Venice Lagoon

Action Site

Habitat Type

Location

Italy

The Venetian Lagoon is the largest coastal wetland in Italy at 55,000 hectares (ha). It is characterised by a tidal system and a thousand years of human interventions. It hosts a unique range of biotypes including salt marshes, reed beds, seagrass meadows, mudflats. Challenges include extensive loss of salt marsh area, ongoing erosion, limited sediment inputs and large volumes of sediments exported to the sea. These problems are exacerbated by urbanization, erosion from shipping and local water traffic and canal dredging. Venice Lagoon was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Administratively, the lagoon is under the remit of the Provveditorato Interregionale per le Opere Pubbliche per il Veneto, Trentino Alto Adige e Friuli Venezia Giulia. ‘Venezia è laguna’ (“Venice is its lagoon”) is their mantra to reinforce awareness that the fate of the city and the encircling lagoon are interconnected. It is the key to shifting the city towards recognising the value of its natural capital and the full range of ecosystem services. The Action Site programme will complement the plans of the Provveditorato to design new areas of salt marsh in the central and northern lagoon. Dredging and construction of areas to contain sediment infill will be publicly funded but regenerative revegetation is an action that would not otherwise receive financial support. This project will accelerate and improve the process of colonisation by appropriate salt marsh species to maximise ecological performance, especially in terms of carbon sequestration. Work is also planned to reframe the identity of the lagoon via public engagement activities as well as signage and other communications interventions.

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