29 September 2010 The allis shad (Alosa alosa) reintroduction project (LIFE 06 NAT/D/000005) has made an exciting discovery. For the first time in more than 50 years, juvenile allis shad have migrated downstream on the river Rhine.
The species has been considered extinct in the river since 1940. The downstream migration, which used to regularly occur in late summer, is part of the diadromous lifecycle of the allis shad. The aim is to reach feeding habitats in the sea, from where the adults return for spawning after three to five years.
The discovery was made by a professional fisherman, who closely co-operates with the migratory fish programme in North Rhine-Westphalia. He recently caught more than ten of the young fish. Due to their markings, which were carried out by the project’s French partners prior to stocking, the juvenile shads could be proven to originate from the larval shads that were stocked by the project.
These findings underline the success of the reintroduction project. Though the Rhine is still subject to anthropogenic pressures, the young shads are now able to utilise suitable habitats and to grow.
27 September 2010 The LIFE project PISCES (LIFE07 ENV/UK/00094) is giving Celtic Sea stakeholders access to some of Europe’s leading maritime experts for a month, from 21st September. The innovative project will enable the major sectors of activity related to the Celtic Sea to develop their understanding of how to ensure the long-term protection of the natural marine environment and associated economic activities.
Experts will give online tutorials to pre-selected project stakeholders engaged in the Celtic Sea, an area of the North Atlantic located between Wales, Ireland, France and Spain. The presentations will focus on relevant national and European legislation, information and planning tools aimed to ensure the long-term preservation of marine habitats. Stakeholders will also be able to put their own specific questions to the European experts.
The pre-selected stakeholders come from diverse sectors of activity including tourism, fisheries, aggregates and shipping. Participating experts include representatives from the WWF, the European Commission and UK and Spanish governments. Bringing the two groups together aims to increase local understanding of strategic and holistic approaches to marine conservation, including the ecosystem approach.
The project aims ultimately to develop stakeholder guidelines, which “could be critically important for the future of the Celtic Sea – for both nature and livelihoods of people,” according to one of the experts, Bud Ehler, President of Ocean Visions and a marine spatial planning consultant to UNESCO. The guidelines will show how to translate legislation such as the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive into practice.
For more information about this unique opportunity for PISCES stakeholders to develop a greater understanding of marine management, please visit the project website or contact the project communications officer at: JHarris@wwf.org.uk.
16 September 2010 The majority (98%) of respondents to the European Commission’s 2010 LIFEnews user-survey are satisfied with the LIFEnews electronic newsletter and accompanying e-alerts.
The online survey was commissioned by DG Environment’s LIFE Units to find out more about the LIFEnews audience – its interests and satisfaction with LIFE publications/ products. The survey, carried out from December 2009 to March 2010, was sent to LIFEnews subscribers and also published on the LIFE website.
From a total of 645 respondents, 98% said they were “satisfied” with the e-alerts they received for LIFEnews. Sent out monthly, these alerts provide quick and easy access to all the latest news, features and events concerning projects supported by the LIFE programme. The same number (98%) said they also “welcomed” the other e-alerts they received notifying them of the latest publications from the environment and nature & biodiversity strands of the programme.
Participants in the online survey, from across the 27 EU Member States, included public authorities (all levels), LIFE project beneficiaries and partners (past and current), non-governmental organisations, consultancies and other experts. The main sectors of interest were: nature & biodiversity; nature conservation; ecology, water; and climate change. Specific sectors of interest identified were: agriculture; forestry and fisheries; education/ environmental education; and environmental management (for example, EMAS and Eco-label).
Examples of satisfied users are:
“LIFEnews is a very useful publication for European institutions interested in the preparation of proposals for LIFE projects.”
“We especially appreciate the reports on good projects… information that helps us to manage our projects.”
“I view the news frequently and am in general, very satisfied.”
Various other useful suggestions and comments were received from survey respondents. Among these were several requests for translations. Unfortunately, due to the amount of material published, the LIFE Units are unable to meet this demand. However, the LIFE projects database provides a “read more” section with some documents published in national languages, as well as links to project websites (in English and/or the national language of the project beneficiary).
Finally, some LIFE project beneficiaries expressed an interest in participating in LIFEnews - a request that is welcomed by the LIFE Units: Please feel free to send your texts and/ or contribute to the LIFE Coordinators Corner. All LIFE project representatives can also participate in the LIFE Community Forum and the LIFE page on Facebook.
Thanks to all who participated in this survey.
10 September 2010 LIFE projects won the National Energy Globe awards for sustainability for Ireland, Czech Republic and Greece for 2009. The projects were considered to be the best examples of work to conserve and protect natural resources in their respective countries for that year.
More than 800 projects were submitted for the awards from 105 nations and 67 national prizes were awarded. The prizes aim to showcase successful sustainable solutions to current environmental problems. A World Energy Globe prizes award ceremony was held at Kigali, Rwanda in June 2010 as a huge television gala broadcast to three billion homes across the world.
The winning LIFE project from Ireland (LIFE05 NAT/IRL/000182) restored over 550 ha of priority woodland habitats by removing non-native trees, protecting areas from animal grazing and reinstating natural hydrology to facilitate natural regeneration. The project worked particularly hard to disseminate information about the importance of the habitats to ensure sustainability of the woodland restoration.
The national award winner for the Czech Republic (LIFE06 NAT/CZ/000121) was a project to preserve the alluvial forest habitats in the Morávka river basin. It used excellent co-operation between the Regional Authority and a number of public and private bodies, local municipalities, schools and the public to tackle invasive species and restore biodiversity in the proposed Site of Community Interest (pSCI).
The LIFE project which won the national prize for Greece (LIFE03 ENV/GR/000223) developed effective waste management in wine production, demonstrating economic uses for the various outputs. It developed a means of recovering natural polyphenols from wine waste for potential use as food supplements and in cosmetics. Biomass output was demonstrated as a potential component of high quality animal feed and aerobic and anaerobic treatment of the remaining waste with natural, recyclable solvents showed aptness for use as fertilizer. All three projects were recognised to have produced exciting direct benefits in their field of application. More importantly, however, they all offer extremely high demonstration potential for replication in other areas.
Read the full list of 67 National Energy Globe award winners.
01 September 2010The European Commission is launching a broad consultation on biodiversity that aims to gather input from a wide range of stakeholders on possible policy options for the European Union's post-2010 EU biodiversity strategy, which will be assessed by the Commission as part of the process of its development. Contributions from citizens, organisations and public authorities through the online questionnaire are invited and will be published on the Internet.
To participate in the consultation, please proceed to this page containing relevant background information on the survey and privacy statements for respondents.