28 October 2010 Students from the University of Brescia (Italy) have this week been showcasing jewellery made from recycled ash at the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle (France). The jewellery is the first product made of reprocessed fly ash to be successfully taken to the public from the innovative LIFE project COSMOS (LIFE08 ENV/IT/000434).
The project has been working to find practical applications for the inert product COSMOS, made from treated fly ash - one of the most significant by-products of the incineration of solid waste. Taking the material from the University of Brescia’s laboratory stage to production, the project has engaged artist Giuseppe Sautto to work with it to create jewellery as a first pilot application.
Now students have been proudly wearing the jewellery at the international student event to promote the project’s innovative product and the broader concept of resource re-use. The beneficary highlighted that: “In this project waste has been transformed into a piece of jewellery, thus reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and it enhances resource efficiency”.
For more information, please visit the project website.
25 October 2010 The Irish Minister of the Environment, John Gormley TD, was in Annacotty, County Limerick on 22 October to officially launch a key element of the LIFE project MulkearLIFE (LIFE07 NAT/IRL/000342). The project has created the first ever volunteer corps established on a river-catchment basis in Ireland.
The locally based ‘ Mulkear Conservation Volunteers’ will contribute significantly to the project’ s overall aim of restoring the Lower Shannon Special Area of Conservation (Mulkear River catchment) for three protected species: Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar); sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus); and European otter (Lutra lutra).
Ruairí Ó Conchúir, MulkearLIFE Project Manager, highlighted that "the work of the Conservation Volunteers will help strengthen the reach and scope of the project and help it link into local conservation efforts within the catchment". Key work of the volunteers will include practical conservation actions, such as removing invasive plant species, as well as survey work, linking with existing conservation groups, training and awareness-raising activities.
The Irish Minister of the Environment, John Gormley TD, thanked the local volunteers for their commitment to the project and highlighted that "the National Parks and Wildlife Service will continue to work closely with MulkearLIFE and will support a range of project actions including work to protect otters within the Mulkear catchment" . The project is led by Inland Fisheries Ireland working together with the Office of Public Works and Limerick County Council with significant funding support from the National Park & Wildlife Service.
Sean Ryan, Director of the Shannon River Basin District of Inland Fisheries stressed that "The concrete, practical and cost effective actions being undertaken by MulkearLIFE and its project partners will help enhance and restore the Mulkear catchment. The project has the potential to be a blueprint for other such projects throughout Ireland and Europe. The support role now being played by the Mulkear Conservation Volunteers will greatly help enhance this work".
13 October 2010 Householders, businesses and local authorities in Bavaria, Germany are all set to benefit from a new online flood hazard mapping service developed as part of the LIFE FLOODSCAN project (LIFE06 ENV/D/000461). The service was launched in mid-September and updates an existing flood hazard mapping service in line with the requirements of the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC).
The FLOODSCAN project set out to improve awareness about flood risks using hydraulic 2-D modelling of flood hazard areas, a new, more detailed, more cost effective technology that combines laser scanning with remote sensing data.
The data generated by this process have been converted into printed flood hazard maps, as well as 'standard' and 'expert' level versions of the web mapping service. In the standard version, users can now see maps for different flood event frequencies (high “10-year”; medium “100-year”, and low probability “extreme” floods), which are highlighted in shades of blue, for ease of understanding. The maps also show the water depth of different flood events and areas in flood plains where building is prohibited.
Project manager Dr. Dieter Rieger of LfU (the Bavarian Agency for the Environment) is proud to highlight two particular benefits of LIFE FLOODSCAN: “Firstly, the population has more information available, so there is increased understanding of measures such as the banning of building in certain areas. Secondly, because FLOODSCAN is much cheaper and can map in more detail it can be much more extensive: it can include small water bodies, which can also cause flooding, but which were not previously mapped.”
For more information about the LIFE FLOODSCAN project visit the website
05 October 2010 Finnish and Swedish mire and bogs’ restoration experts from two LIFE projects met recently in North Karelia (a region in eastern Finland) to exchange knowledge and experiences on the conservation of peatlands, including notably of three of the most threatened habitat types: aapa mires, bog woodlands and active raised bogs.
The networking event, organised by ‘Boreal Peatland LIFE’ (LIFE08 NAT/FIN/000596) and the Finnish mire restoration expert group (suoELO) attracted more than 20 conservation experts from the two countries including representatives from the visitor LIFE project – the aptly-named ‘LIFE to ad(d)mire’ (LIFE08 NAT/S/000268).
Held over three days (30 August – 1 September 2010) participants were shown the results of restoration work just begun under the Finnish LIFE project – which runs until 2014, with an ambitious remit to improve the habitat quality of 54 Natura sites in the country’s unique peatland network.
The event also included visits to various mire and bog ecosystem sites restored under an earlier LIFE nature project in North-Savo (LIFE02 NAT/FIN/0008470). The aim was to promote learning on restoration techniques, how to restore, consequences on hydrology and vegetation and to see sites before and during restoration. Specific issues discussed during site-visits included: how to succeed in the restoration, how to draw up restoration plan, how and where to fill in the ditches and to build dams, and how to organise the monitoring.
Finnish experts also gave short presentations on various themes in the field (e.g. the birth and current state of Finnish mires, Mires of Northern Karelia, Restoration of hydrology, Monitoring of the restoration results).
Following on from this successful meeting, a second networking event is planned in 2012 – hosted this time by the Swedish LIFE project.