Reservwet - Mediterranean reservoirs and wetlands. A demonstration of multiple - objective management in the island of Crete

LIFE00 ENV/GR/000685

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Moisis MYLONAS
Tel: +30 2810 324366
Fax: +30 2810 324 366
Email: director@nhmc.uoc.gr; mylonas@nhmc.uoc.gr

Project description:


Over the past 30 years, intensification of agricultural practices and development of coastal tourism, have increased the exploitation of water resources on the island of Crete, resulting in the loss of 60% of the wetland area and in the serious degradation of the remaining. The environmental impact of wetland loss and degradation affects much wider regions than the wetlands themselves, due to the ecological association between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Another important aspect of wetland degradation in Crete involves the impact on migratory water birds that use the island’s wetlands as the first stop-over site in their route from Africa to Europe. At least 42 species included in Annex I of the Birds Directive have been documented as regularly using these wetlands as a major stop-over site. The impact of wetland loss is thus further expanded, affecting a significant percentage of East-European water bird populations that use the Cretan migration route during their journey to the breeding sites. In the context of the Water Framework Directive, and other EU legislation relating to biodiversity conservation and sustainability, this project aimed to enhance wetland values using a multi-objective approach.


The overall project objective was to demonstrate the feasibility of multiple-objective reservoir planning and management on the island of Crete, to improve the efficiency and sustainability of current water uses and add new wetland functions, compatible with the existing uses, maximising the environmental and social benefits for the region. Specific project objectives included: - Integrated assessment and evaluation of the existing economic, social and ecological functions of the Cretan reservoirs. - Development of an integrated, multiple-criteria approach for regional planning and optimisation of the environment of the selected reservoir sites, in order to improve the coherence of the existing wetland network. - Implementation of restoration measures to improve the ecosystem's functional, recreational and ecological as well as tourism values of selected reservoirs. - Promotion of the innovative project approach to local, national and international competent authorities and potential users.


The project achieved its objectives. The Indicator Value Assessment method (IVA) was used as the basic methodological approach to form a rapid wetland assessment method, adjusted to Mediterranean conditions. This was then adapted to a simple and user-friendly software, to be used as a Decision Support Tool by the regional authorities of Crete, and potentially for other Mediterranean regions. A GIS database of the natural wetlands and reservoirs of Crete (167 existing, 189 in total including those under construction or planned) was developed and the IVA method was used to evaluate the socioeconomic, ecological and environmental conditions of 30 existing reservoirs in Crete. The project demonstrated the use of the tools developed by implementing pilot wetland creation and restoration measures in six reservoirs under the jurisdiction of four municipalities. Appropriate management plans were prepared and implemented at the sites. Restoration measures included the creation of small wetlands, the establishment of wetland vegetation, small islands, levees and sluices and the restoration of wetland hydrology. Seasonal marshes were restored, vegetation buffer zones were planted, local wetland plant nurseries and a botanical garden were established and native fish populations were introduced. In addition, visitor information and interpretation facilities were set up and small wooden fishing platforms were created. Although there was little time to monitor the effectiveness of these extensive interventions within the lifetime of the project they are expected to create a substantial positive environmental and social impact on the project reservoirs. The project’s methodology and tools are clearly outlined in the project’s publications (available from the website) - a "Good Practice Guide for the planning and management of water reservoirs", an accompanying Decision Support Tool (DST) manual (on CD-ROM) and a booklet. Finally, the project has informed scientists, wetland and reservoir managers, NGOs, schools, local communities and the tourist industry through workshops, seminars, open meetings, and the website. This dissemination was primarily at a local level, but also at regional, national and Mediterranean levels.


Environmental issues addressed:


Biodiversity issues - Urban biodiversity
Water - River basin management


land use planning‚  island‚  environmental assessment‚  water resources management

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Natural History Museum of Crete - University of Crete
Type of organisation University
Description The beneficiary is the National History Museum of Crete (public body) and the University of Crete (higher education institution).
Partners Municipality of Arkalochori, Greece Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania (MAICH), Greece Municipality of Asterousia, Greece Municipality of Ierapetra, Greece Municipality of Rouva, Greece Municipality of Thrapsano, Greece


Project reference LIFE00 ENV/GR/000685
Duration 01-JUN-2001 to 30-SEP -2005
Total budget 1,703,497.00 €
EU contribution 848,017.00 €
Project location Kriti(Ellas)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version