Living Lakes - Living Lakes: Sustainable Management of wetlands and shallow lakes

LIFE00 ENV/D/000351

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

Contact details:

Project Manager: Udo GATTENLOEHNER
Tel: +49 7732 9995 80
Fax: +49 7732 9995 77
Email: gattenloehner@globalnature.org

Project description:


Wetlands are among the most important and yet most threatened ecosystems in Europe. They are a precious part of our cultural and natural heritage, providing an extremely important resource for many human interests and activities, as well as habitats that support a rich diversity of animal and plant life. Wetlands are able to absorb precipitation - rain water - while improving the water quality. They are a source of renewable resources, fish for human consumption and pasture for grazing livestock. Since the beginning of the 20th century, two thirds of European wetlands have been lost and many have been degraded. Almost all problems of water management are present, including pollution and over-abstraction of groundwater, a lack of waste water treatment systems from small communities and industries, nutrient enrichment from intensive agriculture, conflicts concerning the use of water, lack of management, and lack of integration in local and regional land-use planning. The project sites in Spain and Greece were located in rural areas populated by large numbers of small communities where problems of water shortage and water quality are acute. Resulting eutrophication interferes with the important ecological functions of the wetlands, as well as jeopardising the use of water resources by humans.


The overall aim of this project was to demonstrate how wetlands can be restored and managed wisely in ways that are compatible with sustainable development. The project sought to carry out work at two project sites - Nava, Spain and Nestos, Greece - demonstrating the development and implementation of sustainable wetland management plans. These would use participatory processes involving key stakeholders and local communities to show how working with these groups can ensure wetlands are effectively managed in environmental, social and economic terms. Through the management plans, the project aimed to buffer the wetlands from nutrient enrichment with appropriate extension of agricultural use - 'vegetated filter strips' - in the wetlands’ catchment area. This sought to remove a significant proportion of the total nitrogen and phosphorus loads from concentrated effluents. The project aimed to provide opportunities to demonstrate and spread good practice in wetland management through tailor-made training courses, study tours and exchanges, using the Living Lakes network as a primary vehicle. Communication activities would be used to address both a wide public and international experts.


In the Nestos site, the project achieved the development and implementation of a management plan. Stakeholder meetings were held to prepare the plan, involving difficult but productive discussions. The step-by-step development of the plan including stakeholder meetings was a new procedure for the area. It thus provides an important example - in contents and procedure - for the larger area of the surrounding National Park and is a useful model for the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. Following the agreement of the management plan, direct protection measures were carried out in core zones around some of the lakes. Sustainable and integrated management of 1,200 ha of wetlands of high ecological importance was successfully carried out. Buffer zones covering 50 ha were integrated, aiming at a reduction of 60 percent of nitrogen and phosphorous from effluents. Despite many delays and difficulties in implementation, the water quality was visibly improved through the implementation of the management plan in Greece via the installation of filter strips and buffer zones around the wetlands. This represented the first time that land re-organisation had been usefully engaged for conservation and habitat management in Northern Greece. Environmental education measures were carried out targeting local residents and young people in particular. National and international visitors were also received to learn from the experiences of the project. The structures and intensive communication provided by the Living Lakes network ensured a good transfer of know-how from the practical experiences of the project – this created a good multiplier effect. A manual ‘Reviving Wetlands’ was published and distributed in more than 2,500 copies. In the La Nava case, the responsibility for the formal approval and implementation of the management plan lay with the regional Environmental Authority of Castilla y León. Unfortunately, although a management plan was successfully developed, the authority did not approve the plan during the project. This reveals the great difficulties that are present in developing co-operation between stakeholders balancing conflicting interests.


Environmental issues addressed:


Information - Governance - Public and Stakeholders participation
Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management


public awareness campaign‚  wetland‚  sustainable development‚  social participation

Target EU Legislation

  • Water
  • Directive 80/68 - Protection of groundwater against pollution caused by certain dangerous substan ...
  • Directive 80/778 - Quality of water intended for human consumption (15.07.1980)
  • Directive 91/271 - Urban waste water treatment (21.05.1991)

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Global Nature Fund (GNF)
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description Global Nature Fund (GNF) is a non-profit, independent international foundation for the protection of the environment and nature. The headquarters are located in Radolfzell at Lake Constance, Germany.
Partners Fundación Global Nature, Spain Ayuntamiento de Fuentes de Nava and Ayuntamiento de Boada de Campos, Spain EPO-Society for the Protection of Nature and Ecodevelopment, Greece AENAK (Development Agency of the Prefecture of Kavala), Greece Lake Constance Foundation (Bodensee-Stiftung), Germany The Broads Authority, United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE00 ENV/D/000351
Duration 01-JUL-2001 to 31-OCT -2004
Total budget 1,060,127.70 €
EU contribution 523,064.00 €
Project location Vorarlberg(Österreich) Baden-Württemberg(Deutschland) Castilla-León(España) Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki(Ellas) East Anglia(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Project web site Website of the beneficiary
Project web site Project web site
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Reviving Wetlands – Sustainable Management of Wet ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Restauración de Humedales - Manejo sostenible de ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Reviving Wetlands – Sustainable Management of Wet ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report (EN)
Publication: Pedagogical tool "Feuchtgebiete renaturieren – Nachhaltiges Managem ...
Publication: Proceedings "Jornadas de trabajo: Implementatción de planes de ...
Video link "Reviving wetlands: presenting La Nava and Boada in Spain and the Nestos Lakes and Lagoons in Greece" (in Greek) (42')
Video link "Renaturierung von Feuchtgebieten" (42')
Video link "Rehabilitación de humedales" (42')
Video link "Reviving wetlands: presenting La Nava and Boada in Spain and the Nestos Lakes and Lagoons in Greece" (42')


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