Landscape Restoration of Flood Lamination Basin on Pesa river

Year: 2020
Location: Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy
Customer: Consorzio di Bonifica 3 Medio Valdarno
Status: Call for tender
Surface: 19 ha
Partner: DP Ingegneria, Consorzio Stabile Toscano
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The Bramasole flood storage project involves an area of about 19 ha, mostly flat, located on the left bank between the Pesa river and the embankment of the nearby freeway.
The intervention stems from the need to reconstruct the ecological role of the territories adjacent to the river system, through the reconstitution of typical habitats of the flood plain. Also through the extension and recovery of the riparian strip, the result can assume the role of a real ecological corridor.

Needing to intervene within the river landscape, the project proposal treated the area of intervention as an example of so-called “blue and green infrastructure.” These are defined as a network of natural and semi-natural areas planned at a strategic level, together with other environmental features, designed and managed in a way that provides a wide range of ecosystem services. This includes green spaces (or blue, in the case of aquatic ecosystems) and other physical elements in areas located on land (including coastal areas) and marine areas.

By going to reconstitute the connection between different “patches” of a fragmented landscape such as the one under consideration, two effects can be achieved: the recovery of ecological connectivity, to which special attention has been paid, also reasoning in terms of the patch’s relationship with surrounding patches; the ability of the patch itself to contain a complete ecosystem, necessary for the maintenance of species and capable of ensuring multifunctionality.

Specifically, the project includes a forestation project using native hygrophilous and mesophilous species, aimed at widening the riparian buffer, which will occupy the space between the riverbank and the highway (excluding the flood storage area), currently managed as farmland.

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Within the flood storage, a purely hygrophilous environment is planned, enclosed within the aforementioned meso-hygrophilous forest, characterized by the presence of an islet and pools of water at different depths. The entry of water from the intake will allow its flooding, ensuring the formation of an area with a permanent presence of water, and a wetland that will, however, be mostly dry in summer, so as to ensure a suitable habitat for the reproduction of amphibian species. The permanent water zone, on the other hand, will ensure that waterfowl species can nest on the site.

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The planting of fast-growing trees (Populus alba) along the stream bank, together with the removal of invasive species will provide shade for the bike/pedestrian path, improving the usability of the area. Finally, the project includes the construction of a suitably screened path and the installation of a wildlife observatory, specifically dedicated to birdwatching, located at the west end of the Bramasole flood storage area.

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