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Project calendar

19-23 SEPTEMBER 2016

European Ecosystem Services Conference: Helping nature to help us (OpenNESS final conference, jointly with OPERAs, ESP and ECOPLAN), Antwerp, Belgium

Case 15 - Multipurpose wetland construction and landscape restoration in a peri-urban area: Case Gorla Maggiore in northern Italy

Please read the OpenNESS case study booklet 'Ecosystem services in operation' for the final outcomes of the cases. More detailed information about the cases and the tools and methods used can be found on Oppla:

The OpenNESS Italian case study is located in a small area north of Milan, in the Lombardy Region.

The Gorla water park is a neo-ecosystem built on the shore of the Olona River in an area previously used for poplar plantation. The whole area surface is about 3 ha and includes a flood prevention area (1 ha) and the pollutant removal area (0.4 ha of Phragmites reed bed + 0.3 ha of natural like multispecies wetland). The remaining area has been designed for public fruition.

The Gorla water park has been designed and realized with the following objectives:

  • Pollution control: reduce pollution load discharged to Olona river by a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO);
  • Flood prevention: store rainwater and regulate flow discharge to the river;
  • Leisure and education: promote enjoyment of the area by the local population;
  • Biodiversity (bird species richness): increase habitat availability for water birds.

The project OpenNESS will perform an economic evaluation of the services provided by the neo-ecosystem, to allow a comprehensive cost-benefit comparison with more conventional grey infrastructure generally used for CSO pollution control and flood prevention.

The EU Joint Research Centre of Ispra will work on the case study, together with IRIDRA, the SME who designed the new ecosystem. Public authorities and local actors will be involved in the valuation process. The Regional Government and the Po River Basin Authority will closely follow the project to explore opportunities to integrate the ecosystem services evaluation in the ordinary administrative procedures of decision making concerning pollution control and flood prevention.