ESGIRA-MARIA - Integrated Managmeent Structure of Ria de Aveiro : ESGIRA - MARIA

LIFE99 ENV/P/000673

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Celeste ALVES COELHO
Tel: +351 234/37 0831
Fax: +351 234/42 92 90
Email: coelho@dao.ua.pt

Project description:


The Ria de Aveiro, a coastal lagoon stretching 600 km2, is a area of key importance for nature conservation. Many diversified interests and a complex system of jurisdictional divisions has caused conflicts which are reflected in the quality of the environment and the natural resources of the coastal lagoon/dune system. The Demonstration Programme for Integrated Management of the Ria de Aveiro – MARIA (a 1996 Life Project), led to the establishment of a new wide-ranging partnership, with stakeholders from the public and private sector, to manage the coastal zone. It also proposed various scenarios for possible intervention to achieve integrated management. As a follow-up to the previous LIFE project, the current project would implement four pilot projects and test the Integrated Management Structure (IMS).


The project intended to respond to some deficiencies identified, principally in the lack of coordination and general disjointed nature of actions taken at different levels of the administration, the inadequacy of legislation and instruments for implementation and the lack of co-ordination between the different groups using coastal areas. The project's objectives were: - To test the efficiency of an Integrated Management Structure (IMS) in the management of the project implementation area (Ria de Aveiro) through negotiation among the various interests groups (a wide-ranging partnership was created within the framework of the 1996 LIFE project - MARIA). - To contribute to the identification of integrated management methodologies for coastal areas, and specifically, for lagoon-rich wetlands. - To identify mechanisms that allow the (re) formulation of a structure of this type, and are capable of working with the multitude and diversity of aspects related to the land use planning and conservation of the area.


The activities of the project revolved around 4 pilot projects, which were successfully established and achieved various results: • Pilot-project A “Recuperation and Optimisation of the Quays” - enabled the restoration and use of the existing quays in the various canals of the Ria and the reinstatement of their value. These are of interest and have significant potential owing to their historical and cultural importance and contribute to the revitalisation of the estuarine lagoon itself. • Pilot-project B “Recuperation of the Aveiro Saltpans” - the production of salt in the Ria de Aveiro is a very old and traditional activity, once of fundamental importance to the region’s economy, but nowadays in decline. This pilot project drew up a programme for the future development of the salt works that will be a new economic activity and the safeguard the natural and landscape value of the wetland. • Pilot-project C “Integrated Management of the Agricultural Fields of the Baixo-Vouga” – elaboration of a management programme allowing agricultural activities to be implemented and, at the same time, to maintain the area’s ecosystems. • Pilot-project D “Classification and Management of the Área de Paisagem Protegida da Foz do Cáster” – the implementation of measures which promote the classification and integrated management of the mouth of the Cáster as a Protected Landscape Area (APP). The project-pilot C was the only one that was not fully executed as some principles and directives were not implemented. On the whole the project offered a solution to the problems caused by the abandonment of certain traditional activities, and proposed new activities compatible with the protection of the environment. The project area is characterised by considerable human pressure on a natural environment which has a high conservation value. This increases the interest of the project, not just for the region itself, but also as a model for action in other areas with similar problems. Since integrated coastal management is an issue at the European level, this project could contribute to the development of strategies for action in that area. The contribution made by the project is, essentially, operational, in the sense that through the pilot-projects it aimed to test a management structure for the resolution of questions characteristic of coastal wetlands. The projected design of the IMS for Ria de Aveiro would appear to be suitable to local needs, when the results which achieved are taken into account.


Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal
Land-use & Planning - Sensitive and protected areas management


coastal management‚  sensitive area‚  integrated management‚  public-private partnership

Target EU Legislation

  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Recommendation 2002/413 EC - "Implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management in Europe" (30 ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Universidade de Aveiro - Departam. de Ambiente e Ordenamento
Type of organisation University
Description The University of Aveiro, and more specifically the Department of Environment and Land-use Planning, is the beneficiary of the project. Created in 1973 this public university was one of the pioneers at national level to offer courses in environmental fields. Since 1979, within this particular Department, several research projects have been developed by the professors, teachers and students of the university, along with the collaboration of public and private institutions.
Partners Administração do Porto de Aveiro, SA Associação de Municípios da Ria Associação Industrial do Distrito de Aveiro Instituto de Hidráulica, Engenharia Rural e Ambiente (Projecto Vouga) Direcção Regional do Ambiente e do Ordenamento do Território do Centro Comissão de Coordenação da Região Centro Instituto de Conservação da Natureza Direcção Regional da Agricultura da Beira Litoral Região de Turismo da Rota da Luz FAPAS – Fundo de Protecção para os Animais Selvagens QUERCUS – Núcleo Regional de Aveiro 10 municipalities (Águeda, Albergaria-a-Velha, Aveiro, Estarreja, Ílhavo, Mira, Murtosa, Oliveira do Bairro, Ovar and Vagos).


Project reference LIFE99 ENV/P/000673
Duration 01-SEP-1999 to 01-NOV -2001
Total budget 553,166.87 €
EU contribution 259,773.94 €
Project location Centro(Portugal)


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