore, preserve and manage green infrastructure in the cross-border landscape IT-SI. At the Steering Committee meeting, the partners talked about the activities carried out in the first quarter of the project and presented the planned activities for the next period.

As part of the project, three ponds and at least 250 m of dry stone walls will be restored in the area of ​​the The Škocjan Caves Regional Park and an ice house with a pond in Draga in the Val Rosandra Nature Reserve area. The public tender for the restoration of the ponds has been completed and the works have already begun. Presumably, they will be completed in early spring 2021. The public procurement for the restoration of the ice house has also been carried out. The signing of a contract with the contractor and the start of the works is expected shortly. The restoration will be completed by the middle of next year.

As for the awareness-raising events aimed at the wide public on the importance of green infrastructures, the emergency linked to Covid-19 has changed the organizers' plans. The project envisages the organization of a series of educational and promotional events, of which about 15 events have been successfully held by the end of September. The events which have aroused much interest are: a tour with electric bicycles, a workshop on the inhabitants of ponds, a guided tour along the Water Treasures trail and a summer school for students with interesting evening lectures in Škocjan Caves Regional Park, guided hikes in Val Rosandra with a visit to the ice house and a research campus in Jezersko with the presentation of ENGREEN. Given the ban on live meetings, online events are planned in the coming weeks, in particular “Biological Evenings” organized by the University of Primorska. The events will also be broadcast on the Project Engreen Facebook channel. (facebook.com/ProjectENGREEN)

The project pays particular attention to the identification and enhancement of elements of green infrastructure, in particular wetlands and karst grasslands with dry stone walls, inventory and monitoring of animal and plant species, many of which are already highly endangered. As part of the summer school held in the Škocjan Caves Regional Park in September, 17 students in several groups explored the area of Škocjan Caves Regional Park. Part of the students under the guidance of mentors researched reptiles and butterflies in the area of karst grasslands and dry stone walls to assess the biodiversity of these two elements of green infrastructure. Others focused on the inventory of ponds and their flora and fauna. Field work will continue in the spring.

In the meantime, the ENGREEN project will also gather the experience of past similar projects and public monitoring, which will then be included into a single database together with the results of this project, using the existing cross-border geoportal created within the HARMODATA project (Lead partner Geodetic Institute of Slovenia), also funded by the Interreg V-A Italy-Slovenia Cooperation Program 2014-2020.

A number of activities are also planned to improve a management of green infrastructures and raise awareness of threats and pressures on green infrastructure: exchange of experiences through focus groups, educational events for managers, users and other stakeholders, and development of Guidelines for long-term management. Through concrete actions to remove alien and invasive species, the habitats of endangered plants and animals will be improved, especially in wetlands. Catching goldfish from at least eight ponds will improve the living conditions of endangered amphibians.

The Veneto partner “GAL Venezia Orientale” will carry out three pilot projects in collaboration with municipalities of Ceggia, Cinto Caomaggiore and Gruaro. The municipality of Cinto Caomaggiore will elaborate a Masterplan for management and improval the conditions of wetlands in the Regional Park of Reghena, Lemene and Lake Cinto. In the municipality of Gruaro, interventions are planned in the Molini di Stalis river park, which will help increase the diversity and the number of the bird population and better protect the vegetation. The municipality of Ceggia is planning an intervention in the area of a former sugar factory, where one of the most interesting natural habitats in the eastern Veneto has developed in recent years. The planned interventions concern the inventory and classification of aquatic animal species, the regulation of the natural path and the establishment of observation points for bird watching and the study of wildlife.

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