The Po Delta Lagoons

Page 1










OCTOBER - 2013





PREFACE by Maurizio Conte (Veneto Region)


MANAGEMENT AND STUDYING OF THE PO DELTA by Fabrizio Ferro (Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po)



Studies & Research

AND OUTLETS: THE STATE OF THE ART OF STUDIES AND KNOWLEDGE by Marco Zasso and Italo Saccardo (ARPAV Belluno), Giancarlo Mantovani (Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po), Bruno Matticchio (IPROS Padova), Alberto Agnetti and Silvano Pecora (ARPAEM Parma), Tommaso Settin (ARPAV Belluno, AIPO Rovigo)


MONITORING THE WATER QUALITY IN THE PO DELTA LAGOONS: ANALYSIS OF CHEMICAL-PHYSICAL PARAMETERS MEASURED BETWEEN 2005 AND 2010 by Pietro Traverso and Angelo Rubino (Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia), Davide Zanchettin (Max Planck Institute for Meteorology)


SHELLFISHING IN THE PO DELTA LAGOONS, VENETO: SOCIO–ECONOMIC ASPECTS by Francesco Donati (Professor of Agricultural Policies and Economics) and Elena Fabbro (Università di Udine)


ELEMENTS OF ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING IN THE STABILIZATION OF THE SACCA SCARDOVARI by Andrea Bonometto (Environmental Engineer), Lorenzo Bonometto (Società Veneziana di Scienze Naturali), Pippo Gianoni (Iuav Venezia and Dionea Sa Locarno)


Various Activities

THE FAO-IMOLA PROJECT by Lino Tosini (Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin), Massimo Sarti (Chief Technical Adviser for the IMOLA project), Bruno Matticchio (IPROS Padova)


DELTAMED ASSOCIATION ACTIVITIES 2011-2012 by Lino Tosini (Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin)


ON THE TIDALLY AVERAGED DIFFUSION IN THE VALLONA LAGOON (PO RIVER DELTA) Andrea Defina (Università degli Studi di Padova), Graduate Alice Sgarabottolo




Thesis Review

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013


MAURIZIO CONTE Veneto Region Enviromental Counselor

The common element that characterizes the territory of the Po Delta, more so than any other area, is its richness in surface water, an element that is large enough and important enough for it to be called a “place.” A place that is present both in the cultivated lands of the valleys, as well as the coastal lagoons, and that is made up of the scope that is the relationship between land and water. In its extensive fields, this scope of the relationship between land and water is present where the channels and ditches border the patches of land that make up farms at rhythmic intervals, while in the valleys and lagoons it is present along the thin strips of land bordering the stretches of water in valleys or those separating the lagoons from the sea. Those who have worked in the Po Delta environment for a long time know that, whatever the field, the most delicate point of a hydraulic intervention and/ or vivification is the point where the land meets the water, one conditioning the other, in fact in the Delta one intervenes on the land in order to have an effect on the water and on the water in order to modify the land. It is in this close relationship between the irrigation water and the agricultural land that the fertility of the arable land in the Delta is expressed; likewise the success of delta mussel fishing is due to the link between salt & brackish water and the lagoon bottoms. The future also holds another equally important meeting point for the Po Delta area. A place of intangible relationships, where management and maintenance choices regarding the Delta area should be shared and, more importantly, guidelines should be identified for managing the effects that productive activities and climate change in the large hydraulic basin of the Po will have upon this delicate environment in the coming years. This new meeting point, which has its origins in the community system as implemented by national legislation, as expressed in the Contract of the mouths, which enables “those who govern, use and live off the water of the rivers, the lesser hydrographic network, the valleys, lagoons and sea, to achieve the goal of setting up local projects that are shared and verified in their environmental, economic and financial feasibility.” As far back as the late 1980s, the Veneto delta was recognized as a laboratory for interventions in the lagoon areas, for which a special Interdisciplinary Commission was established in order to address the many planning and monitoring activities and the carrying out of interventions, whilst acknowledging that this is a difficult territory, one that is prone to unpredictable transformations and adaptations caused by storms and the flooding of the Po. With the passing of the Contract of the mouths for the Delta area, the original intervention implemented through the Interagency Committee will be replaced by the adoption of a system of shared rules for the integrated management, the exploitation of land, and water resources management. The Contract of the mouths Action Program will be used as a point of reference for all actions resulting from voluntary agreements and must meet environmental sustainability criteria. It is with great enthusiasm that one welcomes this new institution that, in institutional terms, reintroduces the importance relationships between different systems, on which nature frequently relies, allowing those who are lucky enough to spend time in the Veneto delta to appreciate the uniqueness, richness and beauty of this area.



FABRIZIO FERRO Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po President

The Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po’s previous publication regarding the wetlands were very well received due to the scientific content of the topics dealt with regarding above all, the monitoring activities and studies carried out in the Management of the Po Delta Lagoons for which the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po has been responsible for over 25 years. Despite the previous issues being print editions of excellent quality and design that were also easy to consult, the Comitato Tecnico Scientifico , which advises the Con-

sorzio on lagoon vivification activities, suggested a new format, no longer printed but published online and downloadable from the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and the Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin websites, as well as the website specially created by the Consorzio in order to promote the Geographical Information System on the lagoons ( The reason for this choice lies in the possibility of greater exposure for the product, reaching institutions, scholars, experts, and students who use the Web as an archive for information. In this issue important studies carried out by the Consorzio are described with particular regard to the Sacca degli Scardovari, in which we look into issues concerning the adaptation of the mathematical model that simulates the hydrodynamics of the Sacca in order to assess the impact and effectiveness of interventions and planning, the analysis of the economic aspects associated with and resulting from the implementation of interventions, and a description of interventions carried out on the sandbar, aimed at their environmental restoration, with environmental engineering and the planting of pioneer species. In lagoon areas that are sensitive to the flow of the Po distributaries, with their mouths located only a few hundred meters from the lagoon mouths, it was necessary to identify the surrounding conditions and therefore the flow discharged from each mouth, which is why distribution measurements were carried out in the Pontelagoscuro section on the various distributaries under the differing hydraulic conditions of the river. Another issue relates to the synthesis of the results of years of monitoring the quality of the lagoon waters carried out in cooperation with ARPAV. This real-time monitoring is useful in predicting anoxia and eutrophication in the study of ingression phenomena in lagoons with an excess of freshwater and the monitoring of the lagoon’s “breathing”. It is important to continue in efforts aimed at studying the Po Delta wetlands, a wonderful area from a naturalistic point of view and a source of income for the local people.


The Po Delta Lagoons

The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge


MARCO ZASSO Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto, Sicurezza per il Territorio Dept., Belluno

October 2013


and salt water mixing processes and is therefore among the principal factors

The availability and the acquisition

in the delicate balance of transitional

of useful information for the hydrolog-

aquatic ecosystems, that consequently

ic characterization of the Po River Del-

influence the numerous human activi-

ta plays a pivotal role in improving and

ties (fishing, aquaculture, tourism) that

integrating the cognitive framework

revolve around these unique and highly

GIANCARLO MANTOVANI Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po, Taglio di Po

of an extremely complex, and con-

vulnerable areas. Therefore, it is exactly

stantly evolving system. In fact, there

in such contexts that in-depth knowl-

BRUNO MATTICCHIO IPROS Ingegneria Ambientale, Padova

are numerous factors involved in the

edge brings significant implications to

evolution of the Delta plain, where

the quality planning and designing of

ALBERTO AGNETTI Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale dell’Emilia Romagna, Servizio Idro-Meteo-Clima, Parma

geo-morphological processes linked

structural interventions, be they on the

to fluvial dynamics and factors related

main branch of the Po, along the coast,

to subsidence, tidal regimes and wave

or within the lagoon.

ITALO SACCARDO Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto, Sicurezza per il Territorio Dept., Belluno

SILVANO PECORA Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale dell’Emilia Romagna, Servizio Idro-Meteo-Clima, Parma TOMMASO SETTIN Agenzia Regionale per la Prevenzione e Protezione Ambientale del Veneto, Sicurezza per il Territorio Dept., Belluno; Agenzia Interregionale per il fiume Po, Rovigo

action, as well as structural interventions and related works carried out

In order to update and broaden the

over the years by the institutions in

base knowledge of the phenomena

charge of maintaining its watercourse

that govern the dynamics and behavior

are strongly interconnected.

of the Po River in the terminal stretch which makes up the Delta, ARPA Vene-

Adequate knowledge of the hydro-

to, ARPA Emilia Romagna and Consor-

dynamic regime in the Po’s terminal

zio di Bonifica Delta del Po have collabo-

stretches under different hydrologic

rated in the carrying out of hydrological

conditions is certainly a basic element

surveys consisting of the measurement

in defining and designing structural in-

of flow rates and sediment transport

terventions in order to, on one hand,

along the various distributaries that

ensure the hydraulic safety of the sur-

make up the Delta. This article, based

rounding area, and on the other, to pre-

on available data (as documented by

dict and prevent the intrusion of salt

Ufficio Idrografico del fiume PO, UIPO

wedges along the river courses in low

and ENEL as of the 1930s up to 1989)

water regimes. It should also be noted

and on new hydrological information

that these studies are of particular im-

acquired between 2002 and 2011, aims

portance to the analysis of hydrody-

to provide a contribution to the quanti-

namic flow and coastal morphology in

fication of the various Po Delta distribu-

relation to the dynamics of inherently

taries’ hydraulic efficiency through the

fragile ecosystems such as the Po Delta

evaluation of the distribution of river

lagoons. The hydraulic efficiency of the


individual distributaries, as well as the various outlets to the sea, is closely connected to the way in which sediment is

Measuring Campaigns 2002–2011

transported along the river’s course, and its resulting distribution along the




coastal arch, and therefore plays an im-

campaigns have enabled the updating

portant role in the evolutionary dynam-

of knowledge on flow rate distribution

ics of the delta coast and lagoon inlets.

in the various delta distributaries. The

In fact, delta distributary sedimentation,

Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po car-

along with the tides, determines fresh

ried out monitoring campaigns in Sep-


Flow measurement sections 2002-2011 Main areas


tember 2002 and November 2007. The

campaigns. Two more campaigns were

September 2002 campaign concerned

carried out in 2010 (June and Novem-

the main distributaries of the Delta

ber) that saw a productive collabo-

and the Po di Pila sea outlets, while

ration between ARPA Veneto, ARPA

that of November 2007 also investi-

Emilia Romagna and the Consorzio di

gated the distribution of the Po di Tolle

Bonifica Delta del Po.

outlets. The average flow recorded at

Pontelagoscuro in these monitoring

The measurements looked into the

activities was close to 2,300 m 3 /s. A

distribution phenomenon during the

measuring campaign was carried out

falling discharge phase, as explained

in May 2007 with the participation of

in more detail below, monitoring high

ARPA Emilia-Romagna , ARPA Veneto,

flow rates never previously measured.

ARNI , the Provincia di Ferrara , the

In conjunction with flow measure-

Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and

ments, samples aimed at the quanti-

the Consorzio I° Circondario Polesine

fication of suspended sediment trans-

di Ferrara regarding the measuring of

port were also taken during the 2010

the Po river’s low water outflow ( Pon-

campaigns. Finally, a survey involving

telagoscuro average Q equal to 657

flow distribution of the Po Grande be-

m 3 /s). Measurements taken over a

tween Po di Goro and Po di Venezia

tidal hemicycle (12 hours) made it pos-

was carried out in November 2011 that

sible to determine the average flow

coincided with flooding, with a peak

rate along the delta distributaries in

flow rate of about 5,900 m 3 /s at Pon-

sections also monitored during other




5 Km

Figure 1: overview of measurement section locations on the main distributaries of the Delta.

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

Figure 2a: ADCP sensor towed by boat used for conducting flow rate measurements.

and 2011. Figure 1 also pinpoints the river sections equipped with hydrometer stems or in which there are automatic hydrometric stations. These stations are equipped with ultrasonic hydrometers that are part of the Re-

gione Veneto real time network. Unfortunately due to technical problems not all the hydrometers were functioning when measuring was carried out. In addition to the hydrometers in Figure 1, hydrometric data from Polesella (RO), and Pontelagoscuro (FE) were available. As previously mentioned, Figure 2b: view of hydrometric monitoring installation (hydrometer stem and ultrasonic hydrometer) on the Po di Gnocca .

ultrasonic hydrometer

the outflow rate for the latter section is available. The data from these stations are useful as a reference for the flow rate in the upstream sections for the relative propagation times of hydrometric variations along the river course. In order to measure the outflow, trimaran mounted Doppler flow meters were towed along a section as orthogonally as possible to the direction of flow. In particular, for the measure-

hydrometer stem

ments carried out during the falling discharge phase (2010 and 2011), an ultrasonic ADCP sensor (Figure 2a & Figure 2b) equipped with four trans-

This survey was conducted by ARPA

of hydrometric disruptions along the

ducers operating on two different fre-

Veneto in collaboration with AIPO.

various distributaries. In this way it

quencies in order to determine verti-

With the exception of that conducted

was possible to get a snapshot of a

cal speed, and a transducer dedicated

in May 2007, all the monitoring cam-

situation that resembled, as closely as

to bathymetric measurement, was

paigns were carried out in hydrologic

possible, the conditions along the vari-


conditions characterized by high wa-

ous stretches.

ter stages (average Q average at Pon-

The equipment also had two RTK

telagoscuro between 2,300 and 5,900

It should also be noted that the

GPS receivers: a “base” on the shore

m 3/s). Under these circumstances the

survey methodology is perfectly con-

and a “rover” mounted on the trima-

measurements were carried out by

sistent with the operational methods

ran in order to permit the location and

instantaneously monitoring the flow

adopted for past campaigns, to which

geo-referencing of the equipment’s

rate along the various distributaries

the results are compared below. Fig-

movements along the section of riv-

while attempting to plan and execute

ure 1 shows the sections in which

erbed being investigated. This tech-

the surveys in conditions that were as

measurements of flow and sediment

nological device eliminates the uncer-

synchronous as possible, also in rela-

transport were carried out in the vari-

tainties in the estimation of speed and

tion to the various propagation times

ous Delta distributaries between 2002

bathymetry in moving riverbed condi-


Depth (m)

Distance North (m)

Velocity magnitude (m/s)

Lenght (m) River Depth

Top Q Depth

Distance East (m)

Bottom Q Depth

Ship track Average 2000 m/s

tions. In the 2002 and 2007 studies,

tributaries) are summarized in Table 1.

the ADCP equipment used did not

Values in italics are the net difference

utilize GPS technology. It should be

while the last column shows the aver-

stressed that, given the low flow rates

age daily flow at Pontelagoscuro as a

detected in these measuring cam-

reference value of the specific hydro-

paigns, the slower speeds reduce the

logical regime during the monitoring.

Figure 3: ADCP measurements of the S4-b (Po di Pila) section on 06/11/2010 between 10:57 and 11:02: showing the course (right) and speed distribution graph (left).

effects of riverbed movement in the bathymetry and speed estimation. The

Similarly, Table 2 represents the Po

flow measurements performed in vari-

di Pila’s three outlets to the sea (Busa

ous studies and distribution percent-

di Scirocco, Tramontana and Busa Dritta

ages in the various distributaries of

or di Levante) as well as those of the Po

the Delta ( Po di Goro, Venezia , Gnocca ,

di Tolle (Busa di Bastimento, Storiona,

Maistra , Tolle and Pila) in relation to

and Bocca del Po di Tolle). The results

the total flow (calculated from the sum

of the analysis carried out on samples

flow measured along individual dis-

of available data in order to compare

Measurement date

Po di Goro (S0)

Po di Venezia (S1)

Po di Gnocca (S2)

Po di Maistra (S3)

Po di Tolle (S4)

Po di Pila (S4b)

Po at Pontelagoscuro













m3/s (average daily)

14 Sept 2002














30 May 2007














27 Nov 2007














22 June 2010














6 Nov 2010














11 Nov 2011*














Table 1: flow measurements carried out along the various distributaries and flow percentages for each section compared to total flow calculated from the sum of flow measured along the various branches (Goro, Gnocca , Maistra , Tolle, Pila) (italics represent the net difference). *The measurements were taken at Serravalle, monitoring the flow of the Po Grande, Po di Venezia and Po di Goro over a reduced time frame. The quantity of data acquired is confirmed by the small differences in percentage in terms of balance: the difference between the sum of the two distributaries (Goro and Venezia) and the flow rate measured on the Po Grande, again at Serravalle, is 1.1%.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

Measurement date

Busa di Tramontana

Busa di Levante

Busa di Scirocco

Busa del Bastimento

Busa Storiona

Bocca Po di Tolle













14 Sept 2002













27 Nov 2007













22 June 2010













6 Nov 2010













Table 2: flow measurements carried out along the Po’s various outlets to the sea. The Po di Pila percentages refer to total flow calculated from the sum of the individual measurements while the percentages for the mouths of the Po di Tolle refer to the Po di Tolle total flow at Scardovari (S4c) (italics represent the net difference).

the percentage of flow currently ab-

The data available up to the end of

sorbed by the individual distributar-

the 1960s (UIPO and Canali ) show the

ies of the Delta with that of the past

hydraulic efficiency of the Po di Goro

can be seen below. Separate analysis

to be very consistent and stable over

was conducted on the Delta’s six main

time (Figure 4). The few measurements

distributaries ( Po di Goro, Po Venezia ,

from 1970 to 1990 (source: ENEL) show

Po di Maistra , Po di Toll e, Po di Gnocca

an apparent change in the tributary’s

and Po di Pila), the mouths of the Po di

behavior pattern with an increase in ef-

Pila ( Busa Dritta , Busa di Tramontana

ficiency in relation to low/ medium wa-

and Busa di Scirocco) and on the three

ter regimes. The only recent available

mouths of the Po di Tolle ( Busa del

data (regarding “low stage” regimes)

Bastimento, Busa Storiona and Bocca

tends to strongly realign past behavior

del Po di Tolle).

patterns while showing a trend of increased efficiency for this distributary.

Distribution of Flow along the Main Distributaries of the Delta

This behavior pattern is even more pronounced in “high stage” regimes where the historical data tends to show

For each main distributary, all avail-

an asymptotic tendency in which, for

able measurements are once again pro-

high flow rates, the Po di Goro was able

posed showing the flow percentage of

to dispose of close to 10% of the total

each distributary in relation to average

runoff of the Po River.

daily flow at Pontelagoscuro. In terms of quality, the distinction is made between

However the recent 2010 and 2011

“low stage” (flow less than 1,000 m /s at

studies show the capacity of the dis-

Pontelagoscuro), “medium water”(flow

tributary to drain about 13-14% of the

between 1,000 m3/s and 3,000 m3/s at

total runoff of the Po River. This trend

Pontelagoscuro) and “high stage” (flow

was also evident in the Fiorotto study

of more than 3,000 m /s at Pontel-

(2002) based on a physical model of

agoscuro), as proposed by Visentini and

the Po di Venezia-Po di Goro hydrau-

subsequently adopted for all analysis

lic intersection node, which estimates

that followed. In Figure 4, for the vari-


ous distributaries of the Po Delta, data

the Goro distributary that range from

relating to distribution percentage of

10.8% for incoming flow of 3,000 m 3/s

flow are compared to the average value

to values close to 14% for that of over

estimated at Pontelagoscuro.

8,000 m 3/s.







Figure 4: flow rate in the various distributaries of the Po compared to the average flow of the Po at Pontelagoscuro with respect to the total flow of the Po: comparison of the historical data available.

Low water

Medium water

High water

Low water

Medium water

High water

Measurements 2002-2001

Low water

Medium water

High water

Measurements 2002-2001

Low water

Medium water

High water

Measurements 2002-2001

Measurements 2002-2001

Low water

Low water

Medium water

Medium water

High water

Measurements 2002-2001

High water

Measurements 2002-2001


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

Figure 5: the evolutionary trend of the Po Grande highlights a progressive weakening in efficiency to the advantage, in differing ways, of all the lateral distributaries. This behavior is opposite to that of the effect following the realization of the significant systemization interventions carried out between the 1980s and today (straightening and widening of the bed). Right: Creation of the new bed in the Corbola and Bottrighe coves. Left: Artificial straightening bar (drizzagno) realized at the Volta Vaccari cove.

Finally one notes how, during the

remained more or less constant for

2002 and 2007 campaigns relating

the next twenty years (9.9% in 1958-

to the “medium water” regime, this

1959), while today it boasts percent-

branch of the Po was not subject to

ages close to double those estimated

direct measurement. All this suggests

at the beginning of the last century.

that on the whole, in this distributary of the Delta, there is an evolution-

The hydraulic behavior of the Po

ary trend that tends to increase in

di Venezia (downstream from where

importance in the overall outflow of

the Goro distributary branches out)

water to the sea from the Po River.

is obviously a mirror image of the Po

The progressive trend of increasing

di Goro ’s behavior described above.

efficiency in the Goro distributary is

Therefore, according to the data

also confirmed by the estimates made

shown in Figure 4, there is an appar-

by Canali in 1959, according to which

ent decrease in the efficiency of that

at the beginning of 1900 the flow rate

distributary over all regimes investi-

percentage in that distributary in

gated. On the other hand it should be

“high stage” regimes was 7%, which

noted that, like the data provided by

later increased to 9.3% in the period

ENEL between 1970 and 1990, there

between 1926 and 1939, after which it

were profound differences with that


which had been monitored in the

Regarding the Po di Gnocca , it is

The Po di Maistra , of all the main

past, even if such behavior was en-

evident how the percentage of the

distributaries, is certainly the least

hanced by an “overestimation of flow

portion of the outflow discharged

significant in terms of the percentage

in the Pontelagoscuro section, as ver-

to the sea through this distributary

of contributions to sea of the total

ified in 1988-1989, when outflow rate

maintains fairly stable in the face of

outflow of the Po River. The Canali

checks were carried out (by ENEL) in

the Po’s significant flow rate vari-

report (1959) emphasized that, based

this section� (Grego , 1990). Regard-

ations. On average this percentage

on a period of a hundred years, it was

ing the division between the Goro and

amounts to values between 10 and

evident how the mouths of the Po

Venezia distributaries, one must em-

15%. Historical data also show that,

oriented towards the Scirocco would,

phasize the importance of extending

over time, there has been an increase

over time, become less active, as op-

flow monitoring (in particular in the

in efficiency in this class, a variation

posed to those oriented toward the

medium water hydrometric regime

that came to the fore over a twenty-

Bora quadrant. This phenomenon

for which there is no recent available

year period from 1939 to 1959, com-

is common to all the rivers with sig-

data), through simultaneous meas-

pared to the preceding period, as re-

nificant sediment transport with out-

urements at the inlet to the two dis-

ported by Canali (1959). In the years

lets along the Padano-Veneto coast,

tributaries, in order to minimize pos-

that followed, and up to this day,

which tend to divert their mouths in

sible uncertainty due to propagation

there have been no apparent signifi-

the quadrant between N and E. The

phenomena along the course of the

cant changes in the efficiency of this

main cause of this trend according to



Cialdi (see Canali , 1959), are the pre-


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

vailing winds and sea induced currents,

winds and subsequent wave induced

elements that govern the accretion of

currents.” Following interventions for

sand near the mouth.

the realization of the Polesine Camer-

ini station, this distributary was more The Po di Maistra’s hydraulic behavior

closely monitored by ENEL in the period

pattern is quite clearly in line with this

1970-1990. Given the specific investiga-

trend, as one notes from the data in Fig-

tion aims, to look into the effects of the

ure 4, how this distributary’s hydraulic

intervention on the Po River in shallow

efficiency has grown significantly over

water conditions, monitoring focused

the different monitoring periods. The

mainly on “low and medium stage” re-

recently performed “medium stage” and


“high stage” measurements, although small, again suggest an increase in ef-

In this context, there was a nota-

ficiency of this distributary, when com-

ble net increase in this distributary’s

pared to the results of the last systemat-

efficiency with values that were even

ic measurements relating to the period

slightly higher than those representing

1939-1959 (Canali). In such regimes, the

the period 1926-1938 (18-20%) regard-

flow rate percentage through the Po di

ing “medium water” and well above

Maistra would have been between three

the 20% (some even as high as 25%)

and four percent. Regarding the “low

in “low stage”. This trend and similar

water” regime, as in the case of the Po

values were also confirmed by recent

di Goro, the measurements carried out

studies (even if a single value relating

by ENEL (1970-1990) are contrary to the

to “low stage” regime is not sufficient

behavior patterns observed in the only

to draw any definitive conclusion). How-

recent campaign. In fact, the data from

ever, regarding “high stage” regimes,

May 2007 shows a very limited outflow

it is evident how modern work means

through that distributary. In this context

have enabled the monitoring of a much

the need for further instrumental stud-

higher “range” of flow rates than in the

ies in order to analyze these behavior

past. Hence, past measurements that

patterns, especially in “low stage”, is

could be considered useful in making a


uniform comparison are not available for this “range”. However, for high flow

The Po di Tolle distributary has

rates, as the data in Figure 4 shows, it

showed variable behavior patterns over

is clear how the efficiency of this dis-

time, in fact, for a period at the begin-

tributary, in the falling discharge phase,

ning of the last century (1926-1938), it

is certainly superior to that of the past,

was characterized by an outflow capac-

resulting in about 20% of the total flow

ity of close to 15% of the total, followed

of the Po river being let out to sea.

by a decrease in hydraulic efficiency in the 1939-1959 period.

The Po di Pila distributary has progressively and significantly decreased in

This variation had already been re-

efficiency over the last century.

ported by Canali (1959), thus confirming this evolutionary trend in the Delta

From the data in Figure 4 one notes

characterized by a “gradual decreasing

how, in view of a substantial lack of be-

over time of the southern distributaries

havior pattern variation recorded up to

as a result of, as previously mentioned,

the end of the 1950s (even if, as reported


Figure 6: historical Measurements. Anchored measurement pontoon (above). Rod mounted reels (below). ENEL , 1973.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

by Canali, signs of a certain reduction in

(1990) highlighted how the reduction

behavior patterns of this distributary,

efficiency in “ medium water “ regimes

of efficiency in the Pila distributary was

but only suggests a possible evolution-

were already evident), the following two

actually amplified by the overestimation

ary trend. On the other hand it is evident

decades were characterized by a signifi-

of flow at Pontelagoscuro, a phenome-

how, over approximately 100 years, the

cant drop across all regimes. It should

non that came to light in checks carried

efficiency of this distributary, being the

be pointed out how, as of the 1970s, the

out on the outflow rate in 1988-1989.

main course for outflow to the sea, has

intensive monitoring program in the Po

The last two available measurements,

decreased by more than 10% with peaks

di Pila (UIPO 1970-1971 and ENEL 1970-

especially regarding the “medium wa-

close to 15% in “high stage” conditions.

1990) includes measurements that only

ter”, regime suggest a possible further

This behavior, as noted above, was off-

focused on this distributary of the del-

reduction in efficiency of this distribu-

set by a progressive increase in hydrau-

ta. As a result, the uncertainty regard-

tary that seems however, to remain un-

lic efficiency in all the other distributar-

ing the outflow rate at Pontelagoscuro,

changed compared to the two extreme


which provided the flow reference, has

regimes of “low stage” and “high stage”.

resulted in the propagation of uncer-

It is also clear how the relative lack of

A final consideration puts together

tainties in the evaluation of the hydrau-

available measurements does not per-

data analysis relating to all distributar-

lic efficiency in the Po di Pila. Grego

mit the univocal definition of hydraulic

ies up to now considered precise. In all the graphs proposed, there is a strong dispersion of the “low stage” regime data; such behavior patterns are con-

Figure 7a: percentage of average daily flow at Pontelagoscuro carried into the sea from the Busa di Tramontana . Graphic comparison between the measurements and the recent data available.

LOW water

MEDIUM water

nected to difficulties in systematically monitoring all the Po’s distributaries in hydrometric conditions markedly dominated by the effect of the tide, under homogeneous conditions (over an entire tidal cycle). Therefore, in such conditions, it is difficult to find a function that is able to univocally summarize the patterns, while it is certainly easier to assess an “average efficiency” in these

HIGH water


Distribution in the Mouths to the Sea The hydraulic efficiency of the Pila and Figure 7b: percentage of flow carried by the Busa di Tramontana compared to the total flow of the Po di Pila . The results of the comparison were obtained by interpolating the available data from 1970 to 2010. The flow rate obtained from the sum of the measured values in the three mouths is indicated as QPILA.


Tolle distributaries’ mouths to the sea has been investigated with less continuity over the last century (Figure 7) compared to surveys conducted to estimate the flow rate distribution along the main distributaries. There is however data for measurements carried out on the three

Po di Pila (UIPO 1940) mouths from 1927 to 1938, those provided by ENEL (1990, 1991) relating to the measurements carried out from 1972 to 1991 on the mouths of the Po Pila and Po di Tolle.

As of 2002, ARPA Veneto, ARPA

expressed as a percentage of the aver-

The Busa di Levante or Dritta is the

Emilia Romagna and the Consorzio di

age flow at Pontelagoscuro, is also af-

central mouth of the Po di Pila and most

Bonifica Delta del Po have carried out

fected by morphological changes and

of the flow that comes from this distribu-

four studies to assess the flow rate dis-

variations to hydraulic efficiency in the

tary is carried out to sea. The compari-

tribution of these two delta distributar-

Po di Pila distributary as a whole. It is

son between the recent measurements

ies. The distribution of the Po di Tolle

possible to partly exclude these effects

and the historical data (see Figure 8)

(Bocca di Tolle, Busa Storiona and Busa

when comparing flow values measured

shows a marked reduction in hydraulic

del Bastimento) was only investigated

at the Busa di Tramontana with the flow

efficiency over time of the Busa which,

in the 2007 and November 2010 cam-

of the Po di Pila (see Figure 7b. The avail-

compared to the average daily flow at

paigns (Table 2).

ability of data relating to measurements

Pontelagoscuro, now stands between

carried out over the past 40 years, in

20 and 30%. In the 1920s and 1930s, the

The Po di Pila Mouths: Busa di

this case allows the calculation of the

Busa di Levante was capable of dispos-

Tramontana, Busa di Levante and

flow percentage difference between the

ing of up to 50-60% of the total flow of

Busa di Scirocco

Busa di Tramontana and the Po di Pila

the Po River. Measurements carried out

by means of a power law, the results of

by ENEL from the 1970s to the 1990s had

which are shown in Figure 7b.

already revealed a significant decrease

From the data available for the Busa

di Tramontana (Figure 7) one can see that, except for some measurements carried out in the 1930s by UIPO that show higher distribution, there is a

Figure 8a: percentage of average daily flow at Pontelagoscuro carried into the sea from the Busa di Levante. Graphic comparison between the measurements and the recent available data.

growth trend between the flow at Pon-

telagoscuro and the hydraulic efficiency of the Busa di Tramontana. This trend, on the basis of available historical data, shows flow of less than 1,800 m3/s at

Pontelagoscuro to be more pronounced. For outflow of up to 5,000 m3/s, there is a reduction in the hydraulic efficiency increase rate of the Busa di Tramon-

tana (also confirmed by the most recent surveys), which tends to be reflected in values between 10 and 13 % of flow at

Pontelagoscuro. The higher distribution levels of col-

Figure 8b: percentage of flow carried by the Busa di Levante compared to the total flow of the Po di Pila . The results of the comparison were obtained by interpolating the available data from 1970 to 2010. The flow rate obtained from the sum of the measured values in the three mouths is indicated as QPILA.

lected data with flow of less than 1000 m3/s at Pontelagoscuro (the experimental data seem to indicate a significant reduction in hydraulic efficiency from 1940 to 1990 in “low stage� conditions) may in part be due to the inherent difficulties in carrying out flow measurements in river sections subject to tidal regimes and frequent changes that affect the riverbeds near the mouths. It should be underlined that the hydraulic efficiency of the Busa di Tramontana,


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

in efficiency compared to the values re-

(with an overall flow of less than 500-

general, covers between 1 and 6% of the

corded in from previous studies, mainly

600 m3/s) in which the data collected

flow rate at Pontelagoscuro, and can be

for flow of less than 2,000 m3/s at Pon-

by ENEL seem to show an increase in

considered fairly stationary over time


hydraulic efficiency at the mouth, com-

with weak variations in relation to the Po

pared to the Visentini historical data.

River hydrometric regime (Figure 9).

Such a marked reduction in the effi-

Analyzing the most recent data (1970

ciency of the Busa di Levante compared

to 2010) one can see a certain inertia of

In more detail, again in Figure 9, one

to flow at Pontelagoscuro is partly linked

the flow capacity of the Busa di Levante

can see that at one time, based on his-

to the reduction in overall efficiency of

in all hydrometric river conditions, with

torical data, the efficiency of the Busa

the Pila distributary. By comparing the

a slight tendency to decrease with flow

di Scirocco was greater than 3% in “low

flow values measured at the Busa Dritta

channeled to augment the total flow of

stage” conditions, while medium and

with total flow of the three mouths it is

the Po di Pila (Figure 8).

“high stage” hydrometric conditions re-

clear how, as of the 1920s up to today,

ported less than 3%. Today this data has

the hydraulic activity of the Busa di Le-

The Busa di Scirocco is the mouth

changed slightly due to a growth trend of

vante has generally decreased, except

of the Po di Pila characterized by low-

efficiency in “high stage” regimes. If one

for low water hydrometric conditions

est hydraulic capacity. Its efficiency, in

analyzes the distribution of flow measured in the Busa di Scirocco compared to the total value of the three mouths of the Po di Pila, the efficiency of this delta

Figure 9a: percentage of average daily flow at Pontelagoscuro carried into the sea from the Busa di Scirocco. Graphic comparison between the measurements and the recent data available.

distributary seems to have increased over time. The average value for the period 1927-1939 amounts to 5.2%, while the average value for the period 19702010 (excluding the two measurements carried out by ENEL in exceptional low water conditions) amounts to 8.5%. The last studies (2002-2010) seem

LOW water

MEDIUM water

to confirm a slight increase in the effi-

HIGH water

ciency of the Scirocco distributary with higher values than those reported in the historical data for flow in the Pila distributary exceeding 900 m3/s. However, for Figure 9b: percentage of flow carried by the Busa di Scirocco compared to the total flow of the Po di Pila . Comparison trend analytically obtained, based on the comparisons proposed for the other Po di Pila mouths. The flow rate obtained from the sum of the measured values in the three mouths is indicated as QPILA.


overall flow of less than 500 m3/s one detects a sudden increase in hydraulic activity of this delta distributary (in relation to the hydraulic behavior patterns of the three mouths to the sea of the Po

di Pila), even if the notable tidal motion, which is even more significant in the case of extremely low flow rates, does not always permit for the easy and accurate simultaneous evaluation of flow rates. Having already provided the relationships between the respective flow per-

centages carried by the Busa di Tramon-

tana and Levante, compared to the total flow of the mouths of the Po di Pila, one can analytically refer to the relationship that shows, once again as a percentage, the flow that is discharged into the sea via the Busa di Scirocco. Figure 9 shows how well the obtained relationship fits with the experimental data. Mouths of the Po di Tolle: Busa

Storiona, Busa del Bastimento and Bocca del Po di Tolle Two recent measuring campaigns (Table 2) were carried out on the mouths of the Po di Tolle (2007 and 2010). The measurements found in the historical data were from two surveys conducted by ENEL in 1991 and 1992. The recent measurements are not easily comparable to the available historical data, as a result of the different methods of data acquisition and the significant changes that the Sacca dei Bonelli has undergone over the last forty years. In more in detail, the 2010 measurements were carried out when the flow rates of the

Po di Tolle at Scardovari were approximately 1,100 m3/s, and in 2007 when the discharge at Scardovari was about 400 m3/s, while the ENEL measurements were conducted when the discharge at

Scardovari was between 70 and 450 m3/s. Figure 10: the evolutionary trend of the Po Grande with progressive weakening in efficiency to the advantage, in differing ways, of all the lateral distributaries. Possible effect of growing sediment deposit more and more evident in numerous stretches of the main distributary of the Po (in the entire Veneto stretch).

The comparison of the distribution data from the last two surveys did not show any particular changes in hydraulic efficiency of the mouths of the Po di

Tolle, while there were some values that conflicted with those recorded by ENEL. In November 2010, the Sacca dei Bonelli was completely flooded, preventing the direct measuring of flow carried by the

Busa del Bastimento, which was calculated as the difference from the total of


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

the Po di Tolle: the result was a hydraulic capacity equal to 4.4% of the flow of the Po di Tolle, as opposed to the aver-

Comparison of Field Measurements and Hydraulic Modeling of the Events of 2010

hydraulic models. The first is the onedimensional (1D) DELFT Hydraulics Sobek model implemented by ARPA Emilia

Romagna on behalf of AIPO (model im-

age value of the measurements carried out in 2007 which were equal to 5.7%,

A further phase of the investigation

plementations in order to predict flood-

albeit under a different hydrometric

involved the comparison of flow meas-

ing along the Po river course), while the

regime. However, the average of the

urements taken during low water/ flood

second is a two-dimensional (2D) finite

ENEL data recorded 1.5 km upstream

events in June and November 2010

elements model of the Consorzio Delta

of the mouth of the Busa del Basti-

and the output hydrographs obtained

Po (D’Alpaos e Defina, 1993, D’Alpaos

mento between 1972 and 1976 is equal

from simulations carried out using two

et. al., 1994, Consorzio Delta Po Adige,

to 20.3% of the Po di Tolle’s total flow. These variations can be explained by interventions carried out in the late 1980s/early 1990s also relating to the reopening of the connection to the lagoon corresponding to the branching

Figure 11: comparison between the results of the model and data obtained in the field regardin the June 2010 event.

off of the Busa del Bastimento. This work was carried out as part of management works in the Volta Vaccari cove (Figure 5), with the aim of maintaining the distribution percentage between the two branches of Pila and

Tolle. The UIPO report (1940) shows that, according to measurements taken in 1938 and 1939, the Po di Tolle’s flow distributed between the mouths of Tolle and del Bastimento, equaled 27.3% and 72.2% respectively. At that time, the adaptation of the mouth of the Po

di Tolle through the construction of the Busa Storiona in order to facilitate flood outflow to the sea had not yet been fully realized. According to measurements taken in 2007 and 2010, the Bocca di Tolle carried 17.2% and 17.8% of the Po di

Tolle flow measured at Scardovari, close to ENEL’s 1992 value (12.5%). According to surveys carried out in 2007 and 2010, the Busa Storiona currently shows considerably high hydraulic efficiency with about 77% of total incoming flow being carried to the sea.


2006) implemented by Ipros Ingegneria

upstream of the Po di Goro branch (at

well represented by both models with

Ambientale in the Delta area.

Berra, about 45 km downstream from

a maximum percentage difference

the Pontelagoscuro section) all the way

of 6%. However, the Po di Goro dis-

The Sobek model used the ADRIA-

to the sea. The upstream boundary con-

charge is overestimated by both mod-

ROMS model tide data as downstream

dition is shown in the hydrograph pro-

els by between 10 and 13%. Since the

boundary conditions, which had in the

duced from ARPAER’s Sobek model.

2D Consorzio di Bonifica model uses

past provided good results with the avail-

the Sobek model upstream flow rates

able observation points. The 2D Consor-

In Figure 11 simulation results for the

as boundary conditions, this can re-

zio model was applied to a section of the

June 2010 event are shown. The Po di

sult in a possible overestimation of

river that extends from about 3.5 km

Venezia measured discharges seem

the upstream discharge that may af-


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The Po Delta and the hydraulic efficiency of its distributaries and outlets: the state of the art of studies and knowledge

fect the modeling results. Regarding

can configure the Consorzio Delta Po’s

the other main delta distributaries,

2D model in order to be a useful analy-

the 2D model seems to be more accu-

sis tool that can also be applied in pre-

rate, with differences between 4 and

dictive phases, with the appropriate

12%. In particular, the Sobek model

foresight required by the noted differ-

significantly overestimates the hy-

ences between the observed data and

draulic efficiency of the Po di Maistra

model predictions. On the other hand,

and underestimates the flow through

the observations obtained may serve

the Po di Tolle . One should also note

as an additional means of contributing

an underestimation in the 2D model

to the refinement of the model.

of about 20% of the flow rates of the


Busa di Scirocco. 2010

The recent measuring campaigns

survey, the modeling results seem




carried out in different hydrologi-

less accurate when compared to the

cal regimes (“low stage”, “medium

June data. On the other hand the flow

stage”, “high stage”) on the Po Delta

measurements are also somewhat in-

distributaries highlight the significant

consistent because of the presence

potential of new available technology

of some deficits to the balance of the

that enables the acquisition of current

measured outflow. In particular, be-

and flow rate data using more accu-

tween the Po di Venezia and the sum

rate and less expensive systems than

of outflow monitored in the other dis-

in the past. On the other hand, the

tributaries, there is an apparent “loss”

campaigns showed the concrete pos-

of about 700 m 3/s. Both the two-di-

sibility of retrieving and updating the

mensional and Sobek models showed

relevant available knowledge base,

satisfactory flow rate approximations

which consists of a large number of

for the Po di Venezia for this event.

surveys carried out between 1920 and

However, both models’ overestimation

1990, in order to reconstruct trends

of the Po di Goro flow is confirmed.

that describe the hydraulic operation of the different distributaries, in terms

For the Gnocca , Maistra , Pila and

of evolution.

Tolle distributaries, there is a general overestimation with errors of between

The information provided by the

15 and 26% in the 2D model, while the

surveys also allowed for the identi-

Sobek model discrepancies are much

fication of specific needs to improve

bigger and follow the same trend seen

knowledge regarding behavior pat-

in the June event simulations: overes-

terns of certain distributaries in dif-

timation of the Gnocca , Maistra and

ferent hydraulic regimes. The ac-

Pila and underestimation of the Po di

quired experience is fundamental to

Tolle outflows. The Consorzio di Bon-

the planning and execution of further

ifica model underestimates the Busa

measuring campaigns aimed at better

di Scirocco’s flow by about 20%. The

defining the cognitive framework only

2D model ‘s accuracy in predicting be-

partially updated here.

havior patterns relating to the Po di

Tolle mouths is to be noted. Based on the above data, it is evident how one



Canali L.; Indagine sulla ripartizione della portata del Po tra i vari rami del Delta e sulla loro attività di deflusso; Giornale del Genio Civile, v 97, no. 12, 19 pp, 1959. Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po Adige, “Studi Idraulico marittimi nelle lagune deltizie – Lagune di Barbamarco e Canarin”. Rapporto tecnico interno, Sipim s.r.l., 2006. D’Alpaos, L. and A. Defina; Venice Lagoon hydrodynamics simulation by coupling 2D and 1D finite element

models. Atti del VIII International Conference on Finite Elements in Fluids - New trends and applications. Barcellona 20-24 sett., 917-926, 1993 Defina A., D’Alpaos L., Matticchio B. - “A new set of equation for very shallow water and partially dry areas

suitable to 2D numerical models”. Proceedings of Modelling of Flood Propagation Over Initially Dry Areas, ASCE Eds., Milano 1994. ENEL; Rilievi idrografici nella parte terminale del Delta del Po - Parte I - Descrittiva; ENEL-DSR.CRIS; Relazione H1/86 r; 1973. ENEL; Delta Po – Ripartizione della portata del Po di Tolle nei rami terminali; ENEL –DSR – CRIS Servizio Idrologico Relazione 1042; 1992. Fiorotto G., Caroni E. e Clemente P.; Modellazione idraulica, matematica e fisica dello stato di fatto del nodo idraulico Po di Venezia - Po di Goro, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Dipartimento Ingegneria Civile, Sezione idraulica e geotecnica, Trieste, 2002. Grego G., Mioni F.; Aspetti morfologici e idrologici del Delta del Po e confronto con il passato; Seminario di Studi sull’Ecologia del Delta; Parma 11-12 aprile, 1985. Grego G.; Idrologia del Delta del Po – Evoluzione dell’ultimo ventennio; ENEL –DSR – CRIS Servizio Idrologico Mestre (Ve); Convegno sull’ecologia del Delta del Po, Albarella (Ro), 1990. UIPO; Idrografia e Idrologia del Po; Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici, Servizio Idrografico; Pubblicazione n.19, Roma, 1981. UIPO; Indagine sul trasporto solido in sospensione nel Delta Padano relativa agli anni 1960-1961; Annali Idrologici 1962; Parte Seconda, Sezione F, pp 141-152, Parma, 1962. UIPO; La piena del Po del novembre 1968; Annali Idrologici 1968; Parte Seconda, Sezione F, pp 139-154, Roma, 1971. UIPO; Ricerche idrografiche nel Delta del Po; Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici, Servizio Idrografico, Pubblicazione n.14, Vol. 2, Roma, 1940.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010


Since 2005, yearly monitoring cam-

Knowledge of a system implies first

paigns have been carried out to record

of all, availability of data (primarily

PIETRO TRAVERSO Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia

the water quality in the lagoons of the

experimental, but also data simulated

Po River Delta. Measurements of vari-

using numerical models) relating to it.

DR. DAVIDE ZANCHETTIN Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

ous chemical-physical parameters (tem-

The natural environment in particular,

perature, conductibility/ salinity and

is a dynamical system: the evolution

concentration of dissolved oxygen) were

of its descriptive variables and param-

taken at regular intervals, especially in

eters is continuously shaped by multi-

the summer months, in an increasing

ple factors, some of which act locally,

number of lagoons over the years. To-

while others remotely (think for exam-

day, these measurements make up an

ple, about atmospheric and oceanic

important database of the quality of the

teleconnections). This characteristic

deltaic waters and, after their reanalysis

of the system poses problems of both

preceding publication, are also available

a theoretical and practical nature, in-

to scientific research activities.

volving primarily the data sampling.

ANGELO RUBINO Università Ca’ Foscari di Venezia

Theoretical problems are particularly On one hand this contribution is

relevant in extremely dynamic and

therefore motivated by the will to broad-

varied environments as in the case of

en our knowledge of physical, chemical-

the lagoon ecotones.

physical and biological dynamics in the Delta lagoons. On the other hand, it aims

Here in fact, the preferential use

at further qualifying the widespread

of monitoring sites at fixed loca-

commitment to the creation of this data-

tions inevitably leads to problems of

base, showing the importance of careful

representativeness of the data. It is

measuring and interpreting for a range

known that in these “transition” areas

of users.

physical-chemical and biological conditions may vary substantially within

In particular, this overview analysis

both relatively small areas and tem-

highlights the complexity of the inter-

poral frames. Thus limited (in space

actions between different physical pa-

and time) representativeness of ob-

rameters within the Po Delta lagoons. It

servational data represents a major

further reveals the existence of notably

difficulty in their interpretation, i.e.,

strong responses to external factors

their insertion within a well-defined

and the variety of phenomena that are

theoretical framework. This implies a

at the origin of the aforementioned in-

considerable logistical and therefore

teractions and responses. A continued

also economic effort in the activation

flow of information on the parameters

of the greatest possible number of

describing the water quality in the Po

monitoring sites capable of sampling

Delta lagoons is therefore indispensable

at a sufficient frequency (and for a

in such a highly dynamic context that is

sufficient time) in order to record the

so responsive to external perturbations,

dynamics of interest and their vari-

not only in order to gain a deeper under-


standing of the variability of the system,

Figure 1: 2005-2010 monitoring site positions.

but also from the perspective of future

The complex system of lagoons and

usage of this increasing flow of quantita-

“sacche” that characterizes the Po

tive information for the management of

Delta area provides several emblem-

such a significant area.

atic examples (in particular the Sacca


Valle Capitania Valle Veniera Valle Sagreda

Collettore Padano Polesano

Po di Maistra


Po Della Pila

Po di Venezia

Po Delle Tolle

Po Di Gnocca

Sacca Degli Scardovari

Po Di Goro


Scardovari Internal

2. Scardovari Sea 3. Canarin 4. Basson 5. Vallona 6. Marinetta


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

del Canarin and the Sacca degli Scar-

the different campaigns, highlight-

dovari ) of the heterogeneity and ex-

ing the two main sampling methods

treme variability typical of transition-

used: 1) pole-mounted multiparameter

al habitats both from a biochemical

probe, with sensors constantly sub-

and ecological point of view. In fact, in

merged in lagoon waters and sampling

the different portions of each lagoon the evolution of the physical-chemical








characteristics and degree of vivifica-

Scardovari Internal







tion is inextricably tied to hydrody-

Scardovari Sea







namics, and it is in turn influenced by








atmospheric circulation, tides, local








inflow of freshwater from the different








distributaries of the Po and its water








towers, morphology / bathymetry and so on. at a fixed height from the bottom, 2) The hydrodynamics therefore also

buoy-mounted multiparameter probe

contribute on the one hand, to the pro-

equipped with hydraulic extraction/

pensity of the different lagoons (and

washing system, sampling at a fixed

of different regions within a lagoon)

depth below the surface.

to experience prolonged periods of significant stagnation or, on the oth-

In the table, and generally in this

er hand, to their different exposures

text, the different monitoring sites are

to the inflow of riverine freshwater

referred to as follows:

during flooding events. In particular,

1. Scardovari Internal for the buoy

deviations from the natural function-

monitoring site in the inner portion of

ing of the system linked to the above

the Sacca degli Scardovari , in the vi-

mentioned factors are of major inter-

cinity of the dock;

est, since they may lead to disruptive

2. Scardovari Sea for the buoy

anoxic events like that affecting the

monitoring site in the outer portion of

most internal portion of the Sacca de-

the Sacca degli Scardovari , near the

gli Scardovari during the summer of

mouth to the sea, a few meters from

2009. In order to provide an evermore

the eastern edge of the Sacca ;

complete picture of the environmental

3. Canarin for buoy monitoring site

conditions in the Po Delta lagoons, the

in the central portion of the Sacca del

monitoring system of water quality

Canarin , north of the northern mouth

has evolved over the years, from the

to the sea, a few meters from the strip

two stations initially set up in the Sac-

of land which separates the artificial

ca degli Scardovari (2005 campaign)

canal west of the lagoon;

to the six active stations in the Sacca

4. Basson for the pole monitoring

degli Scardovari , Sacca del Canarin,

site in the central portion of the Sac-

and in the Marinetta , Basson and Val-

ca del Basson , a few hundred meters

lona lagoons during the 2008, 2009

north of the southern mouth to the

and 2010 campaigns.

sea; 5. Vallona for the buoy site moni-

Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the monitoring system for

toring in the central portion of the La-

guna di Vallona , north of the bend;


Table 1: active sites over the course of the monitoring. B: Buoy site; B*: Buoy site with deeper extraction; P: Pole site.

6. Marinetta for the pole monitor-

using, above all, statistical methods

technical aspects, such as the detailed

ing site in the central portion of the

designed to identify correlations not

description of the sampling systems

Laguna di Marinetta .

only between the different variables

or the validation phase prior to pub-

measured, but also between them

lication of data. For these technical

The approximate location of the

and additional variables, be they lo-

aspects, the reader should refer to the

monitoring sites is shown in Figure 1.

cal or representative of larger-scale

technical reports produced at the end

The data described and analyzed in

conditions. In this way it is possible

of each campaign.

this paper refer to the following pa-

to contextualize the measured vari-

rameters: temperature, salinity, and

ability in the quality and character-

Figure 2 compares the data meas-

dissolved oxygen, sampled at three-

istics of the lagoon waters with lo-

ured in the Sacca del Canarin during

hour intervals or less.

cal and larger-scale weather and

the 2007, 2008 and 2009 campaigns.

climate dynamics. In this context,

The evolution of water temperature is

Based on the framework outlined

this study focuses on the analysis of

characterized by notable similarities

above and in order to minimize, or at

daily-average values, which are in-

between the different years, originat-

least greatly limit the inevitable un-

cluded in our database if calculated

ing in the prevalence of the seasonal

certainties related to the spatial and

on a basis of at least five measure-

cycle over the other sources of vari-

temporal constraints of the sam-

ments throughout the day.

ability: between August and Septem-

pling, we chose to focus on an over-

ber, for example, temperatures can

view analysis of the available data

However, it glances over the more

be on average up to 10 °C warmer

Comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

temp (°C)

30 20 10 M








Sal (‰)

Sal (‰)








OD (mg/L)

OD (mg/L)

0 M



















30 20 10 M 20

20 10 0 M




0 M

2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

40 temp (°C)









10 0 M

months of the year

Figure 2: comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Canarin over the 2006-2010 monitoring period.

months of the year

Figure 3: comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Vallona over the 2006-2010 monitoring period.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

than those recorded in early spring

thus often be monitored via remote

salinity shows marked differences

and late autumn. As we shall see,

sensing, in particular radar-based

between the campaigns, especially in

dominance of the seasonal cycle is a

tools, which measure the modulation

July. The salinity data are consistent

common feature of temperature evo-

of small-scale waves generated by the

in relative values with those meas-

lutions in all the monitored lagoons.

presence of substances at the surface

ured in the Sacca del Canarin : the wa-

The temperatures consistently indi-

or by alterations of the surface veloc-

ters are markedly saltier in July 2007

cate values of above or around 25 °C

ity field.

and fresher in July 2009.

from late June to late August, only occasionally exceeding the threshold

The dissolved oxygen data provide

As with the Sacca del Canarin , dis-

of 30 °C (with the exception of 2006

a substantially consistent picture of

solved oxygen data provide a sub-

and 2010, when there were several

the general temporal evolution over

stantially consistent picture of the

cases of consecutive days with tem-

the course of the various monitor-

general temporal evolution over the

peratures higher than this threshold).

ing campaigns. This is characterized

course of the various monitoring

Autumn is generally characterized by

by minimal seasonal variations (the

campaigns. The yearly evolution is

rapid decreases in temperature (of

data generally remain around 7-8

characterized by minimal seasonal

up to almost 10 °C within a couple of

mg/l over the course of the year) with

variations, with values generally re-

weeks) interspersed with seemingly

a tendency to produce minimum val-

maining around 7-8 mg/l. Interesting-

stationary phases that were less ap-

ues (about 5 mg/l, still higher how-

ly, the data collected during the late

parent in 2010.

ever than anoxia risk levels) in July

spring of 2008 indicate a progressive

and August. Nonetheless, like the

decrease in dissolved oxygen with

The salinity shows marked differ-

other parameters dissolved oxygen is

marked peaks likely highlighting algal

ences between the different years,

sampled close to the surface and in

bloom episodes. We remark that dis-

especially in July-August and in the

an area exposed to flow/ebb tide. The

solved oxygen is sampled at the sur-

autumn, when the gap between the

inner zones and deeper layers of the

face, like the other parameters. The

individual years reaches values above

Sacca del Canarin may have experi-

inner zones and deeper layers in the

10 parts per thousand. This variability

enced periods in which the values of

lagoon may have experienced periods

is partly due to the variability in the

dissolved oxygen fell well below those

in which the values of dissolved oxy-

freshwater inflow from the river Po,


gen fell well below those monitored.

and in part due to the sampling location at the front, of tidal origin, be-

Figure 3 compares the data meas-

Figure 4 compares the data meas-

tween internal and open-sea waters.

ured in the Vallona lagoon during the

ured at the Scardovari Internal site

On site surveys have in fact shown



during the 2005-2010 campaigns.

that in the area surrounding the sam-

tions about the observed interannual

The yearly evolution of water tem-

pling site variations in surface salin-

variability are similar to those made

perature is characterized by the typi-

ity (as sampled at 0.5 m depth) in the

for the Sacca del Canari n. Water tem-

cal dominance of the seasonal cycle

order of tens of parts per thousands

perature evolution is characterized

over the other sources of variability.

can occur within just a few meters.

by a substantial dominance of the

Unlike the previously examined la-

seasonal cycle over the other sources

goons, large inter-annual variability

This situation of great frontal vari-

of variability. Over the five years of

is observed during hot periods, with

ability is common in areas near riv-

monitoring, the temperature consist-

differences reaching 7-8 °C in late

erine mouths or estuaries. The sea-

ently reaches values above 25 °C be-

June and in August. Moreover there

water-freshwater front is sometimes

tween late June and late August, only

is evidence of episodes of several

very sharp, and is generally linked

occasionally exceeding the threshold

days, in which the temperature ex-

to phenomena of convergence of the

of 30 °C. Autumn is characterized by

ceeds the threshold of 30 °C. These

surface velocity field and/or to the

rapid decreases in temperature simi-

occurred once or more times a year

accumulation of material floating on

lar to those found in the Sacca del Ca-

(as in 2005) and in different periods

the surface. Such discontinuity can

narin , though of lesser intensity. The

in the different years (for example be-



tween June and July in 2008 and in

and Vallona . These episodes can be

the mass balance of water in the re-

the second half of August in 2009).

attributed to the sudden intrusion of

gion (precipitation - evaporation + ex-

cold air typically brought by autumnal

ternal sources/sinks), which typically

weather perturbations.

shows a lower interannual variability.

This indicates a greater susceptibility of this portion of the lagoon to extreme weather events, such as pro-

The salinity shows marked inter-

As with the Sacca del Canarin and

longed periods of warming calm condi-

annual variability up to the month of

Vallona , the salinity data indicates

tions. This portion of the lagoon is in

August. With the exception of 2010, a

markedly saltier waters in 2007, with

fact only marginally affected by tides

phase of extremely reduced interan-

comparable values in July 2005-

and turns into a stagnant pond during

nual variability sets in autumn, with

2006. Opposite trends in July charac-

calm periods. The dissolved oxygen

average values of 28-29 parts per

terize the years 2008 and 2009, spe-

data, and the anoxia episode of late

thousands and deviations, in indi-

cifically with an increase in the former

August 2009 in particular, confirm

vidual years, of only a few parts per

and a decrease in the latter. Salinity

this picture. We remark again that,

thousands. The strong mixing forced

values measured at the beginning of

like the other parameters, dissolved

by the autumnal winds is the likely

the 2009 campaign are decidedly low

oxygen was sampled at the surface.

explanation for this behavior. The on-

and concurrent with high values of

Autumn is characterized by rapid

set of quasi-homogeneous conditions

dissolved oxygen, which may be due

decreases in temperature similar to

through the water column implies that

to both, the particularly rainy preced-

those found in the Sacca del Canari n

salinity is essentially determined by

ing winter (that of 2008-09) and the

Comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) Scardovari Internal

Scardovari Sea

temp (°C)

40 30 20 10 M






Sal (‰) J

















10 5 J

Figure 4: comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Scardovari Internal over the 2005-2010 monitoring period.


A S months of the year







40 20 0 M

N OD (mg/L)

Sal (‰) OD (mg/L)




0 M

30 20 10 M



0 M

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

40 temp (°C)

2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

15 10 5 0 M

Figure 5: comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Scardovari Sea over the 2005-2010 monitoring period.


A S months of the year

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

accentuated recirculation of waters

tween the two datasets emphasize the

ceed the threshold of 30 °C over the

artificially induced during that period.

different dynamics that characterize

course of the year, if not sporadically.

Unlike the Sacca del Canarin and Val-

the two portions of the lagoon. Tem-

lona , a seasonality is noticeable in

perature evolution is characterized by

Autumn is characterized by the typi-

the dissolved oxygen data from Scar-

the typical dominance of the seasonal

cal rapid cooling events observed in the

dovari Internal, with minimum val-

cycle over other sources of variability.

other lagoons. Like the innermost por-

ues typically occurring in the hottest

The year 2005 is characterized by a

tion of the lagoon, interannual variabil-

months (July-August). This period of

seemingly anticipated seasonal cycle,

ity in the annual evolution of salinity is

scarce oxygenation is followed by a

with a warmer June and colder Au-

markedly large until August and strong-

growth phase (several mg/l) in Sep-

gust compared to the other years.

ly reduced in autumn, when values


range between about 27 and 30 parts This distinctive feature occurred,

per thousands. Also in this site, gener-

Figure 5 compares the data meas-

however, within a context of large in-

ally lower salinity values make the year

ured at Scardovari Sea during the

terannual variability with differences

2010 exceptional compared to previous

2005-2010 campaigns. Despite the

of up to 3-4 °C between the values

years. Like Canarin and Vallona, the sa-

data bearing similarities, in their gen-

measured in individual years. Unlike

linity data show markedly saltier waters

eral traits, to those measured in the

the inner portion of the lagoon, and

in 2007, with values comparable to July

innermost portion of the sacca (Fig-

similar to Canarin and Vallona , the

2005-2006 and, if only for a short time,

ure 4), substantial differences be-

maximum temperature does not ex-

July 2010.

Comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) Marinetta


temp (°C)

30 20 10 M






Sal (‰)

Sal (‰) J





















20 0 M



20 DO (mg/L)

DO (mg/L)




5 0 M


10 M



0 M

2008 2009 2010

40 temp (°C)

2008 2009 2010



A S months of the year



10 0 M

Figure 7: Comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Basson over the 2008-2010 monitoring period.

Figure 6: comparison of temperature data (temp), salinity (sal) and dissolved oxygen (DO) measured at Marinetta over the 2008-2010 monitoring period.


A S months of the year

Salinity Projection of the variables on the factor-plan (PC1xPC2)

Dissolved oxygen Projection of the variables on the factor-plan (PC1xPC2)


Slightly saltier waters are further-

generally features rapid decreases in

more noticeable in July and August

temperature similar to those found in

2009 compared to the same period in

the other lagoons. Salinity does not

2008. The low salinity values meas-

typically show marked variations over

ured at the beginning of 2009 further

the three years of monitoring, settling

support the hypothesis of a particu-

in the July to October period with

larly rainy 2008-09 winter. Like the

values of 27-30 parts per thousands.

inner portion of the sacca , a seasonal

The 2009 and 2010 data indicate that

component is discernible in the dis-

extremely low salinity values can be

solved oxygen data. A noticeable

measured during spring, in episodes

feature is the gradual depletion of

(as in 2010) as well as over longer pe-

oxygen measured in 2009 and culmi-

riods (as in 2009). In fact this lagoon

nating at the end of August, with min-

is among those that are more exposed

imum values of almost 5 mg/l below

to flooding by the Po River freshwa-

those observed in the same period in

ters, especially coming from the Po

other years.

di Levante branch, which serves as a collector for the Fissero , Tartarus and

Figure 6 compares the data meas-

Canalbianco canals. The dissolved

ured in the Marinetta lagoon for the

oxygen data show a certain stability

period 2008-2010. Temperature evo-

throughout the year, with values typi-

lution is characterized by the typical

cally around 6-7 mg/l.

prevalence of the seasonal cycle over the other sources of variability. As con-

Figure 7 shows the data measured

firmed by the 2008 data, the autumn

in the Basson lagoon that are only


Figure 8: projection of the variables (different monitoring stations in this case) in the plan defined by first and second principal components (PC1 and PC2) extracted from the salinity (left) and dissolved oxygen (right) data. The position (x,y) of each variable in the factorplan reflect its correlation with PC1 (x coordinate) and PC2 (y coordinate). “PO” indicates the position of “the daily Po River discharge at Pontelagoscuro” in the factor-plan.

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013

Figure 9: time series of daily Po River discharge at Pontelagoscuro for the period January 2005-October 2010.

Discharge (m^3/s)

Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

Date (month/ day/ year)

available, like those of Marinetta , for

and 2010 on the dynamics of the la-

fact that the latent variables are mu-

the period 2008-2010. Temperature

goon. In fact this sacca is among

tually orthogonal, or describe linear-

evolution resembles that found in

those that are most exposed to flood-

ly independent portions of variability

other lagoons. In particular, temper-

ing by the waters of the Po as it bor-

in a descending order of explained

atures stabilize above 25 °C in July

ders the Pila distributary. The dis-


and August, never exceeding (except

solved oxygen data show a marked

for one episode in 2010) the thresh-

stability throughout the year, with

old of 30 °C. Autumn is character-

values typically around 5-10 mg/l.

ized, especially in 2008 and 2009, by the same typical rapid decreases

Focusing the analysis on the first variable/s extracted, it is therefore possible to reduce the complexity of

There are therefore various temperature,


tial data, neglecting minor contribu-

lagoons. The limited amount of avail-

oxygen data for the Po Delta area,

tions to the total variability (i.e. the

able data (from only three monitoring

“simultaneously” available for the

higher-order principal components

campaigns) does not allow for a clear

various lagoons. Multivariate statis-

extracted). This paper presents a

assessment of the interannual vari-

tical analysis techniques permit the

PCA analysis carried out, separately

ability of salinity. In the long term,

analyzing of these various, often cor-

for each parameter, on daily-average

one notes the substantial stability

related or interacting descriptors.

data of temperature, salinity and dis-

between August and October, super-

The aim is often to reduce the size

solved oxygen from the monitoring

posed by several positive and nega-

of a multivariate system in order to

campaign in 2009. In fact, only dur-

tive excursions. The spring and early

simplify the interpretation of it func-

ing this campaign data were recorded

summer periods, for which data are

tioning as a whole. Principal compo-

in all the lagoons over a sufficiently

only available for 2009 and 2010, are

nent analysis (or PCA), in particular,

long period (three months or longer,

characterized by a positive trend in

is a statistical technique aimed at the

using different parameters) to allow

salinity, in which large approximate-

simplification of multivariate data. It

for a robust analysis. Nonetheless,

ly weekly and bi-weekly fluctuations

allows one to extract a new set of “la-

the results of a PCA analysis con-

overlap. The extremely low salinity

tent” variables (called principal com-

ducted on the 2010 data will also be

values measured in June confirm the

ponents) from an original set of data

discussed where necessary.

hypothesis of a strong influence of

through a linear transformation. The

the particularly wet springs of 2009

advantage of the technique lies in the




the phenomenon described by the ini-

in temperature observed in the other

Regarding temperature, data meas-

Comparison between Sal and Po River discharge: 2008

Po River discharge (m^3/s)

Sal i ni ty (par ts pe r thousand)

Figure 10: comparison between Po River discharge at Pontelagoscuro and salinity measured in the Po Delta lagoons in the 2008 (top table), 2009 (middle table) and 2010 (bottom table) monitoring periods. The axis is inverted for salinity (ordinates on the left).

Day of the year

Comparison between Sal and Po River discharge: 2009

Po River discharge (m^3/s) Day of the year

Comparison between Sal and Po River discharge: 2010

Po River discharge (m^3/s)

Sa l i ni ty ( pa r ts pe r t ho usan d)


Sa l i n i ty (pa r ts p er th ou sa n d )


Day of the year


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

ured during the 141 days in which they

salinity values in spring and higher sa-

are available for all the lagoons were

linity values in summer (Figure 8).

considered. The data are very strongly correlated, which confirms a clear

As for temperature, this variability

predominance of the seasonal cycle

is associated with the seasonal cycle,

and very small differences, in terms

which derives from the seasonal cycle

of relative variations, in the evolution

of Po River discharges and from the

of temperature in the different la-

difference between precipitation and

goons. These high correlation values

evaporation. This hypothesis is sup-

are reflected in the calculation of a

ported by the position of the daily Po

first principal component (PC1) largely

River discharges1 in the factor-plan in-

dominating the total variability, and

dicating good correlation with PC1 and

accounting for 98.2% of the total

anticorrelation with the salinity data.

variance. PC1 describes the tendency,

The second principal component ex-

common in all the lagoons, to have

tracted (PC2) accounts for about 21%

above or below average temperatures

of the total variance, and therefore

(for this reason it essentially captures

describes an important part of the

the seasonal temperature cycle). The

system’s variability.

second principal component extracted (PC2) accounts for 0.81% of the total

It highlights the existence of two

variability. It highlights the existence

distinct patterns, one represented by

of two opposing patterns, one repre-

Vallona and Marinetta , and the other

sented by Vallona and Scardovari In-

by the remaining lagoons, with Scar-

ternal, and the other by the remaining

dovari Internal particularly “isolated�

lagoons. Given the characteristics of

compared to the other stations and in

the groups of stations obtained in this

clear anticorrelation with Vallona and

way, it is possible that this component

Marinetta (Figure 8). Given the char-

discrminates between the stations

acteristics of the groups of stations

close to the sea and those further

obtained in this way, it is possible that


this represents the common dependence of Vallona and Marinetta on the

Regarding salinity, data measured

Po di Levante discharge regime. It is

during the 131 days in which they are

conceivable that PC2 also describes

available for all the lagoons were con-

the response of the lagoons to the pre-

sidered. In this case, the correlations

vailing wind direction during flooding

between the data of the different sta-


tions can be close to zero, as for in-

Daily-average Po River discharge data are provided by ARPA-Emilia Romagna, Servizio Idrometeorologico. The data refer to the Pontelagoscuro (FE) section, which is located about 90 kilometers upstream of the river delta and is the last measurement site not affected by tides (for an introduction to the Po River discharge data at Pontelagoscuro, see, e.g., Zanchettin et al. 2008). 1

stance between salinity of Scardovari

Regarding dissolved oxygen, data

Internal and Marinetta . This implies

measured during the 126 days in which

greater variability in this parameter in

they are available for all the lagoons

the values simultaneously expressed

were considered. As for salinity, the

in the various lagoons. This results in

data pertaining to the various moni-

a first principal component (PC1) that

toring stations can be characterized

accounts for 60% of the total variabil-

by very low correlations. This is the

ity of salinity in the Delta lagoons, and

case, for example, with the correla-

which is related to the tendency, com-

tion between dissolved oxygen meas-

mon to all the lagoons, to have lower

ured in Marinetta and in Basson.


Po River discharge (m^3/s)

Comparison between DO and Po River discharge: 2008

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)

Figure 11: comparison between Po River discharge at Pontelagoscuro and dissolved oxygen measured in the Po Delta lagoons in the 2008 (top table), 2009 (middle table) and 2010 (bottom table) monitoring periods.

Day of the year

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)

Day of the year

Po River discharge (m^3/s)

Comparison between DO and Po River discharge: 2010

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/l)


Po River discharge (m^3/s)

Comparison between DO and Po River discharge: 2009


Day of the year


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

This implies a considerable variability

over the period 2005-2010 are shown

influenced by the competition be-

in the values of this parameter simul-

in Figure 9. Even at first glance one

tween local biological activity, which

taneously expressed in the various la-

can clearly see a trend towards higher

is closely linked to temperature and


discharges, with maximum values in

ventilation, which is closely linked to

2009 both in terms of drought and

watermass circulation, which is in turn

flood events.

determined by the combined effects of

Notably, the correlation between the two stations in the Sacca degli

wind and tides. It should be noted that

Scardovari indicates that dissolved

The absolute minimum recorded

in the event of a major flooding, such

oxygen series in the outermost and in-

in the period 2005-2010 amounted

as that of spring 2009, the waters of

nermost portions share, linearly, only

to 168 m 3/s, measured on 22 July

fluvial origin are generally poorly oxy-

about 25% of the variability. These

2006, while the absolute maximum

genated because of the considerable

correlation values translate to a first

amounted to 7403 m /s, measured

turbulence, which makes them muddy,

principal component (PC1) that ac-

on 2 May 2009. It is also interesting

increasing the sediment load and ham-

counts for about 45% of the total var-

to note that winter/spring 2008/09

pering photosynthetic processes.

iability of dissolved oxygen in the la-

was characterized by a number of ma-

goons (see Figure 8) and is associated

jor flood events with peaks exceeding

The propagation of these waters

with the tendency, common to all the

4000 m 3/s. In contrast, the spring of

inside the lagoons, although contrib-

lagoons, to show lower levels of dis-

2005 was characterized by an almost

uting to the recirculation of water,

solved oxygen in the summer period.

constant discharge below 2000 m 3/s,

especially closer to the surface, may

emphasizing below-average basin pre-

therefore be associated with relatively

cipitation in that period.

low levels of oxygen (as observed in

The second principal component


spring 2009 in Marinetta and Cana-

extracted (PC2) accounts for about 20% of the total variance, describing

Figures 10 and 11 compare, as ex-

rin). A lag-correlation analysis (results

therefore, for the salinity, an impor-

amples, the Po River discharge in the

not shown) between the Po River dis-

tant part of the system’s variability. It

years 2008, 2009 and 2010 and salin-

charges and salinity and dissolved ox-

highlights the existence of two practi-

ity and dissolved oxygen data meas-

ygen around the flooding in April-May

cally opposing patterns, that of B as-

ured in the same years in the differ-

2009, sheds light on the dynamics

son and Scardovari , and that of Mari-

ent lagoons. The salinity time series

behind the propagation of saline and

netta and Vallona (Figure 8). Given

overlap, once the scale is reversed,

dissolved oxygen anomalies in the dif-

the characteristics of the groups of

with the Po River discharge data (Fig-

ferent lagoons of the Delta.

stations obtained in this way, it is pos-

ure 10), indicating that periods of high

sible that, for the salinity, this repre-

discharges generally coincide with a

As for the dissolved oxygen, in

sents the common dependence of Val-

decrease in the salinity of the lagoon

some cases (Scardovari and especially

lona and Marinetta on the discharges’

waters. This is particularly evident

Basson) there is a tendency towards

regime of the Po di Levante. The posi-

in the case of the late spring floods

positive correlations when a delay of

tion of the daily Po River discharges

(April-May), especially in 2009, when

a few days is imposed upon the dis-

in the factor-plan indicates that they

the exceptionally high flooding of the

charge data, suggesting that in these

play a potentially important role in the

Po (over 7000 m 3/s) coincided with sa-

lagoons the freshwater input helps to

variability expressed by PC2, but not

linity values in Basson below 5 parts

dynamize the circulation in the medi-

that of PC1.

per thousands.

um term. It should be noted, however, that in Canarin the flooding seems to

The multivariate analysis highlight-

Generally, the dissolved oxygen

ed several potentially important im-

does not show a clear link to the Po

plications of the Po River freshwaters

discharges apart from the overlap-

on the variability of chemical-physical

ping of trends in the summer period

This confirms the complexity of

parameters in the Delta lagoons. The

(June-August) (Figure 11). The amount

possible interactions between Po Riv-

Po River discharge data measured

of dissolved oxygen is in fact strongly

er discharges and individual lagoons,


be associated with a delayed reduction in dissolved oxygen.










Figure 12: top panels: Correlation between the first and second principal components (PC1 and PC2) extracted from the daily temperature data for the year 2009 and surface air temperature for the









Euro/Atlantic sector. Bottom panels: same as top panels, but for data from which the longterm component, as determined by a second-order polynomial fit to the time series, has been removed.


00 corr coeff



00 corr coeff











00 corr coeff

Correlation between TempPC2 and surface air (detrended data)





Correlation between Temp PC1 and surface air (detrended data)


75°W 1


00 corr coeff


50°W -0.5











Correlation between Temp PC2 and surface air temperature

Correlation between Temp PC1 and surface air temperature



The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013


Salinity (‰)

Temperature (°C)

Figure 13: comparison between the nearsurface water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen at the Scardovari Internal site and a selection of largescale atmospheric circulation indices (left panel). All data are monthlyaverages for the month of July.

Dissolved Oxygen (mg/L)

Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

yea r

yea r

yea r

which are determined not only by the

al., 1996) reanalyses for the period from

ture observed along the North American

influence of the riverine waters on local

01/01/2009 to 31/12/2009. The data are

East coast, up to the inner portion of the

hydrodynamics, but also on other im-

provided by NOAA / OAR / ESRL PSD,

Labrador Sea. The correlation pattern

portant quality parameters such as tur-

Boulder, Colorado, USA, and can be ac-

extends along the coast of Greenland,

bidity. Regarding salinity, the Po River


but near-zero correlations are observed

flooding contributed to a general reduc-



tion of salinity in the various lagoons, although correlations are significant only for Marinetta.

over the tropical and north-east Atlantic, which is rather strongly correlated

In order to facilitate the description

with PC2.

of the relationship between the two variables, principal components extracted

This distinct pattern is particularly in-

The lag analysis indicates that fluctu-

from the Po Delta lagoons’ water tem-

teresting, as it underlines how the evo-

ations in the discharge and salinity sig-

perature data (PC1 and PC2) were used

lution (including seasonal) of Euro-Med-

nals are essentially contemporaneous,

rather than the original data. In fact this

iterranean regional climates depends

with a slight advance of the discharge

allows one to limit the description to just

strongly on the generation of perturba-

signal (a few days) in Basson and Canarin.

two variables that nonetheless describe

tions in the Atlantic that occurs along

Local factors, such as the freshwater in-

most of the total variability of the origi-

the east coast of North America. Similar

flow associated with different wind pat-

nal data. In this case, to further facilitate

correlation analysis carried out for PC1

terns, are therefore extremely impor-

the reading of the spatial correlation

and sea-level pressure grid-data identi-

tant to the variability and heterogeneity

structures, PC1, which was inversely

fies a dipolar structure over the North

of the physical-chemical properties in

correlated with the original data (Figure

Atlantic, consisting of a negative corre-

the deltaic area. It should be noted that

8), was inverted before the correlation

lation centre over Scotland, and a belt of

local weather (temperature, precipita-

analysis. The analysis was carried out

positive correlations over the subtropi-

tion, wind, etc.) is intrinsically linked to

for all the days for which PC1 and PC2

cal North Atlantic. The thus identified

the larger scale meteorological dynam-

were calculated.

dipole resembles the positive phase of

ics (Zanchettin et al., 2009).

a teleconnection (i.e. a mode of largeThe spatial structures (patterns) of

scale atmospheric variability) known as

It is interesting for example, to com-

the correlations for near-surface air

pare the Po Delta lagoons’ water tem-

temperature in Figure 12 (upper panels)

perature data measured throughout

show that PC1 is well correlated, as one

It is evident that these correlations

2009 with the surface air grid data

would imagine, with the temperature in

depend heavily on the seasonality of

available for the Euro-Atlantic region.

the Mediterranean area (especially the

both PC1 and the grid-data. It was there-

The climate data are the daily average

western basin) and Central Europe. PC1

fore decided to carry out a further

‘NCEP / NCAR reanalysis 1’ (Kalnay et

is also well correlated with the tempera-

analysis on detrended data, i.e., on data


the East Atlantic pattern (EA).

Surface air temperature anomalies for the period 2005-2010, DJF











Surface air temperature anomalies for the period 2005-2010, JJA









anomaly (째C)

anomaly (째C)

Figure 14: surface air temperature anomalies for winter (DecemberFebruary, left panel) and summer (JuneAugust, right panel) over the period 2005-2010 relative to the climatology of the last ~ 60 years.


cleared from the long-term variability

transporting warm air from Africa to-

component (in this case the seasonality),

wards North Italy and colder continental

in order to characterize the relationship

air from the Balkans towards Egypt. In

between local and large-scale dynamics

an attempt to gather more evidence to

at shorter timescales, particularly those

support the hypothesis of a strong link

ranging from several days to weekly/

between large-scale atmospheric dy-

multiple weeks. In this case (Figure 12,

namics and changes in the water char-

lower panels), the link between PC1 and

acteristics of the Po Delta lagoons, the

surface air temperature becomes much

interannual evolution of monthly-aver-

more local, with a strong positive corre-

age temperature, salinity and dissolved

lation centre above Italy associated with

oxygen recorded in Scardovari Internal

a belt of negative correlations in the

at the surface for the month of July was


compared with that of a selection of indices of large-scale atmospheric vari-

This structure corresponds to a posi-


tive sea-level-pressure anomaly over the Ionian Sea, which contributes to

These include the already mentioned

an anomalous anticyclonic circulation

NAO and EA indices, the Pacific-North


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Monitoring the water quality in the Po Delta lagoons: analysis of chemical-physical parameters measured between 2005 and 2010

American (PNA) index, the East-At-

dinavia and continental Europe and be-

system. In particular it has evidenced a

lantic/Western Russian (EAWR) index

low average over the Iberian peninsula

marked heterogeneity not only between

and the Scandinavian (SCA) index. The

and north-western Africa.

the various lagoons, but also within each

monthly values of these indexes were

of them, and has identified important

made available by the NOAA-Climate

Above average temperatures are also

components of interannual variability,

Prediction Center at: http://www.cpc.

observed over the Ionian Sea and over

not only on a local scale but also linked

the eastern Mediterranean basin in gen-

to large scale dynamics.

tents.shtml. The decision to limit the

eral. In summer one notes above aver-

analysis to the month of July and to the

age temperatures almost everywhere,

It is therefore essential to continue

Scardovari Internal station is linked to

with anomalies of around one degree

the monitoring, extending the quantity

the fact that there is a sufficient amount

centigrade in the Ionian and southern

of observed data to larger areas and

of average daily data to ensure a reliable

Adriatic regions. Looking at seasonal

over longer timeframes. The fine tuning

monthly-average value for this month

temperature data on the hemispheric

of numerical models used in the study of

and station. Given the small amount of

scale, temperature anomalies observed

hydrodynamics of lagoon areas, gradu-

data available, one is limited to a visual

in Europe are clearly part of a global

ally allowing the acquisition of greater

inspection and a qualitative discussion

trend. It is in this sense therefore, that

knowledge of dynamics and local vari-

of the behaviors.

the monitoring campaigns carried out in

ability could, at the same time, con-

the Po Delta lagoons between 2005 and

tribute to improving the quality of the

The comparison is shown in Figure 13.

2010 allow for the environmental data

monitoring system, by for example, opti-

The temperature evolution bears simi-

refering to a particularly important pe-

mizing the choice of measurement site

larities with those of the EA, WP (inverse

riod regarding both regional and global

position and enabling an approach to

correlation) and PNA (inverse correla-

climatic conditions, to be made available

a preparatory analysis phase for the

tion) indexes. Both evolutions of salinity


development of the capacity to pre-

and dissolved oxygen are characterized by a marked tendency to decrease, but

dict extreme events in the Po Delta


they nonetheless bear similarities with those of NAO, WP and PNA. The de-

Annual water quality monitoring

pendencies, which are more or less pro-

campaigns have been carried out in the

nounced depending on the parameter

Po Delta area since 2005. These have in-

analyzed, of the local dynamics on those

volved a gradually increasing number of

at the large-scale suggest that the un-

lagoons, bringing it to its current moni-

derstanding of the latter, together with

toring system made up of six sampling

their contextualization within a longer

sites: the Scardovari (two measuring

time period, is preliminary for assessing

sites), Canarin, Basson, Marinetta and

whether the data collected for the Delta


lagoons during the few years so far describe a typical rather than exceptional state.

The temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen data available today are an important source of information in

Figure 14 shows the average winter

order to understand the physico-chem-

and summer near-surface air tempera-

ical and biological property dynamics of

ture anomalies for the years 2005-2010

the various lagoons, as well as for their

compared to their climatological value

effective management.

for circa the last 60 years (NCAR Reanalysis data). In the European context,

This study has shown that much can

it is clear that winter temperatures are

be observed in the data regarding the

considerably above average over Scan-

characteristics of the “Delta del Po�




Kalnay et al., 1996: The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project, Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 77, 437-470 Zanchettin, D., Traverso, P., Tomasino, M., 2008. Po River discharge: an initial analysis of a 200-year time series. Clim. Ch., doi: 10.1007/s10584-008-9395-z, Vol 89(3-4), 411-433 Zanchettin, D., A. Rubino, P. Traverso, and M. Tomasino, 2009. Teleconnections force interannual-todecadal tidal variability in the Lagoon of Venice (northern Adriatic), J. Geophys. Res., 114, D07106, doi:10.1029/2008JD011485


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects


FRANCESCO DONATI Professor of Agricultural Policies and Economics ELENA FABBRO Università di Udine

The research investigates the costs

able, both over time and space, in terms

and benefits of lagoon vivification ac-

of the main physico-chemical and hydro-

tivities conducted for various motives

logical characteristics: temperature, sa-

by the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po.

linity and oxygen concentration.

Estimates are made regarding the benefits of lagoon vivification followed by

Their high nutrient load, especially

the calculation of the maximum financial

with contributions of fresh water of

commitment that the producers could

the rivers, along with their particular

afford to make in relation to partially

mode of sedimentation, accumulation

covering the said costs. It also investi-

and decomposition of organic debris on

gates the possibility of expanding the

the bottom, favors the occurrence of

production base to Tapes in the Sacca

dystrophic crisis that, in the summer, is

degli Scardovari. This expansion would

one of the main sources of habitat dis-

be aimed at achieving a sustainable in-

turbance. Over the last three years, the

come for the workers and increasing lo-

Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po has been

cally added value in the Po Delta area.

carrying out vivification interventions

A major Tapes production area totaling

in the lagoon habitats, investing around

240 ha would allow for, according to our

€ 2-3 million per year. This work has re-

estimates, the reaching of both objec-

sulted in a discrete conservation and has

tives. At the conclusion of the work an

also fostered the production of Tapes,

analysis of the Polesine Tapes supply

despite the absence of specific expan-

chain, and operative multifunctionality

sion of the production base.

of the sector’s fishermen is carried out.

Research Objectives Introduction The lagoons, valleys and wetlands in Most of the Italian Adriatic coast is

general, as well as being productive aq-

characterized by shallow and mostly

uaculture environments characterized

sandy or sandy-muddy alluvial bottoms.

by high biological diversity, are highly

The lagoons of the North Adriatic, of

unstable, therefore if one cannot ensure

which the Venice Lagoon is a typical

their continual management, they are

example, have origins dating back to

bound to be rapidly reduced to their ini-

6,000 years ago when in the post gla-

tial conditions. There have always played

cial Wurmian age, the sea invaded the

home to a wide range of activities (fish-

upper Adriatic plains forming its current

ing, hunting, agriculture, small-scale

coastal structure. In this way all coastal

crafts) brought together by a strong de-

lagoons, including those of the northern

pendence on the environment and func-

Adriatic have become aquatic environ-

tions that are mutually compatible.

ments that are characterized by variable salinity and the fact that they are sepa-

In the Po Delta, after centuries of

rated from the open sea by sandbars or

continuous interventions, a good bal-

stretches of land. More specifically, delta

ance has been struck as a result of a

lagoons, bays formed by large estuaries


and coastal wetlands can be considered

territory, the naturality of its physi-

transition zones between freshwater

cal elements, as well as water system

habitats and marine environments1.

and economic management. This came

These characteristics are highly vari-

about by establishing a close relation-




Figure 1: the study covers both the primary activities (agriculture and fishing) and the effects on the production chain (production, distribution and sales).


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

Tapes fishing area

Water surface area (ha.)

Production area (ha.)

1,653.00 703.00

Caleri and Marinetta Vallona

Actual yield 2006-08 (kg/m2)

Tapes per lagoon site (%)


























Total Po Delta Veneto Lagoons





Consorzio Pescatori Polesine Lagoons






Table 1: surface areas and Tapes production in the Delta Polesano.

ship between production


Territorial Economic Value

(fishing and hunting) and ecological functions - environmental and water

In addition to the economic value

protection, the latter have so far been

generated by the primary activities

assured by periodic excavation of ca-

(production and fishing), the survey also

nals and interventions aimed at safe-

examined other sectors, to come up with

guarding and controlling emerging or

an Added Value estimate for the whole

reclaimed sites. Noting the high pro-

production chain. The data and consid-

duction values and existence of these

erations that emerge could therefore be

areas thanks to the vivification inter-

considered an important starting point

ventions, research into the socio-eco-

for the assessment of the effects of vari-

nomic aspects of the Delta Polesano

ous kinds of changes in lagoon environ-

wetlands ecosystems was promoted

ments, whether attributable to anthro-

proposing two main objectives:

pogenic causes or not.

- to assess the costs and benefits of carried out interventions or possible

Clam Farming in Lagoon Habitats

interventions in order to preserve and enhance production;

Molluscs were among the first aquat-

- to estimate, in general, the Eco-

ic organisms to undergo systematic ex-

nomic Territorial Value of the shell-

ploitation. Awareness of their nutritional

fishing industry and its production

value has led man to develop ways of

chain in lagoon habitats.

collecting, cultivating and using them. The shellfishing industry is engaged

Assessment of Costs and Benefits

in the cultivation of edible molluscs including clam, mussel, scallop and oyster

The reference areas for the elabora-

farming; and could be considered an ex-

tion of the model are the lagoons that

tensive aquaculture activity, i.e. a form

have already been subject to major

of farming and/ or assisted production

hydraulic interventions by the Consor-

based on the use of the trophic resourc-

zio di Bonifica Delta Po. The analysis

es of natural ecosystems.

mainly concerns the Tapes, for which the provision of information useful in

In shellfish cultivation, production

making decisions regarding produc-

varies depending on the environmental

tive investment, conservation and ter-

characteristics (nutrient content and

ritorial development is intended.

water exchange speed) and manage-


Tapes per m2 of productive surface area (kg)

. .



. .


. .






. .

. Caleri e Marinetta






ment and protection methods set up by

year, of which the Venice Lagoon pro-

their operators. In the northern Adriatic,

vides about 47%, the Po Delta in the

the need to find appropriate solutions

Ferrara area 31%, and the Venetian Po

for the cultivation of the Philippine clam

Delta 20%. In addition these lagoons are

emerged in the mid-1980s, when our lo-

strategic to the product’s high quality

cal clam stock was in danger of running

that is appreciated across a large part of


the target markets.

Clam farming underwent rapid expansion with the introduction of Tapes

Total Delta Polesano Lagoons

Consorzio Pescatori Lagoons

Figure 2: average lagoon yield (in kg of Tapes per m2 of actual surface).

The Po Delta Lagoons: Surface Area and Production

philippinarum 2 (the Philippine clam) to the Venice Lagoon in 1983, a species

The survey took into account both

that quickly spread to most of the Up-

the total water surface area of the la-

per Adriatic lagoons (Venice, Marano,

goons and those actually used for pro-

Caleri and the Po Delta). Today, Italy is

ductive purposes. Altogether there are

the leading European clam producing

7,381 hectares of water surface areas,

country and its domestic production

of which 11.6% (854.92 ha) are actually

amounts to 10,500 tons of Tapes per

used for Tapes production.

Total Consorzio production Sacca Scardovari production

100,000 92,378

90,000 80,000

Produttiva (qli)




68,747 65,109

60,000 50,628

50,000 40,000


46,980 49,148


41,861 33,313




40,620 36,011





30,733 32,951



20,000 13,668




0 2000










Figure 3: Tapes Production (ql) pertaining to the Consorzio di Scardovari between 2000-2008 (R. Rossi, University of Ferrara).

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

The incidence of the production ar-

unreliability, but also because of the

The Consorzio di Bonifica, through

eas in the total area of the lagoons (Ta-

criterion assumed in the definition ef-

systematic lagoon vivification interven-

ble 1) goes from zero in the Basson to

fectively productive area. In particular,

tions, contributed in improving the situ-

a maximum of 29% in northern areas

the percentage of productive surface

ation in these lagoons. At the moment,

(Caleri and Marinetta). In particular,

area is high in the Caleri and Marinetta

in addition to a systematic vivification

with an average of 6.4%, the level of in-

and the south Vallona areas (25.6%

plan, fishermen and local communi-

cidence is relatively low in the lagoons

and 15.8% respectively), whereas, in

ties are also hoping for development

managed by the Consorzio Pescatori

the areas in which the Consorzio Pes-

interventions and the expansion of the

Polesine, with a maximum of 7.3% in

catori cooperatives operate, it drops to

production base. The following chart

the Scardovari and a minimum of 5.9%


illustrates Tapes production trends in

in the Sacca del Canarin.

the Delta Polesano (2000-2008). Tapes Having said this, one observes that

production in the Sacca degli Scardo-

Tapes production estimates in the

the actual yield per square meter has

vari shows less movement than in other

lagoons was based on data provided by

a maximum value in the Laguna del

areas; and this highlights how this la-

the fishermen, to which we have added

Barbamarco (3.53 kg), followed by the

goon is strategically important to the

information , and amounts, for the

Sacca del Canarin (2.99 kg), the Sacca

entire Po Delta.

2006-2008 period, to 105,176 quintals

degli Scardovari (1.52 kg); the Vallona

annually: the northern area accounting

(0.79 kg) and the Caleri and Marinetta

for 28.9%, the Vallona 8.4% and areas

0.72 kg. In the Basson lagoon Tapes are

pertaining to the Consorzio Pescatori di

only fished when there are no adequate

The fishermen and / or Tapes farm-

Scardovari4 the remaining 62.7%. The

operating conditions in the Canarin or

ers use small, usually two-man, ves-

Consorzio Pescatori di Scardovari’s

Barbamarco; the 25 tons of Tapes that

sels (barchini 6) to carry out their work.

production can be subdivided into:

are caught annually therein, were divid-

At the end of each collection opera-

33,350 quintals of Tapes in Sacca degli

ed equally between the quotas of the

tion they carry out an initial processing

Scardovari, 17,641 quintals in the Lagu-

other two lagoons.

of the product in dedicated huts or on


na del Barbamarco and 14,969 quintals in the Sacca del Canarin.

Tapes5 Sector Manpower

specific platforms. The remaining stagIn recent years the production of

es of the production chain: processing

Tapes has however undergone substan-

and selection, purification, packaging,

Remarkably, the Sacca degli Scar-

tial fluctuations. The least productive

transportation and sales, are carried out

dovari, with 320 hectares of cultivated

year was 2003 when, according to a

downstream. The Consorzio Pescatori

land or orti, accounts for approximately

study by Prof. Remigio Rossi of the Uni-

purifies and processes almost all of its

63% of the Delta Tapes. Moving from

versity of Ferrara, only 300 ha of water

members’ product at its own Scardovari

production totals to unitary yields, one

surfaces were judged to be suitable for

plants. The Tapes from other areas are

has to proceed with caution, not so

clams, with the surface area being re-

taken to processing centers in Chioggia

much because of the productive data’s

duced by 50% compared to 1999.

or other villages.


Age group (year)



Per area

< 30

31 - 45

46 - 60

> 60



North Area Cooperative









Scardovari cooperative consortium









Total cooperatives









Private and Vallona









Tapes fishermen totals









Table 2: Tapes fishing-cultivation workers in the Delta Polesano.




Consorzio Pescatori (only for the South Area lagoon fishermen)


Possession and management of fleet

Managed by individual fisherman

Manages administration

Any information about the optimization of fleet

Tapes seeding

Materially carries out the seeding

Draw up consultation plans with the Consorzio

Draws up plans for seeding, sees to the acquisition of the latter and covers seed costs

Tapes fishing

Managed by individual fisherman

Realize fishing plans

Draws up fishing plans in collaboration with the Co-operative

Tapes purification and sales


In the North Area lagoons and for private entities, functions are carried out by other bodies

Direct transformation and purification operator; sells the finished product within its competence

Risk Assumption

Production risk and fishing management

There are apparently no specific risks

Assumes the industrial and commercial risks

Cultivation fishery management

Materially carries out the operation


Provides financial backing and know-how in its areas of competence

Technical Support



Manages technical assistance in its areas of competence




Managed by the Consorzio in its areas of competence

Table 3: Tapes production chain: functions and competencies.

In late 2009, the Delta Polesano

men and 38% women, while in terms

farming sector, but that would allow for

Tapes sector employment amounted to

of age, 50.6% are under 45 years old

the initiation of leisure activities and

1,804 units, for 96.29% for the coop-

and 16.2% under 30. The percentage

for the more efficient conservation and

erative associated fishermen and 3.71%

of workers over the age of 60 is very

management of resources.

for employees of private companies.

low and is estimated at around 7%. The

Regarding the allocation of employees

large quantity of youth allows for the hy-

The Consorzio di Bonifica, fishing co-

in the fishing area, 13.36% work in the

pothesizing of both production growth

operatives and Parco del Delta’s future

Northern Area lagoons, 82.93% in the

strategies and territorial development.

intervention plans therefore need to find

Consorzio Pescatori lagoons (Sacca,

In particular, in the Sacca degli Scardo-

common moments of synthesis, with a

Barbamarco, Canarin e Basson), and

vari one could consider multi-purpose

view to a productive valorization relat-

3.71 % in the Vallona area. Regarding

interventions that could not only ensure

ed to the protection of the ecosystem.

employee gender distribution, 62% are

the further development of the clam

One should bear in mind that clam and

Tapes production (2006-2008) (q)

Tapes GMP (2006-2008) P=2.4 € / kg (Millions of €)

Tapes GMP (2006-2008) P= 3.0 € / kg (Millions of €)

Workers (n)

GMP/ Worker P=2.4 € / kg

GMP/ Worker P=3.0 € / kg

Delta polesano Lagoons total







Consorzio Pescatori Polesine Lagoons total







Table 4: Tapes production and GMP: Delta Polesano Lagoons.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

shellfish cultivation depend on the natu-

faster, consume more fuel and conse-

ral factor, which should be used in order

quently have higher costs.

to support natural cycles and production, thus ensuring sustainable econom-

The Tapes fishermen carry out their

ic production and providing long term

fishing activities in the form of sole pro-

stable employment.

prietorships, while in the other management stages they are associated with

Tapes Fishing Systems and Early Stage Production Chain Organization

cooperatives. The cooperatives plan the work of the individuals, in order to maintain a sustainable harvest and contain business and technical risks. The Con-

The barchini are generally 40 hp. The

sorzio Pescatori di Scardovari is there-

Tapes fishing fleet is made up of over a

fore a third-level entity that, in addition

thousand vessels, while that of the Con-

to providing assistance to members (co-

sorzio Pescatori cooperatives amounts

operatives and individual), is primarily

to 700. In recent years, thanks to the

concerned with the development and

provision of specific contributions, forty

marketing of products. The following

boats with upgraded engines (110-120

diagram summarizes the various func-

hp) were purchased, which although

tions performed by the various entities within the Tapes production chain.



Gross Marketable Production and Production Scenarios The Gross Production (GMP) of the primary Tapes sector in the Delta Pole-


sano for 2006-2008 was estimated at two price levels:

NI st € 3.0/kg (€ / worker)


- € 2.4/kg, which corresponds to the average production price at the end of 2009; resulting in a GMP of


€ 25,242 million;

- € 3.0/kg, corresponding to the av-




0 Consorzio Scardovari Lagoons

Figure 4: short Term NI (Tapes at €3.0/kg).

Delta Po Lagoons

erage price over the 2006-2008 period, resulting in GMP of € 31,553 million.

estimated to be € 13,992 on average,

Calculating the GMP on two price lev-

with a minimum of € 10,582 for Consor-

els underlines the effects of the crisis in

zio Pescatori di Scardovari members.

the sector at the time of the survey. This

Since we are dealing with revenue and

crisis could be considered fairly cyclic

not income, in order to calculate the lat-

and in our opinion, depends on both a

ter, one should subtract the production

mismatch between supply and demand

costs7. These costs were calculated over

with an excess product that determines

both the short (considering only those

the low prices of Tapes, and also the in-

variables8) and long-term (variable and

adequate bargaining power of produc-

fixed costs). In lieu of the situation at

ers in the face of a near oligopoly of dis-

the end of 2009, it was decided that the

tribution. The annual GMP per worker,

short-term Net Income (NIst) parameter

measured at a price of 2.4 € / kg, was

would be used as a reference point.


Figure 5: mussel farming in the Sacca degli Scardovari.

The average variable costs per em-

tegration of at least € 2,500 per year/

ployee on average for the lagoons

worker would be required in order to

was valued at € 2,873 (€ 2,173 for Con-

corresponding to € 3.0/ kg of Tapes.

reach the sustainability threshold.

The Short Term NI for the entire Delta

calculations were therefore formulated

Polesano was € 14,617 per year/ work-

sorzio Pescatori Polesine members). The Short Term Net Income (NIst) was

Calculating the Long-Term Net In-

er, with a minimum of € 11,054 in the

calculated by subtracting the afore-

come again at the end of 2009, one sees

lagoons attributable to the Consorzio

mentioned costs from the annual GMP

a decrease to € 6,000/ worker, a figure

Pescatori. Clam farming exclusively

per worker which resulted in a total of

that is way too low to ensure the eco-

was not enough to ensure a minimum

€ 11,119/worker, with a minimum of

nomic sustainability of the fishermen.

of socio-economic sustainability, espe-

€ 8,409 in the lagoons attributable to

Given equal production yield, the sell-

cially for the members of the Consorzio

the Consorzio Pescatori. Evidently this

ing price is hence the most important

Pescatori. In order to overcome this cri-

was not a sustainable Net Income, and

parameter in determining economic

sis, partly mitigated by there being two

was estimated at the time that an in-

and social sustainability conditions. Our

workers per every household, develop-


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

G.P. (millions of €)

Figure 6: minor GP and minor NI no lagoon vivification.


NI (millions of €) . . .

. .

. .

ment solutions had to be found.

tion of the lagoon habitats but also to im-

soon thereafter, a production regression9

prove Tapes production in the Delta.

amounting to a loss of product (Tapes) of

During the on-going crisis there has been an increase in unemployment of about 20%, with 400 employees less in just the primary sector. In light of this

between 10% and 25% in the absence of

The Effects of Hydraulic Interventions on the Tapes Industry

intervention. This regression would have resulted in negative scenarios for producers and for the whole Delta Polesano

threat, the individual manufacturers, the

economy. It is believed therefore that in

Consorzio Pescatori di Scardovari and

The hydraulic interventions carried

the medium term, only conservation is

the Consorzio di Bonifica have intensified

out in recent years by the Consorzio di

not sufficient to support the economy of

efforts to not only promote the vivifica-

Bonifica Delta Po have had two main ef-

the area, and for this purpose one hopes


for interventions aimed at broadening

Structural data

Unit of measurement

Project data

Project duration






Average Tapes price


3.50 10

New cultivated surfaces


- Maintaining fair sustainability condi-

the production base, especially in the

Sacca degli Scardovari.

tions for the fish biomass, - Safeguarding Tapes production in

Conservation or Vivification Interventions

the lagoons. A model that investigates the effects


Table 5: structural data hypothesis of the project.

of the absence or lack of hydraulic inter-

These allow for production yields to

ventions was then prepared. According to

be maintained. In fact, the work carried

our estimates and also in the opinion of

out by the Consorzio di Bonifica for hy-

various experts, there would have been,

draulic order (safety) reasons has ben-

Max contribution (€/ha)

. . .

. .




-10% Regression

-15% Regression


-20% Regression


% Contribution on RN


Figure 7: estimate of maximum conservation value of production function per Ha of lagoon.


Figure 8: annual investments over the course of the project (in millions of €).



Hydraulic Investments


Fishermen Investments

. . . . .






. .










efited the Tapes industry. The costs of

come which ranged from a minimum of

hydraulic interventions amounted to

€ 1.748 million per year to a maximum of

around € 2.5 million annually and to-

of € 396.6 /ha (medium-high regression). Private contribution hypothesis were not

€ 4.369 million depending on the level

compatible with the producers’ disburse-

of regression expected. One should also

ment capacity at the time of the survey.

riod. In relation to these amounts what

consider that in the lagoons, the Tapes

It was deemed appropriate to postpone

can be defined as the conservation ben-

fishermen are also involved in the man-

any contributive hypothesis to a later

efit is derived from the Tapes, being the

agement of collective assets which have

date. However, the problem of low profit-

primary sector. Our investigation has

a positive impact on the community. We

ability per worker remained unresolved

therefore arrived an estimate of loss of

therefore attempted to come up with an

at the time. In order to increase profit-

product that would be recorded in the

approximate value for this environmen-

ability one could, in theory renegotiate

absence or deficiency of a vivification

tal management that we estimated to be

the price and contractual power of pro-

intervention. This estimate was made

a third of the value of the minor income.


according to four levels of possible re-

Subtracting the amount attributable to


taled € 12.5 million over a five year pe-

environmental management carried out

We consider it opportune therefore to

- mild (-10% of the product);

by the producers from the minor NI, we

direct the producers towards a broaden-

- medium - low (-15%);

were able to estimate the pure value of

ing of the production base that should be

- average (-20%);

maintaining the function of Tapes pro-

compatible with environmental conser-

- medium-high (-25%).

duction. For the lagoon environments

vation as well as the dynamics of Tapes

this value corresponds to the net ben-

demand. By applying a supply-demand

At the price of € 2.4 /kg of Tapes,

efit for the private sector in the face of

model designed for the domestic Tapes

these production regressions would

maintenance and hydraulic vivification

market, we predicted that the relation-

result in a loss of GMP ranging from a

interventions. In theory it corresponds

ship between supply and demand could

minimum of € 2.524 million per year

to the maximum level of contribution

have normalized within three to five

(-10%), up to a maximum of € 6.310 mil-

that the Tapes fishermen would be able

years. At the end of this period, we fore-

lion. A lower GMP also involves reduc-

to make, if the price allowed, in order

saw the sale of an increased production

tion of variable costs so by subtracting

to maintain production. On average in

of about 15-25%. Veneto Po Delta clam

the savings on variable costs from the

the Polesine lagoons, this benefit would

farming would have been able to claim a

minor GMP, we were able to arrive at

range from a minimum of € 158.6/ ha of

fair quota of the increased demand con-

an estimate for the lowest annual in-

lagoon (slight regression9),to a maximum

sidering the high quality of their product.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

Project years

























Maintenance project













Project overheads













Total Consorzio Delta Po













Barchini investment













Hydraulic works

Engine investment Hut investment Total fishermen investment





































Fuel (+40%)













Barchini maintenance













Hut maintenance













Other private costs





































Fishermen income Integration (€2,500/ year per employee)













Total cash flow to deduct












Revenue from project development













Public intervention in hydraulic works

























NPV i= 0%













NPV i= 4.1% - IRR =4.136%













Total private management costs Total project costs

Total active cash flow

Table 6: project cost-benefit analysis (in millions of €) the higher market price.

V.A. extra polesano (ML di €)

% V.A. polesano





















P.L. totale (ML di € )

P.L. polesano ML di €

% P.L. polesano

V. A. totale (ML di €)

V.A. polesano ML di €

Primary Tapes





Secondary Tapes





Primary + secondary Tapes




Tapes terziario



Tapes filiera



Table 7: GP and AV at a price of € 2.4/kg in the three production sectors15.


Productive Development Interventions

Figure 9: the fishermen and/ or Tapes farmers use small, usually two-man vessels (barchini) to carry out their work.

come; - The co-financing of the investment by the fishermen.

In order to plan the expansion of the production base, the Polesano district

The Short Term NI per worker was

Tapes production chain was analyzed, of

calculated to be € 11,119 per year. With

which the key elements are summarized

the increase of the production area (240


hectares), with an average yield of 1.5 kg/ m2 of Tapes, we estimate an increased

The Primary Sector

annual production of 3,600,000 kg of Tapes, which would raise the annual NI to

63% of the Delta Polesano Tapes per-

€ 2,500 /per worker, a figure that would

tains to the plants of the Consorzio Pes-

meet the desired objective of sustainable

catori del Polesine. In the area where this

NI. According to our hypothesis, however,

Consorzio does not work, Tapes are puri-

a public intervention amounting to 65%

fied outside of the area, or sold to trad-

of the costs of hydraulic works would be

Tapes to traders is well-established, one

ers who carry out these operations in

required. As can been seen from the ta-

could continue to work in this way, and

appropriate places. The expansion of the

ble below, the project would require, over

new facilities to cope with the planned in-

production base requires both hydraulic

a ten year period, the hydraulic invest-

crease in production would not be need-

interventions carried out by Consorzio

ment of € 36.0 million. The investment

ed. Since it is assumed that the interven-

di Bonifica as well as the investment of

in barchini, huts and other fishing equip-

tions relate to the lagoons attributable to

private fishermen (barchini, huts, fish-

ment however, would amount to € 15.15

the Consorzio Pescatori, this consortium

ing equipment etc.) In the face of these

million over the same period.

has three possible solutions:

interventions estimates for additional flow of Tapes products and related costs

- sell surplus product before processing; - process the new Tapes at the Scar-

The Secondary Sector

have been made. Our design hypothesis is based on two assumptions: - an increase in the workers’ Net In-

dovari facilities, without having to expand In areas where the Consorzio Pesca-

tori operates, and where the selling of


structurally; - expand existing facilities.

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

In the first case one does not foresee

Tapes production of up to about 30%.

project are shown below. A cost-benefit

any problems in particular, except for

analysis was prepared using the above

the loss of some territorial added value;

Regarding the need to expand the

data and by taking design hypothesis

in the second case there could be econo-

network of business services, the as-

developed by sector technicians into

mies of scale as fixed costs decrease per

sessment is a bit broader: these are

account (Table 6), which highlights how

kilogram of product and in the third, the

services that must be organized based

the project will be able to repay, over

Consorzio Pescatori would have to face

on the district. It is therefore considered

an economic period of one decade,

investments of an industrial nature, ac-

appropriate to invest in research, tech-

both hydraulic as well as private invest-

quiring new technology and optimizing

nical assistance and monitoring (human

ments, hypothesizing however, that the


capital rather than equipment), invest-

community takes on 65% of the cost of

ments that would not only help the new

water projects. The internal rate of re-

production, but that would also valorize

turn (IRR), the net of this contribution,

the current one.

taking into account the integration of

The Tertiary Sector This sector is divided into transport,

income guaranteed to the fishermen,

marketing and business services. Re-

In order to quantify the costs re-

would result in an average price of

garding transport, there should not be

ferred to in the previous graph, we made

€ 3.5/kg of Tapes, equal to 4.1%12. In ad-

any major difficulties, as there are sever-

use of information collected from key

dition to the benefits of the project, the

al companies that are well equipped on a

players in the Polesana Tapes produc-

fishermen, while exposing themselves

national level that are able to deal with

tion chain. The cost-benefit model that

to greater technical and management

production increases, like that which has

follows was prepared in a flexible way,

risks, could also take advantage of a

been hypothesized, without any prob-

in order to change certain elements

surplus of income owing to.

lems. Regarding the marketing, be it

while maintaining other values. Differ-

after the fishing phase or after the pro-

ent trickle down effects such as work-

cessing of the product (as in the case of

ers’ income, the sustainable workforce

the Consorzio Pescatori), one can make

and the expected internal rate of return

a similar argument: the Polesine and / or

(IRR) can be assessed, on equal terms,

The following paragraph presents

lower Veneto operators would have no

via discontinuous simulations. The prin-

the Gross Product (GP) and the Added

problems in dealing with an increase in

cipal structural data of the development

Value (AV)13 of the Po Delta Tapes pro-


The Polesine Shellfish Production Chain



Increased income in the primary sector; better living conditions for fishermen

Employment stability in the Delta polesano

Natural Resources Conservation in synergy with lagoon production areas

Improved management security for the Consorzi Pescatori

Qualification of human capital in the shellfishing sector


Economic benefits for the shellfish processing enterprises

More employment


Economic benefits for companies that provide the fishermen with productive means

Employment stability


Economic benefits for service companies (transportation companies, the Consorzio’s various purifiers, distribution companies)

Employment stability


Economic benefits for associated businesses (technical assistance, credit)

Social capital; development of service activities related to the production chain.


Benefits for tourism operators and catering

Development of environmental tourism; development of culinary tourism

Greater awareness of and attention paid to environmental values

Returns on a general local level and support for multifunctionalism

Improved perception of the image of the Delta region

Valorization of the Delta Polesano lagoons as ecological and productive entities

Table 8: returns on the Tapes production chain.


duction chain, broken down into its three sectors. The primary sector’s GP is estimated to be € 25,242,000 at a price of

€ 2.4 /kg14, and € 36,812,000 at € 3.5 /kg. The secondary sector’s GP is calculated from the management budget of a facility that processes and sells shellfish wholesale; at this stage of the production chain, from the bagged product on the dock to when it is loaded onto vehicles, there is a unit cost of € 0.50 to € 0.60/ kg for purified Tapes and € 1.0€ 1.3/ kg for those already bagged.

Since the Delta Polesano produces 10,517.6 tons of Tapes annually, the GP of the secondary sector is estimated at € 12.095 million. The GP aggregate (primary plus secondary sector) thus amounts to € 37.337 million while it would rise to € 48.907 million fetching an average price of € 3.5/kg.

The GP of the distribution sector located immediately downstream of the processing is estimated to be on average € 1.0/kg of Tapes, and still does not include the last distribution link (largescale retail channels, fish shops and other outlets). Applying this unit value to the amount of Tapes involved in the first marketing stage, one estimates a tertiary sector GP of € 10.518 million. For the entire Polesine Tapes production chain, the GP is € 47.855 million, and rises to € 59.425 when fetching a price of € 3.5/kg. The Added Value (AV) was then calculated, which for Tapes at € 2.4 /kg, amounts to € 20.194 million in the primary sector, € 7.256 million in

the secondary and € 5.259 million in the tertiary sector. Summing up the three Figure 10: the processing and preparation of shellfish for sale.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects

Figure 11: the processing stage.

Figure 12: through co-operatives and the consequent planning of the individuals’ work, one can ensure the sustainable harvesting of shellfish.

sectors one arrives at an AV of € 32.708

sector, would generate a higher income

timates, the 1804 workers had 1,269 mul-

million which would rise, with an average

in the primary sector, higher employment

tifunctional positions. The biggest group,

price of € 3.5/kg, up to € 41.965 million,

in the manufacturing sector (20-25 new

with 949 people, was that of the fishing

an increase of 28% compared to 2009.

units16), in addition to considerable so-

activities (mussel, small internal fishing

cial benefits. In the Delta municipalities

fisheries and marine fishing).

In Table 7 one can see the GP and AV

involved in the Tapes production chain,

of the Polesine Tapes production chain

these effects combine to significantly im-

One could then synthesize that Tapes

for 2009. In addition, in the same table,

prove social stability. One could add that

fishing plays an important role in ensur-

one can see the Tapes’ territorial value or

the economic benefits of the privates, of

ing the survival of ancient water trades,

that which lies with the operators and the

a social and environmental nature, have

while the integration of income from

companies in the Polesine. A further con-

no clearly defined boundaries.

traditional fishing and mussel farming

sideration regards the possible econom-

proves decisive for the economic sustain-

ics of the production chain. It is foresee-

The development and conservation

ability of the calm fishermen, crucial in

able that bigger production will reduce

projects, as well as involving a large part

these times of crisis. On the other hand,

unit costs in the processing section. For

of the Po community either directly and

traditional fishing’s low income would

example, if this section were expanded at

indirectly, are strategically important

condemn this activity to all but disap-

Scardovari, there would be an estimated

for the lower Veneto area, and one could

pear, if it were not for clam fishing. Put-

average unit cost for the new immobiliza-

conclude that the benefits to the fisher-

ting together all the trades in whichever

tion of € 0.50/kg of product, compared

men, businesses and communities of the

way the Tapes fishermen are employed,

to € 0.66/kg for having created installa-

Delta fully justify the assumed costs of

one arrives at 70% for secondary opera-

tions from scratch, this shows a discrete

public intervention. The final diagram

tive positions, a figure that also highlights

advantage in investing in the present lo-

shows the possible effects related to

the working flexibility of the Delta fisher-


these interventions. Another fact that

men. Thanks to this multi-functionalism

emerges from the research is the high

they are able to protect trades that would

level of compatibility between the clam

otherwise no longer survive on their own.

and other activities of the primary sec-

It is also for this reason that the lagoon

tor. Tapes fishermen also often carry out,

vivification interventions provide essen-

The proposed works, for both lagoon

to a lesser degree, other activities. At

tial social benefits to the sustainable de-

conservation and expansion of the Tapes

the time of survey, according to our es-

velopment of the area.

The Socio-Economic Impact of the Delta Polesano Tapes


(Barnes, 1980; Knox, 1986 Odum, 1988). An Asian species already introduced along the American coasts between 1930 and 1940 and later introduced to Europe in the 1970s. 3 Our estimate data are slightly lower than those provided by Turolla (Eduardo Turolla – L’allevamento della Vongola verace nel delta del Po, Istituto Delta Ecologia Applicata, Ferrara, 2008). In our survey, the Tapes production total was obtained by adding the actual data of the Consorzio Pescatori (the average conferral in the period 2006-2008), the estimated data in the Caleri-Marinetta areas and that of the Vallona lagoon. The latter were also collected during a previous survey conducted in collaboration with Prof. R. Rossi of the University of Ferrara, during the filiera ittica polesana project. In order to go back to the Caleri and Vallona’s current production data, an average expansion coefficient was applied to the previous data, which took into account the average increase that occurred over the area. 4 On a national level, the Consorzio Pescatori accounts for approximately 13% of the total production volume. 5 Table 2 includes manpower data up to the end of 2009. They do not include the 200 Delta fishermen/women that had already applied for Tapes fishing permits, including about 60 women registered with the Cooperative. 6 barchini: a term used by fishermen to refer to small motorboats. 7 These costs were calculated according to “standard boats” operating 250 days a year with a crew of two. 8 The variable costs are those that vary with the production and, in theory, amount to zero when production ceases. For the barchini, fuel and maintenance costs of both engines and hulls fall under variable costs. They are fixed management costs that do not depend directly on production volume (depreciation, overheads and insurance). The cost of labor is not included because it makes up part of the operators’ Net Income (NI) together with the interest on capital and eventual profits. 9 By production regression one means a lower annual production of Tapes that is calculated in this report in relation to the average over the years 20062008. 10 In late 2009, there were 1805 workers; the 200 workers waiting to enter the sector were taken into account in the project predictions. 11 Average expected Tapes price, based on recent prices (2011-2012) and market forecasts. 12 Rate of return one supposes is approximately equal to the price of money should the fishermen file for facilitated bank loans. 13 Albeit in an improper manner, the term added value denotes the total of remuneration relating to labor, capital and management, before amortization of capital projects and taxes. 14 Price at the time of the survey (end of 2009). 15 In this case the primary sector is calculated using the GMP instead of the Added Value; a methodological adaptation that does not affect the validity of the analysis model proposed however. 16 The additional investment would result in 20-25 new employees in the secondary sector, with an average immobilization of around € 100,000/employee, a fairly low amount since our hypothesis would benefit from economies of scale and the relationship with the already existing Scardovari plant. 1



The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Shellfishing in the Po Delta lagoons, Veneto: socio–economic aspects


A.P.I. (2003): Acquacoltura A.P.I. informa, Anno XVII, n°11. AA.VV., (2005). La filiera della vongola Tapes philippinarum in Italia. A cura di Boatto V., Pellizzato M., Milano, Franco Angeli Ed., 185 pp. AA.VV., (1990). Tapes philippinarum. Biologia e sperimentazione. Regione del Veneto, ESAV, 299 pp. Boatto V., Silvestri S., Rossetto L. (2005). Analisi economica della filiera di Tapes philippinarum, in: Boatto V., Pellizzato M. (a cura di), La filiera della vongola, Milano, Franco Angeli Ed., 185 pp. Cesari P., Pellizzato M. 1985 – Molluschi pervenuti in Laguna di Venezia per apporti antropici volontari o casuali. Acclimazione di Saccostrea commercialis (IREDALE & ROUGHELY, 1933) e di Tapes philippinarum (ADAMS & REEVE, 1850). Boll. Malacologico, 21(10-12):237-274. Donati F., Vasciaveo M., Zoppelletto M., (1998), Environmental and multi-functional management of lagoons and coastal wetlands, Aquaculture and water: fish culture, shellfish culture and water usage, Atti Conferenza Internazionale Aquaculture Europe, Bordeaux 1998, European Aquaculture Society, Special Publication no. 26, 1998 Donati F., Vasciaveo M., 1998, Sistemi per la gestione integrata degli ambienti lagunari e vallivi, Volume Atti Conferenza: “Le ricerche sulla pesca e sull’acquacoltura nell’ambito della legge 41/82”, Roma, 1998, Vol. 5, fasc. 3. Donati F.,Agostini P., Costi e benefici della vallicoltura in Italia, Il pesce, n. 1/1992. Donati F., valutazione delle funzioni economiche nelle valli da pesca, Genio Rurale, n. 5/1992 ICRAM (1994): Guida pratica di mitilicoltura. Ed. ICRAM. ICRAM (2004): Pesca ed ambiente in laguna di Venezia e nell’Alto Adriatico. Ed. Il Leggio, Chioggia. Ismea (2002): Elaborazione su dati API ICRAM. Filiera Acquacoltura, Roma. Ismea (2005), Filiera pesca e acquacoltura – Roma Ismea (2006), Il settore ittico in Italia e nel mondo: tendenze recenti, Roma Ismea (2007), Il settore ittico in Italia e nel mondo: tendenze recenti, Roma Ismea (2007), Outlook dell’agroalimentare italiano –Rapporto annuale– Indicatori del sistema agroalimentare italiano volumi I e II, Roma Mipaf (2005), Azione di monitoraggio delle produzioni ittiche dell’acquacoltura Italiana (reg. CE N°1263/99 e 2792/99 SFOP) – seconda relazione intermedia anno 2003 Paesanti F., Pellizzato M., 2000. Tapes philippinarum. Manuale di divulgazione. Serie acquacoltura. Padova, Veneto Agricoltura, 2ª Ed., 74 pp. Prioli G. (2000): Censimento nazionale sulla molluschicoltura. Consorzio UNIMAR. Quaderni Provincia di Venezia, 2000. Piano per la gestione delle risorse alieutiche delle lagune della Provincia di Venezia. Benevento, Sannioprint Ed., 102 pp. Rossi R., (1996). Allevamento di vongola verace filippina (Tapes philippinarum): gestione della semina e del trasferimento in campo naturale per la ottimizzazione del raccolto. Ministero delle Politiche Agricole. III Piano Triennale (DM 04/92 del 18.02.1993) Rossi R., (2000). Elementi di valutazione ecologica, economica e sociale per fronteggiare la flessione produttiva di vongole filippine nell´Alto Adriatico. Ricerca 5C02, V Piano Triennale. Rossi R., 2000. Gestione produttiva della Sacca di Goro (Delta del Po): analisi dei parametri ambientali, biologici e socioeconomici per la valutazione del regime concessorio. Ricerca 5C04, V Piano Triennale. Spencer E.E., 2005. World shellfish production keeps growing. Fish Farming International, 32 (1):38. Turolla E., 2008. L’allevamento della vongola verace nel Delta del Po. Grafiche Adriatica, 96 pp. Università di Trieste – Dipartimento di Biologia, 2005. Identificazione di linee guida per lo sviluppo di forme di acquacoltura responsabile ed ecocompatibile di Tapes philippinarum (ADAMS & REEVE , 1850) nelle lagune dell’Alto Adriatico. Ricerca 6-C-70. Ministero per le Politiche Agricole e Forestali. Relazione finale.


Figure 13: shellfish in the Sacca degli Scardovari.

UILA (2006), Un nuovo futuro per la pesca italiana. Serve innovare per ridurre i consumi, ciclostilato presentazione ricerca curata da Cres e Osservatorio nazionale della pesca, Giulianova Lido (Te), 31 ottobre 2006. Regolamento (CE) n. 708/2007 del Consiglio dell’11 giugno 2007, relativo all’impiego in acquacoltura di specie esotiche e di specie localmente assenti. Zentilin A., Corso G. I., Zanutti G., Pelusi P., Orel G., 2003. Criteri per attività di pesca ed allevamento sostenibili nella laguna di Marano e Grado (UD). I Quaderni di Venzone per l’Europa “La pianificazione territoriale di un’area S.i.c.: verso i piani di gestione e conservazione”, Venzone (UD), 18 gennaio 2003, 12 pp.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari


The stabilization of the sandbar that

tieth century the lagoon was character-

closes the Sacca Scardovari is a prior-

ized by a planimetric configuration that

LORENZO BONOMETTO President of the Società Veneziana di Scienze Naturali

ity in the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta

corresponds to its current perimeter. If

Po’s vivification of the Sacca, within the

however, the margins of the basin, with

broader context of the overall mainte-

the exception of some areas on the west-

PIPPO GIANONI1 IUAV Venezia Professor and Dionea Sa and Terra srl Environmental Engineer

nance of the lagoons. This article is a

ern side, are the same as those today,

summary of the research proposals and

the internal morphology is substantially

operational evolution of the sandbar and

different, being characterized in the past

the possible integration project involving

by vast emerged areas along the edges

hydrodynamic, environmental and man-

that today have entirely disappeared,

agement aspects aimed at, in particular,

and by bottoms with a lot more structure

the requalification thereof, based on our

than the current ones. The conformation

knowledge of the dynamics character-

of the current sandbars separating the

izing similar coastal systems (Gianoni et

lagoon from the sea has also changed

al., 2010).

profoundly, having undergone considera-

ANDREA BONOMETTO Environmental Engineer

ble changes over the years and gradually

The Sacca di Scardovari and its sandbar

withdrawing over time. From the examination of historical maps, it is clear how, as of the early 1950s, the location, shape

The Sacca Scardovari sandbar owes

and size of Scanno del Palo have been

its current shape to the ebb of dredged

subject to constant changes, indices of

sediments and proposes once again, in

conditions of instability and dynamics

the innermost position, the pre-existing

subject to, on the one hand, seasonal

Scanno del Palo, a peninsula jutting out

changes and annual storms, and on the

from the coast to the north-east (known

other to the changing intensity of river

as Punta Barricata). It is for this reason

and coastal sediment transport.

that in this paper the name “Scanno del

Palo” is used when referring to the previ-

The combined action of subsidence,

ous situation, and Scanno di Sacca Scar-

violent storms, and defensive interven-

dovari when referring to the geography

tions by several different entities, as

that followed the ebb that gave rise to

well as coastal erosion phenomena are

the current state.

factors behind the important dynamics that have fundamentally changed the

Figure 1: the evolution of the Sacca degli Scardovari sandbar (Photo: Consorzio Bonifica Delta Po).

Andrea Bonometto: responsible for geo-morphological and environmental engineering; Lorenzo Bonometto: responsible for ecosystems and wildlife; Pippo Gianoni: responsible for the coordination of methodological systems and ecosystems. This work also called on the expertise Eng. Bruno Matticchio, who collaborated in the study of the morphological and hydrodynamic aspects as described in Issue 0 of the Quaderno Cà Vendramin (Matticchio, 2009). 1

The genesis of the Scanno del Palo

sandbar over the last few decades, with

goes back to the end of the twentieth

a gradual pulling back in recent years

century when, due the rapid advance

towards a configuration closer to that of

southwards of Po di Tolle and Po di Gnoc-

the late twentieth century, mainly due

ca mouths, a second outer basin (Sacca

to interventions being carried out by

di Bottonera) that was hydraulically

the Consorzio Delta Po Adige which, on

connected to the Sacca di Scardovari

the one hand, were aimed at reconstruc-

formed, thus creating a single lagoon.

tion via beach nourishment of a sandbar similar to the preexisting Palo sandbar,

The southward advance of the mouths

and on the other hand, at maintaining

of these Po distributaries came to an end

the efficiency the Southern Mouth in its

around 1900, mainly due to the combined

current position by means of periodic

effects of subsidence and the lessening

dredging and moving of sand (Mattic-

of river sediment. For most of the twen-

chio, 2009).






JUNE 2010


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

In general, within the changes taking

causing strong points of discontinuity

place, erosion phenomena outweighs

with major risks to the stability of the

deposit phenomena which overall, ap-

front of the sandbar;

Figure 2a: beached logs and tufts of Spartina juncea aligning the shoreline (Photo L. Bonometto, 2009).

pears to be weakening, with very different trends at the two mouths and areas in front of the sandbar:

- along the coastline around the Southern Mouth something very different seems to be happening, there is a

- in the north one observes significant

clear westward migration of the axis of

zone lagunari dell’Adriatico settentrion-

lowering of the bottoms in the section be-

the mouth channel with material being

ale (EEC Regulation 2088/85)”, initiated

tween the mouth of the Po di Tolle (Punta

deposited. This evolution is also related

a series of interventions aimed at stabi-

Barricata) and the Northern Mouth, likely

to the dredging carried out by the Con-

lizing the sandbar and the vivification of

due to a lack of sediment discharge in

sorzio, which limits the tendency of the

the lagoons. In 1997 an intervention was

turn primarily due to reduced flow (and

channel to move towards the southern

carried out to open the new northern

thus also solid transport) compared to

sandbar and emerged land of the Punta

mouth, consisting of the partial dredging

the past, from the southern distributary

del Polesine, creating a dynamic equilib-

of channels branching off from it and the

of the Po di Tolle (mouth of Punta Bar-

rium point to guarantee the maintenance

realization of an intertidal emerged em-


of the southern mouth’s efficiency favor-

bankment (labeled, improperly, as a “salt

ing the circulation of tidal currents.

marsh”) in the central part of the Sacca. Then in 2003, the Consorzio carried out

- in front of the sandbar’s line of defense, where the bottoms are charac-

The “Progetto Generale di sistemazi-

the restoration and stabilization of the

terized by a system of bars, recent ba-

one idraulica e di risanamento idro-

Scanno through the realization of a de-

thymetric surveys indicate how the bars

geologico della Sacca degli Scardovari”

fensive reef on its sea facing side, and

migrate with remarkable speed, whilst

prepared in 1994 by the Consorzio di Bon-

a filtering structure on its lagoon facing

maintaining fairly stable overall bottom

ifica Delta Po Adige as part of the “Pro-

side (recently reinforced, again with reef

quotas of about 2.5 to - 3.0 a.s.l., but

gramma integrato mediterraneo per le

elements), filling in the areas between


these elements with the material from

mouth, showed how the inclusion of

the dredging of the lagoon.

solid works, even more so in an area as

Figure 2b: artificial sandy embankment characterized by abnormal vegetation (Photo L. Bonometto, 2009).

complex and active as that of the Delta, These interventions are in their final

can trigger rapid evolutionary process-

stages, as shown in Figure 1. The inter-

es both constructive and destructive,

ventions for the reconstruction and

associated with the intense transport

stabilization of the sandbar in the new

dynamics along the coast. It is for this

location between two existing outlets

reason that future sea defense inter-

bilization of emerged areas through en-

to the sea are of primary importance

ventions must be adequately identi-

vironmental engineering works; and the

in maintaining the separation of lagoon

fied and designed, based on an overall

management of periodic maintenance

and marine environments and the cir-

evaluation of the affected system, and

and dredging activities in the channels

culation of tidal currents necessary

must be preferably accompanied by ex-

and mouths, sources of sediment to be

for the vivification of the lagoons; a

perimental pilot interventions followed

managed in an increasingly differenti-

condition that is also indispensable to

by appropriate monitoring programs in

ated way, and designed to be sources of

the productivity of the fisheries. The

order to assess effectiveness in com-

enrichment for beach nourishment ac-

eventual elimination or significant re-

parison with the expected results and

tions and processes.

duction of the sandbar would lead to a

possible negative impacts on adjacent

radical transformation of the Sacca’s

coastal waters.

The sandbar was conceived in the

lagoon system, affecting the Sacca del-

1980s as an artificial functional struc-

la Bottonera in particular, that would

On the other hand, it is likely that the

ture created as part of a lagoon vivifi-

become part of the sea. The changes

maintenance of the sandbar’s configura-

cation project, with multifunctional re-

to the coastline’s structure carried out

tion, including the two mouths is, in any

percussions (primarily environmental,

in the past, both the stabilization of

case, dependent on two factors over

economic, productive, and natural). As

the sandbar in the late 1980s and its

time: the completion of construction

such it is necessary that its manage-

division in order to open the northern

works to the sandbar, including the sta-

ment ensures sufficient spatial stability


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

through periodic maintenance (if not,

is similar to the natural characteristics

there is the risk of losing the sandbar

of the coastal environments of the Delta.

resulting in the alteration of the whole

vegetation. It should also be noted that the Adri-

lagoon system). The management of this

Environmental specificity and

atic’s high sandy coastlines show, on

environment should, where possible, be

morphogenetic dynamics

the whole, certain peculiarities due to

integrated with the natural forces and

their geographic position. The location

dynamics of the whole system, thereby

A specificity of primary importance,

of a narrow and shallow stretch of sea

reducing the workload and maintenance

a direct consequence of the origin of the

to the north, along a coastline affected

expenses while accentuating the self-

sandbar, can be noted in the geo-pedolog-

by the cooling and sweetening effects

conservation capacity similar to that

ical characteristics, significantly different

of river water, implicates an attenuation

of analogous natural systems. This ap-

to those of natural sandbars and beaches.

of Mediterranean characteristics, with

proach requires in-depth knowledge for

Unlike natural ones, formed by the accu-

the absence of, among other things, cer-

the monitoring of often non-linear evo-

mulation of sand selected and classed by

tain typical plant species as opposed to

lutionary processes and the taking on

marine and wind energy, the Sacca Scar-

those found elsewhere along the Italian

of a flexible maintenance concept that

dovari sandbar presents heterogeneous

coast; in contrast, similar to other Medi-

is able to be continuously adapted de-

sediment with very diverse grain sizes

terranean coasts and contrary to what

pending on the situation.

and sand, shells and clayey-silty elements

one sees along the European Atlantic

in different layers resulting from the qual-

coast, the prolonged summer drought

ity and inflow localization of materials at

that characterizes our climate means

various stages. Only in the areas that have

that the relationship between vegetation

been flattened and reshaped by wave and

and soil moisture requires, in order to get

The current characteristics of the

wind action does the sandbar show, at

through critical periods, deeper connec-

Scanno are the result of evolutionary

least on its top layer, sediments that are

tions between vegetation and dune sand,

phenomena induced by human interven-

partially selected, with notable differ-

held firm by their root systems and, as in

tions (dredging, ebb tide and some re-

ences between the sea facing surfaces,

the case of Ammophila, by the capillary

modeling) and spontaneous processes.

in which the maritime climatic energies

action of moisture in the groups of bur-

The result is a complex of heterogene-

produce profound and rapid remodeling

ied trunks (Bonometto, 1992), leading to

ous environments in which, starting with

effects by selecting grain size and favor-

evident technical implications.

far from natural conditions, spontane-

ing the triggering of morphogenetic pro-

ous processes tending towards typical

cesses best suited to the site, and those

It should also be noted that the Vene-

beaches environment features progress-

on the lagoon facing side, where the en-

to coastline’s geographical location, be-

ing in several places at different times

ergies have a lesser effect on the depth

ing in a transitional area between the

and speeds, and also over larger areas,

of the fills and show more modest results.

nearby Alps, the Mediterranean and the

The current state of the Scanno di Scardovari2

have been triggered. The Scanno while

gates of Eastern Europe, results in fur-

remaining mostly by its very origin, a

A direct consequence of this can be

ther floral and faunal peculiarity and, in

“secondary” habitat with abnormalities

seen in the abnormalities of the veg-

a eco-mosaic where, in addition to some

in its faunal population and vegetation

etation compared with the well-recorded

endemic species, there are species that

cover, dynamics and geomorphology, al-

succession of their own natural sand-

merge together from the continental and

ready has some natural habitats of inter-

bars (see for example: Gehu et al., 1984;

Asian steppes, alpine and Mediterranean

est and shows enough potential for the

Fiorentin R., 2007), with the presence of

species for which our dunes make up the

system to be brought to a structure that

ruderal and nitrophilous species and in-

geographical limits of their distribution

terior populations that differ from those

patterns (Bonometto, 1992; Fiorentin R.,

in the dunes. Abnormalities that have

2007a, b). This particular and wide diver-

important implications on stability, since

sity in a multi level ecotonal system is an

coastal dune resistance and resilience are

essential point of reference when evalu-

secured by the peculiar relationship be-

ating the project direction, the current

tween the habitat’s geomorphology and

state and dynamics of our dune habitats.

This work is mainly based on a study carried out spanning the years 2009-2010. Some characteristics of the sandbar have undergone subsequent further evolution due to natural dynamics and ebb flow with some modifications compared to the period of investigation. 2


The sandbars’ sediment/ vegetation

analysis of recent morphological sur-

to some extent, its “lagoon” character of

abnormalities and the simultaneous oc-

veys carried out on the Delta coastlines

the sea facing side, possibly connected

currence of positive dynamics cause

(Regione del Veneto 2009), one can see

to the inner most position compared to

large differences to arise, so much so

how the sandbars require, as a guideline,

the preexisting “Scanno del Palo”, and

that, as a result of several factors, one

a depth of about 300-350 m in order to

of an offshore protective reef running

can currently see heterogeneous sectors.

have stable structures hosting adequate

parallel to the coastline. One of the ef-

These include: the different sediment

ecological successions. Due to the sand-

fects of this was seen in unusual autumn

characteristics due, in different stretch-

bar’s limited depth, together with the

populations of Spartina juncea (Figure

es, to prior ebb flow; the quotas, profiles



2a, left) in the zone that tides and waves

and depth of the fills realized; the conse-

abnormalities, affects the possible de-

usually reach, having a visible stabilizing

quent diversity in spontaneously estab-

velopment towards the inside of typi-

effect on the sands.

lished vegetation structure; the locations

cal coastal ecological successions and

of marine weather and tidal events; quo-

hence the formation of mature stabilized

The zone corresponding to the em-

tas and locations of ebb flow in progress;

dune habitats. Along the natural sandy

bryonic dunes on the sandbar only shows

different sediment redistribution due to

coastlines, proceeding from the sea and

initial formations, with spread out Cakile

spontaneously arising dynamics; the re-

moving inland, one finds a typical series

maritima populations accompanied to

cent re-modeling, protection and system

of increasingly mature habitat groups,

the south-west by more strips of Sparti-

interventions; the effects caused by the

from the shoreline to the embryonic

na juncea, sparse Agropyron junceum (=

adjacent shore.

dunes and the first real groups of dunes,

Elymus farctus) and halophilic species,


to those situated in the internal areas

with Inula chrithmoides being particu-

The features mentioned above are

that are stabilized and interspersed with

larly frequent. In the zone correspond-

also behind specific critical issues re-

fairly wet lowlands. This succession can

ing to the first barrier of dunes, there is

garding the wildlife. The large surface

be seen in a very partial and abnormal

an absence of spontaneous formation,

areas of artificial origin are a favorite

way in the Scardovari sandbar, there are

seeing as the dunes are not the result of

nesting place for Yellow-legged Gulls

however some valuable peculiarities, and

morphogenetic processes caused by the

that have colonized the areas to such

good possibilities of intervening to steer

progressive deposition of classed sands,

an extent that they have had a serious

the processes toward natural, conform-

but of the artificial accumulations of het-

impact on other birdlife not only by ex-

ing structures.

erogeneous sediment (Figure 2b, right),

cluding them, but by preying on other

on which only recently remodeling and

species’ chicks; while at the same time,

In short, proceeding from the sea

the insularity prevents colonization by

and moving inland, the habitat succes-

the native herpetofauna and teriofauna.

sion has the following characteristics as

In this regard it is worth noting, by way of

well as abnormalities and peculiarities.

Hence the abnormalities in the quo-

comparison, what happens in the nearby

The strip of shoreline highlights a major

tas, dynamics and vegetation: there is

sandbar to the south-west, which is char-

importance owed to the large quantity

an absence of the more typical first bar-

acterized by significant active embryonic

of beached logs aligning the sea level

rier dune species, including Ammophila

dune systems: these favor an important

reached by the winter storms (Figure 2a):

arenaria (= A. littoralis) and Calystegia

presence of friar that, due to the fact

exactly the same situation as that which

soldanella, while the environment is now

that there is a high number of couples,

occurred on beaches in ancient times,

dominated by the under developed pres-

enables them to protect themselves and

and which today has been almost com-

ence of Cakile associated with Cheno-

the colony from the Gulls.

pletely lost as a result of beach “clean-

podiaceae ruderal nitriphilous (Atriplex

ing”, an activity which creates specific

tatarica above all) populating the area in

An important specific aspect that is

habitats and has important functions

covering strips. The formation of a habi-

common to the Delta sandbars is the lack

involving sand appropriation and reten-

tat similar to that of the first barrier of

of depth that is at times almost visible

tion. A specificity that differentiates this

dunes is achievable however, as clearly

on the sea and lagoon sides, as is clearly

sandbar from the other Delta sandbars

shown by the recent results of some

visible in figure 4. From a preliminary

and that characterizes the shoreline is

planting of Ammophila that were able to


naturalization interventions have been carried out.

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

activate typical morphogenetic dynamics

in values and criticality. The western

portant corrective potential that can

and vegetation.

extreme (Figure 3, Sector a) is char-

be activated through quota reductions,

acterized by very low quotas. It has a

sediment movement, and the introduc-

Even more noticeable is the absence

high natural value, with shores that are

tion of light structures associated with

of stabilized dunes. Even in the area

subject to largely natural geomorpho-

dune plants that trigger typical con-

just east of the centre, where the

logic and vegetation dynamics form-

structive processes. Behind the sand

depth of the sandbar would theoreti-

ing embryonic dunes with structured

embankment bordering the lagoon

cally allow for them, there is instead,

and differentiated halophilic low lying

there is a wide slightly lower area dom-

a high artificial plateau, dominated by

areas, as well as a brackish pond. The

inated by nitrophilous and reed veg-

sand towards the sea and land which

massive presence of beached logs in-

etation (Figure 3, c2); that degrades

is drenched in the winter and spring

creases the beach naturality and stabil-

sharply in the western corner, reaching

months and compact in the summer in

ity values, while the only area with a

intertidal quotas on which a precious

the internal areas, with extensive beds

higher quota is an internal zone at the

halophilous site has developed (Figure

of reeds interspersed with nitrophil-

extreme western edge of the earthy

3, c3).

ous vegetation and soil elements with

extensions that characterize the areas

extreme differences in moisture. This

that follow. The area does not currently

The surface of the sandbar termi-

habitat is free of dunal characteristics

need priority interventions apart from

nates in low quota sandy surfaces and

although small groups of dunal and ret-

the maintenance of its structures and

with intertidal stretches towards the

rodunal species show potentially posi-

active dynamisms.

Sacca (Figure 3, Sector d) at the eastern end. The pioneer vegetation is re-

tive trends. From the west extreme it passes

stricted to these areas with Cakile and

Even more so for the lack of vege-

through a long bottleneck (Figure 3,

Phragmites, replaced on the lagoon

tated dunes (shrubs and trees are limit-

Sector b) where the sandbar tapers off

facing side by Suaeda and Salsola Ha-

ed to a few artificially planted tamarice

into an earthy diaphragm covered with

lo-nitrophilous scrub populations. It is

trees while even the initially present

discontinuous nitrophilous ruderal veg-

to be noted how the orientation of the



etation and grassland (Figure 4). In the

area foresees, in the near future, once

oped), which would indicate that con-

internal concave slope the transition

the intended surface towards the sea is

ditions similar to the natural ones can

zone towards the lagoon waters is par-

entirely flooded, considerable depth of

only be obtained over similar periods

ticularly important, dominated by the

the sandbar corresponding to this sec-

through remodeling, with localized soil

extensive and extremely shallow area

tion, which could allow for an orienta-

adjustments, necessary for the inser-

with a sheltering formation of the bor-

tion of the ecological succession up to

tion of the dunes’ own vegetation. The

dering embankment and progressively

the interior habitats, starting from an

retrodunal depressions are different in

advancing tidal stretches. The sea fac-

almost natural current condition.

that, there is an absence of low salin-

ing side has recently been subject to a

ity humid habitats (there are only a few

vast ebb flow, which reduced criticality

elbow depressions mixed with reeds),

due to the extremely thin isthmus.



The final parallel and elongated section is currently under construction

while halophilic habitats are widespread over large parts of the sandbar

The next area (Figure 3, Sector c)

and its contiguous areas, in connection

is characterized by the presence of a

with the transition intertidal surfaces

broad and deep artificial embankment

facing the lagoon.

(Figure 3, c1), to which excessively high and poorly differentiated quotas in-

Zoning the sandbar3

duced abnormal dynamics compared to the natural reference dynamics.

As a result of the realization process and phases, some areas of the sandbar

Recent remodeling of the water-

are characterized by a wide diversity

front embankment has highlighted im-


The situation described refers to 2009. Compared to which, at the end of 2012, the structure is similar to that observed in the first highlighted areas. Some changes involved: section a, further deposit of sandy materials; section b, a closed stone cell intervention and consequent important nourishment, which has significantly expanded the extension towards the sea and thus its stability, section e, is currently being filled, an operation which started in 2009. It’s state will be monitored, taking into consideration the winter storms that periodically modify the situation and a comparison of the evolution of the transects will be made in the spring of 2013. 3

Figure 3: Zoning of the sandbar on the basis of different morphological characteristics (in orange) and identification of halophilic surfaces examined in the text (Aerial photo: Consorzio Bonifica Delta Po, 2009).

Flooded Mediterranean grasslands

Intertidal strip


Sandy intertidal surfaces with Salsola and Suaeda

d c2

a b



Brackish lagoon pond with halophilic vegetation

(Figure 3, Sector e). It is made up of

are concentrated at the sandbank’s

fect on all the sandbar’s habitats, but

the area bordered by the two shore

extremes; however it does not classify

are particularly fast on muddy or sandy

alignments, where there is currently

the large areas of the central embank-

surfaces related to active depositional

ebb flow, which will cause the sandbar

ment, given the abnormalities that di-

systems, which means that in order to

to take on the planned size and shape.

minish the quality of the habitats and

safeguard the biocenoses worth pro-

Note how a settlement consistent with

impede a qualification of the habitats

tecting, rather than the preservation

the character of natural sand, having

under the Directive.

of specific locations derived from the

ebbed in late 2009 with largely silty

maps, it is important that the factors

sediments as a result of winter storms

Instead the embankment is defined

and processes that enable the lagoon’s

that washed out the fine components

on the Consorzio Delta Po’s habitat

habitat functionality, even at different

and leaving the grainy ones behind,

map (Figure 5), which was prepared

times and locations, are guaranteed. In



as part of the analysis of the ecologi-

this evolutionary picture, the current

conforming to the characteristics of a

cal value of the lagoons (Pagnoni et

situation, compared to that described

natural beach, with a substantial Cakile

al, 2009) . In this work the deep sandy

in the two maps referred to, needs to


front and the rear surface (correspond-

be updated.





ing to sectors c1 and c2 in Figure 3) are The sandbar habitats on naturalistic

defined as “non vegetated excavation

There is an evident variation to the


sand “ and “nitrophilous anthropogen-

embankment labeled as “non vegetat-

ic grass community”. These different situations are reflected on the naturalistic maps. The

One should always bear in mind

regional habitat maps aimed at identi-

that both natural and artificial sandy

fying the types defined in reference to

coastal environments are subject to

Directive 92/43/EEC, clearly show that

rapid changes due to spontaneous or

the values attributed to the directive

induced evolution. These have an ef-


In 2008, the Consorzio entrusted the assessment of naturality and quality of the Delta del Po habitats to the Consorzio Ferrara Ricerche. The work was consigned in 2009 and a summary was presented in the Quaderno Cà Vendramin Issue 0. More details are also available on the Delta mapping portal 4

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

Figure 4: in the foreground one can clearly see the small earthy diaphragm, with its plastic film reinforcement introduced during construction separating the beach from the lagoon, covered with sparse ruderal vegetation. On the lagoon side (left), the presence of intertidal transition surfaces can be noted. This photo dates back to 2009; the sea facing artificial beach is now much larger as a result of recent ebb flow (photo: Bonometto 2009).

philic sites, in which the evolutionary

map as “Mediterranean salt meadows

processes have led to significant dif-

(Juncetalia maritimi)” (similar to the

ferentiations that tend to have struc-

Consorzio Delta Po Adige’s definition),

tures conforming to natural habitats,

currently appears much more exten-

as highlighted below.

sive than indicated on the maps, reaching the sandbar’s lagoon banks in wide

The halophilic surface on the west-

areas. The surfaces are currently home

ern extreme (Fig. 3, a), labeled “annual

to an eco-mosaic complex, on altimet-

Salicornia and other pioneer vegeta-

ric discontinuity caused by artificial or-

tion of the mud and sand areas” on

igin, which summarizes almost all high

the regional map (the Consorzio Delta

Adriatic halophilic habitats.

Po Adige map correctly describes a “brackish lagoon pool“), also currently

The incipient discontinuous inter-

has perennial psammophilic vegeta-

tidal zone on the lagoon side running

tion types making up eco-mosaic belts

from the western extreme to the con-

of vegetation further adding to the

cavity bordered by the bottleneck (Fig-

value, unlike on the eastern extreme

ure 3, sector a, b; Figure 4) is not high-

where there is a thin surface shown

lighted on the regional map however,

on the regional map (Figure 3, d) that

probably because it had not been iden-

is labeled as the same type with the

tified at that time. This halophilic zone,

ed excavation sand” (Figure 3, Sector



identified however on the Consorzio

c1) on which, covering populations of

ever without Salicornia, but Suaeda

map and an indicative of a positive

Cakile and Atriplex have recently de-

and Salsola halo-nitrophilous vegeta-

process, has significant annual pioneer

veloped. Further significant changes

tion.The halophilic surfaces in Figure

populations to the rear of the sandbar,

can be seen in the complex of halo-

3 (sector c3) labeled on the regional

covering considerable areas with pre-




KEY Mixed lagoon sediments emerging at low tide Non vegetated excavation sand Sandy marine sediments (sand>75%) emerging at low tide Sandy lagoon sediments (sand>75%) emerging at low tide Anthropogenic nitrophilous grass communities Annual mudflat or intertidal sand vegetation Annual marine deposit line vegetation Mediterranean meadows with pioneer Salicornia vegetation Annual Salicornia pioneer vegetation with muddy and sandy areas Junctus Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) Lagoon salt meadows

Figure 5: the Scardovari sandbar in the Charter of Habitat (Pagnoni et al, 2009).

tionary dynamics of these environmen-

estuarine system (Khalil, 2008; Louisi-

tal systems. Therefore, due to erosion,

ana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and

a habitat can be here today and gone

Restoration Task Force and the Wetlands

tomorrow, but the important thing is

Conservation and Restoration Author-

to verify the potential conditions for

ity, 1998). In the restoration of coastal

spontaneous reformation. It is there-

environments, a now widely shared ap-

fore a case of overcoming a singular

proach is that of looking for solutions

cious silty bottoms and sandy material

vision related to a habitat’s presence /

that integrate with the natural dynam-

subject to tidal range. This situation, as

absence at a given time, and evaluat-

ics, favoring and channeling morphoge-

described in 2010 (Gianoni et al., 2010),

ing the potential over a wider temporal

netic processes in order to maximize the

has already undergone changes related

and geographic arc instead.

environment’s self conservation ability (homeorhesis), bringing a dynamic equi-

to interventions and natural dynamics (the 2011 and 2012 winter storms in par-

Sandbar stabilization

librium between erosion and structural factors to the beach-dune system (Rose,

ticular) that are currently being moniRegarding the issues of management

2009; Thompson, 2011). This type of res-

and restoration of the sandbars and

toration approach and management of

However the sandbar’s current situa-

coastlines in general, the Italian expe-

coastal dune systems, aimed at ensur-

tion confirms in essence, with some new

rience is different to the international

ing flexibility and adaptability to chang-

elements, the analysis carried out in

experience. For an example of a major

ing environmental conditions, is of par-

2009. Observing changes over a short

restoration programs currently being

ticular importance today in anticipating

time reminds us that, in environments

carried out, one only has to look at that

rising sea levels and the intensification

characterized by prominent evolution-

of the Barrier Islands along the Gulf of

of marine-related weather events asso-

ary dynamics, the presence or absence

Mexico coastline, especially near the

ciated with climate change.

of habitat value is mainly linked to the

Mississippi Delta, which is a strategic

conditions that form basis of the evolu-

component in the defense of the entire

tored to check stability and consistency.


The planning solutions envisaged for

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

the Scardovari sandbar fit into this pic-

spread interventions carried out in or-

ture, aiming to favor and channel both

der to stabilize and manage hydrograph-

present and future morphogenetic dy-

ic basins, and the removal of aggregates

namics and ecology towards ever more

from waterways has drastically reduced

resistant and resilient dynamic equilib-

downstream sediment transport (Sime-

rium conditions. In applying these cri-

oni et al., 2007). This often requires, in

teria to the restoration of coastal sys-

the restoration of coastal environments,

tems one has to bear two important yet

beach nourishment through the applica-

limiting factors in mind: the availability

tion of sediment, with movements to ori-

of natural sediment fills, resulting from

ent the evolution of the profiles if need

coastal sediment transport and wind

be. In the case of the Sacca di Scardovari

transport; and sufficient space for the

the sediment available for beach nour-

ecological succession predicted (Nord-

ishment is derived from the integrated

strom, 2008). The first factor is a critical

management of the sandbar/ sacca sys-

issue, not only in Italy but also in most

tem, which provides for the re-use of the

coastal environments in that the wide-

material resulting from dredging carried


Figure 6a: double row zigzag windbreak structures, Stone Harbor, New Jersey. (picture: com; Photo: Makz, 2006).

Figure 6b: brush windbreaks positioned at the foot of existing dunes to intercept the Bora wind transport blowing across the coastline (Alberoni, Venezia). (Photo: A. Bonometto, 2012).

Figure 6c: an example of a windbreak module and sand deposition (Photo: A Bonometto, 2012).

out in order to maintain the hydrody-

es and avoiding armoring or compac-

namic efficiency of the mouths and the

tion phenomena that limit and possibly

sacca in general.

prevent wind transport (Nordstrom, 2008; Gianoni et al., 2010). The second

These origins inevitably involve the

limiting factor for the development of

use of different size sediments, that

complete ecological succession on the

are at times very fine and may vary ac-

Delta sandbars is the shallowness of

cording to the localization and depth of

the sandbars themselves, sometimes

dredging, creating high criticality and

exacerbated by subtraction of space

imposing, if tending towards the mor-

due to infrastructure and more gener-

phogenetic evolution conforming to

ally the anthropic use of the territory;

the naturality and functionality of the

to which can be added, as in this case,

dunes, the use of the same sediments

very intense local natural erosion.

according to the different localization and stratification criteria, favoring,

The establishing of a sufficiently

where possible, classification process-

evolved ecological succession, so as to


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari


sea wind ca. 25cm

a a


ca. 30cm

ca. 30°

ca. 15cm


wind generated sand deposit from dune (+ beach)

b b b 50-60 cm

ca. 30°

selected sand (placed or arrived)


Figure 7: an upper beach Ammophila c system. Planting phases (a, b) and foreseen developments (c,d). The dark brown lines represent the profile of the sand reflow present in the moment of planting; the light brown lines are profiles of the wind generated sand deposits.

a morphological and functional point of

side, depending on the different hydro-

view. It should be underlined how very

dynamic and wind forces that induce and

important these dune environments

channel the evolutionary process. The

are to morphological functionality, both

main intervention criteria for the Scanno

for their ability to dissipate the tempo-

di Scardovari are as follows.

rary increase of wave energy during the

- On the sea-facing side, for the en-

more intense storm surges (Thompson,

tire depth directly affected by the ma-

2011) and for their role as a “sediment

rine weather process and wind sand

tank “ in the exchange of sediments with

transport, after the implementation of

the beach during nourishment and for

the basic structures for the formation

the natural restoration of morphological

of the sandbar (shoreline and ebb flow),

quotas in exceptional marine weather

interventions should be aimed at ori-


erosion events. Furthermore, the pres-

enting and favoring the morphogenetic

ence of barriers of dunes on the sand-

constructive factors conforming to the

ensure the functionality of the environ-

bars restricts overwash phenomena,

natural ones. The final balance profile

ment from an ecosystem point of view, is

avoiding the consequent loss of sedi-

should therefore be achieved thanks to

a fundamental prerequisite for the suc-

ment, instability and breaches.

the spontaneous recharging processes


induced by the said interventions.

cess of these interventions, at least in the sea-facing side where the formation of a

Regarding the sandbars in general,

- In the internal surfaces of the sand-

proper active zone that stretches from

different solutions should be planned

bar, which correspond to the zone occu-

the first pioneer groups to the “gray”

and evaluated for the sea facing side, the

pied by the stabilized dunes, the actions

dunes is of particularly importance from

internal surfaces and the lagoon facing

will lead to almost finalized structures,




c b

wind generated sand deposit from beach wind generated sand deposit

c dc

ca. 2 - 3 month

capping residue


ca. 1 year

d e

only leaving the settling of morphologies

strategies, is the artificial heterogeneous

These variables are of primary im-

to the spontaneous dynamics (somewhat

embankment in the central part (Figure

portance for the identification and

weakened by the absence of significant e

3, C1), which requires specific, stretch-by-

adoption of intervention strategies in

stretch evaluations in relation the follow-

that they differentiate surfaces allow-

ing variables:

ing one to identify areas that require

sand recharge).

-On the lagoon-facing side the transitional environments will be planned

- distance between the various points

only minor interventions, based on the

foreseeing works that will bring about

of the embankment being examined and

principle of favoring eco-morphological

morphological structures that are close

the sea (adequate, excessive or small);

processes that conform to the natural

to those expected, leaving remodeling

- morphology (dimensions, depth,

processes, and those in which more

functions, essentially those of improve-

slope, etc.) and the dynamics of the em-

substantial interventions are neces-

ment and expansion of intertidal surfac-

bankment compared to natural condi-

sary such as beach nourishment and /

es, to the tidal lagoon dynamics.

tions (it is important to assess whether

or sediment movement. Certain wide-

they are similar to or far from natural

spread and often synergistic types of

equilibration dynamics);

intervention can be used to initiate the

Different methods of intervention should be adopted in relation to the

- sedimentological characteristics of

morphogenetic processes aimed at the

current morphological and sedimento-

the sand (especially checking for select-

formation of typical coastal environ-

logical features of the sandbar, arising

ed sand, unselected sediment with silty,

ment ecological succession:

from past interventions and the evolu-

clayey or gravely elements);

- input and movement of sediment, with modeling of surfaces;

tionary processes induced (Figure 3).

- ongoing processes of erosion / re-

Specifically, the element that basically

moval, or the recharging of sand by the

- insertion of windbreak structures

differentiates the sandbar from its inte-

wind, on the different section fronts and

designed to interfere with the wind re-

rior, imposing appropriate intervention


moval-transport–accumulation of sand;


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

- introduction of basic plant species

- there must be a recharge area that

The use of vegetation for

in the activation of morphogenetic con-

is big enough for wind transport consist-

morphogenetic purposes

solidation and construction processes.

ing of an either poorly or non-vegetated and unsaturated (usually dry) strip of

As well as being used for beach


The planting of psammophilic vegetation in the restoration of dunes, often as-

nourishment, sediment input and the

- wind speed must exceed the thresh-

sociated with the insertion of windbreak

eventual movement thereof can be use-

old for periods of time that are long

structures, is carried out with two dif-

ful in accelerating the reconstruction

enough to move and transport sedi-

ferent objectives that are in most cases

process of the dune ridges. To this end


contextual and interdependent:

the embankments are to be designed

- the depth, angle and height of the

- to activate, support and accelerate

with heights that are possibly lower

beach must be such as to dissipate the

the construction and stabilization pro-

than those expected, so that the said

incoming wave energy on the dunes in

cesses of dune systems, mostly in the

heights are reached with the subse-



bands of embryonic and “white” dunes,

quent deposition of sand selected by

that are too high limit their interaction

favoring the capture of sand and the re-

the wind transport.

with the sea and marine hydrodynamic

sulting consolidation ensured by the root

forces, reducing and at times impeding



Rigid structures can be useful in pro-

the continuous recharging of sand and

- to have an anti erosion role protect-

tecting beach nourishment from more

the structuring of sediment, leading in

ing existing dunes, not only in the lower

intense storm surges and intercepting

some cases to the phenomena of beach

parts where the beach is not very deep

sediment transport along the coast, but

armoring (Nordstrom, 2008).

(a condition that might favor the ero-

must be carefully planned and designed,

sive and not constructive effects of the

taking into account the large scale ef-

There are numerous types of wind-

wind, or even cause the winter storms to

fects so as not to interfere negatively,

break structures, their primary differ-

reach the dunes), but also in the internal

aggravating erosion problems down-

ences being the materials from which

surfaces where the changing environ-

stream. Furthermore, the use of rigid

they are made (e.g. wooden palisades,

mental conditions expose valuable envi-

structures may be necessary to limit

reed lattice, strips of branches or Spar-

ronments and grey dunes to abnormal

and confine the mobility of sandbars ac-

tina versicolor etc.), their orientation


cording to specific needs: in the case of

(rectilinear, sloping, brush, zigzag, open

the Scardovari sandbar, to ensure the

or closed groups – see Figure 6), height

Morphogentically speaking, the two

hydrodynamic efficiency of the mouths

(generally between 50 cm and 1.2 m)

most important species on the Adriatic

limiting burying.

and by number of rows.

coasts are Ammophlia littoralis and Ely-

mus farctus (Thompson, 2008; SperTheir porosity is the only parameter

anza et al., 2009; Bonometto, 1992),

in which there seems to be substan-

thanks to their stabilizing and construc-

To trigger and/or accelerate the mor-

tial concurrence, referred to as opti-

tive functions. Important ecological and

phogenetic processes related to wind

mal in values ranging from 40 to 60%

therefore technical differences can be

energy, windbreaks structures able to

(Coastal Engineering Research Center

seen in the localization and roles of the

“capture” and retain sand carried by the

(CERC), 1984; Khalil, 2008; Nordstrom,

two species:

wind are both cheap and widely used.

2008; Florida Department of Environ-

- Elymus farctus supsp. farctus (=

These structures reduce wind speed lo-

mental Protection, 2006; Grafals-Soto

Agropyron junceum = Elytrigia juncea)

cally and cause small dissipative vortex-

e Nordstrom, 2009). The following

is a constructive species that plays a

es, favoring the deposition of sediments

paragraphs propose, according to its

very important role in the initiation of

and the formation of dunes. In order for

site-specific needs and in comparison

colonization processes and the forma-

the dunes begin to form and develop at

with the different techniques available,

tion of embryonic dunes, starting from

the expected increased quota, certain

some possible solutions deemed suit-

their initial dimensions and distances

basic requirements must be met (Khalil,

able for the formation of dune systems

not reached by the usual storms. The


in the Scanno di Scardovari.

species’ position in front of the sea fa-

Windbreak structure



artificially accumulated heterogeneous sand embankment

sea capping

wind ca. 15 cm


ca. 40 cm ca. 35-40 cm

ca. 1,5-2 m


wind accumulated classed sand

ammophila placed directly on sand

ca. + 1,5 m.s.l.m


after 1 year

Figure 8: initial phase and the first year of evolution and of Ammophila plants on the artificial embankments. For sand colours see Figure 7.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

Different types of Ammophila littoralis windbreak structure plantations forming white dunes

Spontaneous Cakile colonization Shore

Possible sand recharge

Natural beached trunks or beached trunks in strips

Possible internal dune species plantation (Tortuleto Scabiosetum in particular) Possible internal dune plantations (Medicago marina in particular)

Low windbreak structures associated with Agropyron junceum and Ammophila littoralis

Figure 9: transect type, with scheme of initial morphology, extending where possible through reflow, remodeling, and subsequent interventions aimed obtaining (potentially at least) an ecological succession conforming to the natural one (own elaboration). The numbers in normal font refer in meters, on different scales, to the quotas of the average sea level and distance from the shore, while the numbers in italics refer to the sequence of the different elements or environments, according to the following sequence.

1: sea; 2: artificial reef; 3: submerged surface between the reef and beach; 4: foreshore (intertidal zone); 5: beach and initial colonization zone; 6: first embryonic dune; 7: Agropyron dominated embryonic dune; 8: embryonic dune with initial Ammophila growth; 9: white dune 10: initial interdunal lowland; 11: initial grey dune 12: wet interdunal lowland; 13: consolidated dune plantation; 14: halophilic lowland; 15: terminal undulation; 16: lagoon facing margin; 17: intertidal lagoon and watery surfaces.

Possible ulterior Ammophila littoralis plantation associated with low reeds

Possible stabilized bush dune species plantation

Possible typical halophilic species of the interdunal lowlands

vors sea spray and eventual contact

tions is linked to the biological and

with salt water. An indicator species of

ecological characteristics of the spe-

Sporobolo arenarii – Agropyretum jun-

cies, primarily for Ammophila’s need

cei, in addition to its high resistance to

to be gradually planted in sand with a

salt, requires less sand input than Am-

selected grain size in order to develop

mophila, making it also suitable for the

itself and consequently, the dune too. In

restoration of differing areas of the

fact, the growth of the plant is subject

dune. Elymus is frequently associated

to the emission of secondary root sys-

with Calystegia soldanella, a species

tems by the stem nodes, more than that

that creates ground covering surfaces

of rhizomes and stolons that allow the

on gentler slopes, which is not found on

tillering that follows with the expansion

the sandbar.

of coverage. The formation of rooted

- Ammophlia arenaria subsp. austra-

nodes follows the planting of the plant,

lis (= Ammophila littoralis) is the main

with a density (and therefore ability to

constructive species, as well as dynamic

“arm” the dune) related to the amount

equilibrium and evolutionary element

of the periodic submersion by the sand.

between the sand, wind and vegetation that enables the natural construction

The granulometric homogeneity of

and consolidation of the dunes. An indi-

the wind transported accumulations

cator species of Echinophoro spinosae

of sand is of particular importance to

- Ammophiletum arenariae, at distances

the species and its functions, giving

and quotas at which the direct effects of

the substrate its physical and chemical

proximity to the sea normally weaken, it

characteristics (permeability-drainage,

takes the place of Elymus.

porosity, oxygeneity) necessary for its proper development; in the absence of

The success of the system interven-


such characteristics there is a lack of

Figure 10: diagram showing the intervention configuration aimed at developing embryonic dunes with the use of 50 cm high windbreak structures and the planting of vegetation (the distance from the sea is not to scale) (own elaboration).

Elymus farctus plantation


Calystegia plantation Ammophila plantation





growth and anomalous phenomena or

wooded dunes and the inter-dunal low-

depths corresponding to or exceeding

degenerative phenomena (silty-clayey


that of system, in which wind-blown

elements which, when dry, appear in a powder form, retain moisture and in

sand can be deposited. Here follow some operational proposals (Figure 7

Sandbar system types

fact, block the interstices, hindering

and Figure 8), which differ depending

oxygenation by triggering processes of

The interventions’ adherence to the

on whether one plants isolated tufts

decay similar to those that can be seen

biological and ecological characteristics

or rows, and the systems that appear

in the older tufts in the internal areas)

of Ammophila, in particular the fact that

on slightly inclined (the upper area),

are established.

the species requires, in order ensure its

or very inclined surfaces (slopes of

constructive abilities, to be gradually

the artificial embankment). In any

This has already occurred, also in sig-

planted in sand with a selected grain

case, the requirements are the same:

nificant areas in the upper-Adriatic, in

size, can be ensured during planting

the digging of holes or trenches of a

systems of unselected refilled sand and/

even through simple interventions; in

suitable depth and width; the upwind

or surfaces without sufficient wind re-

these cases the inclination of the sur-

accumulation obtained by the input of

charge. The expected widespread use of

face (beach or embankment slope) and

removed sand; reed lattice elements

Elymus and Ammophila, to which Calys-

the possible presence of sand that has

(or similar) to trap the sand. In both

tegia can be added, requires a suitable

already been selected by wind action

examples one expects to plant in

preparation of the specific nurseries, in

are important variables in the site in

groups of three to five rooted trunks,

order to ensure adequate availability of



specimens without the need to resort to




parts with multiple nodes, obtained

excessive extractions from the environ-

In order to enable the deep planting

by fanning out the tufts removed from

ment. At this point these areas can be

on selected sand surfaces, some simple

the nurseries or the environment. The

organized for the production of the main

preliminary operations are necessary

interventions should be adapted to

species that in nature, synergistically ac-



suit the site-specific characteristics

company those outlined above, in order

sediment refill, consisting simply of the

of the sandbar with solutions that

to revitalize the stabilizing dunes, the

realization of holes or trenches with

can be adjusted however slightly each




The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

time according to the planting site and

of about 30 cm is required; regarding


width, one should bear in mind that the

PRINCIPLES AND PURPOSES 1. To Guarantee the sandbar’s presence at sea and hydrodnamism.

section will be affected by rapid subsid-

Ammophila plantations and foreseen

ence of the edges before settling at an in-

developments in the upper beach

clination of approximately 30 ° (“natural

heterogeneous reflowed sand

slope” of the sand).

In the upper beach area the planting

Phase 2 (Figure 7, b): an initial quan-

of Ammophila (together with Elymus and

tity of selected sand of 10 to 15 cm (taken

possibly Calystegia) is carried out on very

from a nearby source or obtained by siev-

gently sloping surfaces, in order to acti-

ing), should be placed on the bottom (this

vate the formation of a first line of em-

step can be omitted if the pit has been

bryonic dunes. The objective requires the

realized in advance guaranteeing a suffi-

use of light supporting structures, capa-

cient amount of equal spontaneous accu-

ble of starting the expected processes by

mulation due to the effect of wind trans-

quickly integrating itself, and conforming

port; it may also be omitted if the plants

to what happens in nature, leads to the

are already in a biodegradable container

proposal of sparse planting schemes, with

filled with a fair amount of selected sand).

distanced single tufts or with short lines

The system is planted by covering it with

starting from a quota of considerably less

the selected sand at the bottom, possibly

than two meters; the subsequent growth

supported by a single reed. Downwind,

of the plant/sand systems will determine

about 25-30 cm from the plant, a reed

the fusion of the tufts and will reach the

lattice is fixed vertically to act as a trap

height two meters, on a reinforced embry-

until the tuft is able to carry out this func-

onic dune connected to deep layers due

tion by itself once it has grown. The reed

to the gradually buried parts of the plants.

lattice, between 100 and 120 cm tall, and

2. To protect and consolidate existing environmental value. 3. To recuperate ecological functions (transitional habitats, reticles, dynamisms). 4. To activate habitat diversification mechanisms and the formation of new habitats of quality. INTERVENTION AREAS




adapted to the size of the hole or trench, Figure 7 shows the planting stages (a,

is buried just over halfway, with 40 to 60

b) and the schematization of foreseen de-

cm protruding (with single plants a con-

velopments (c, d). This example refers to

cave towards the sea is preferred).


the system of individual lines of Ammoph-

ila; similar solutions with double lines

Phase 3 (Figure 7, c): About 2-3

could be realized through the creation of

months after planting (depending on the

a dual trench with reed lattice in the mid-

age of the plant, the weather and wind

dle, so as to exploit the accumulations of

transport intensity) the process should

sand that form on the trellises in front of

be well under way. In fact, the hole or

the area that is exposed to the wind, as

trench should already have been filled

well as those to the rear caused by down-

as a result of the sand blown by the wind

wind vortexes, in order to form the first

coming from the adjacent accumulation


and beach; an initial undulation on the



The consolidation and improvement of the structure and dynamics of the sandbars. The protection and encouraging of the neo-formative dynamics of salt marsh and transitional areas on the margins of the lagoon. The recuperation of habitats and transitional functions between water surfaces and land through structural interventions on banks both on the water-side (salt marshes, mudflats etc.) and on the land (woodlands, bushes, freshwater areas etc.). The creation of a freshwater biotype in the lagoon through the controlled intake of reclaimed waters and the creation of a submerged embankment. The improving and valuation of ecological connections with inland habitats. The guaranteeing and improving of hydrodynamism within the lagoon based on the ecological objectives for the two sublagoons. The reinforcing of sructural and functional separation / transition elements between the two lagoons (relating to D).

trellises, in part covering the Ammophlia; Phase 1 (Figure 7, a): digging a hole

a good entrenching of the plant, having

(or trench if for a line of plants), with up-

got over the shock of its transplanting,

wind accumulation (sea facing side) of re-

and the beginning of secondary root for-

moved sand (this accumulation is the first

mation processes are expected. (In corre-

source of sand for the gradual filling of

spondence with the accumulation there

the hole due to wind transport). A depth

should only be one layer of unearthed


Figure 11: overview of recuperation interventions in the Sacca degli Scardovari (own elaboration).











The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

shells remaining, the removal of which

dynamics. Below these tops there is an

(brown dashes) and that following the

should be considered). It ‘s very impor-

Ammophila plantation that is particularly

spontaneous deposition of selected sand

tant that what is expected is affirmed

useful in triggering the deposition of sand

(beige line); the digging of a hole and its

by the summer so that the plant, possi-

on the top, and the consequent growth of

filling with sediment downstream just be-

bly planted in late winter-early spring, is

the dune. The principle behind achieving

low the ridge subject to wind erosion, with

able to cope with the combined effects of

good entrenchment and growth of the

reed lattice protection; the Ammophila

drought and summer temperatures.

tufts is similar to that considered in the

planting method with that placed inside

previous type, with some differences due

the hole being buried.

Phase 4 (Figure 7, d): After about 1

to inclination and altitude. It is a case of

year the dune will have grown significant-

digging holes just below the ridge (not

Phase 2 (Figure 8, b): Expected re-

ly, almost completely covering the trel-

trenches, so as not to trigger land sliding

sults after the first year, with remodeling

lises as a result of winter wind deposition.

effects) in the areas marked by erosion

of the surfaces due to the accumulation

The growth of Ammophila, which seemed

(Figure 8, a), that are deeper than the

of sorted sand (in beige), covering the

to stop at the end of autumn, but actu-

previous types, having to compensate for

top, and expected Ammophila develop-

ally continued growing and differentiat-

more dehydration due to exposure to the

ment with secondary root platforms.

ing underground through the winter, will

wind and more drainage due to altitude

have permitted spring tillering and conse-

and inclination.

quently, maximum growth. The embryon-

Sandbar stabilization intervention proposals

ic dune should appear in summer having

The excavation takes place on an angle

grown at least 60 cm, the trellises should

and this provokes more extreme verticali-

The criteria and types of intervention

be buried, so that the development that

ty of the slope upstream, the giving way of

defined can be put into practice accord-

follows will be completely natural in char-

which must be prevented by means of pil-

ing to a general scheme defined by the

acter, the tuft of Ammophila should be

ing before the excavation of the inclined

“transect type� (Figure 9), which sum-

wide and dense, with deep growths of rhi-

trellises. The same plants are planted with

marizes possible types of restoration ac-

zomes-stolons and the initial vegetative

the submerged part at an angle (Figure 8,

tions according to detectable and/or ac-

formation of collateral elements.

a), to improve stability and ensure larger

tionable ecological succession in general

distances from the surface roots exposed

on the sandbar. This scheme represents

Ammophila plantations and foreseen

to wind dehydration and high tempera-

a basic reference for the executive plan-

developments in the artificial

tures (highest in the south-facing slopes).

ning phases, showing a general indication of the interventions planned for each

embankments on heterogeneous reflowed sand

The high drainage of the slope sand

area. It is important to note that environ-

calls for a deep trench of about 25-30 cm,

mental groups 1-4, the natural forces and

In particular, this condition applies to

revealing only the tops of the plants in or-

morphogenetic processes subsequent to

the remodeled embankments with mor-

der to maximize the rooting and anchor-

refilling and remodeling are exclusively

phology that is closer to those of natural

age functions of the submerged parts.

due to marine factors; in groups 5-9 they

dunes, where there is a range of effects

Apart from this, the method is the same

are due to the prevailing wind dynamics;

between the slope and the top, caused

as the previous type; it is clear that by

and in 10 to 17 due to attenuating and sta-

by wind. Many sections of the sandbar

placing tufts in individual holes, one will

bilizing adjustment processes.

slope show a consistent deposition of

initially get fragmented lines and wavy

sand transported and deposited by the

ridges (Figure 8, b), so it would be bet-

The diagram in Figure 9 represents

wind, thicker than 20 cm in places, thus

ter to use plants with slightly differing

ideal conditions that are only possible in

permitting the direct planting of Am-

heights, which require at least a couple of

some areas of the Scanno di Sacca Scar-

mophila (Figure 8); on the contrary, the

years to create a compact front.

dovari. Actually, a factor that widely af-

top of the slope shows effects of wind

fects redevelopment projects inherent to

erosion towards the sea, with exposure

Phase 1 (Figure 8, a): Schematic

environmental protection purposes is the

of sediment deposits and local effects

planting profile. Consisting of: the origi-

shallowness of the sandbar (also com-

of armoring that blocks morphogenetic

nal profile of the artificial embankment

mon to natural sandbars), which limits its


Integrated project for the environmental and productive consolidation and valorization of the transitional areas of the sandbar – lagoon. Involved bodies: Park Entity, Consorzio and fishermen

Morphological structuring and environmental engineering interventions favoring sandbar dynamisms and the natural succession of habitats between coast-sandbarlagoon. Sandbar construction interventions taking morphological dynamisms and natural succession of habitats between coast-sandbar-lagoon into account.

Mouth opening maintenance Mouth opening maintenance


2 3

Defensive reef completion and specific instability point correction.

Realization of experimental brushes, in order to stabilize the sandbar.

Integrated beach defence intervention project in favor of protecting the sandbar. Involved bodies: Genio Civile and Consorzio Delta del Po.

possible development towards the inside

Stabilization of sandbar internal areas with the formation of cells and the progressive filling with sandy/silty materials.

Beach protection interventions. Involved body: Genio Civile. 1 Km

entire sandbar.

typical of coastal ecological successions thus limiting, in large parts, distances

Arrangement of windbreak structures

that favor more mature internal stabi-

and constructive species plantations

lized dune habitats. One should note that site-specificity and certain experimental

In the strip of embryonic dunes, in or-

characteristics of these interventions

der to promote development, the plant-

favor the gradual implementation of in-

ing of Elymus farctus and Ammophila

terventions and constant monitoring in

littoralis is foreseen, with the possible

order to evaluate their effectiveness and

addition of Calystegia, together with the

make appropriate changes if necessary

implementation of low windbreak struc-

over the course of the work. Further-

tures (about 50 cm). In relation to the

more, different solutions can be experi-

transverse direction of the prevailing

mented with in the initial phase on a first

winds characterizing the sandbar (Bora

portion of interventions, in order to se-

and Libeccio), the positioning, as an ex-

lect and fine-tune those that are more

periment, of the trellises in two rows in

efficient and that could be applied to the

modules of about 4-5 m diagonally to the


Figure 12: morphological structuring, protection and environmental engineering intervention guidelines for the sandbar and adjacent areas (own elaboration).

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

coast (Figure 10), with the second row ori-

recommended (e.g. Khalil, 2008). The ar-

ented perpendicular to the first, in order to

rangement of the structures can be both

increase its ability to capture sand (Nord-

diagonal modules (of approximately 10 me-

strom, 2008, Grafals-Soto and Nordstrom,

ters in length), or “zigzagging” rows (Fig-

2009), is considered favorable.

ure 6a, 6b, 6c), but both are solutions used for prevailing winds blowing diagonally to

The two rows of trellises must be close enough to create embryonic dunes in-

the coastline that lead to a more natural morphology (Nordstrom, 2008).

tended to coalesce into a single system over a width of about 10-15 meters (Figure

The planting of Ammophila in front

9, zones 7 and 8), bearing in mind that, as

of and/or to the rear of the windbreak is

reported, the expected inclination of the

foreseen with the installation of the struc-

growing dune system will be about 1:4-

tures (Figure 7). Also in the first zone of

1:7 (Coastal Engineering Research Center

dunes, but in particular near the already

(CERC), 1984). An indicative scheme of

existing embankment, Ammophila will be

the configuration of the intervention

planted at the base and on top of the sea

aimed at developing embryonic dunes

facing slope, in ditches formed on oblique

with oriented modules in relation to the

surfaces, with supporting low reed lattice

prevailing winds is shown in Figure 10.

trellises (about 50 cm in height) of limited

The different inclination of the modules

length (approximately 2 m) to the rear, in

of the two rows of windbreak structures

order to reinforce the upper margin of the

is for maximizing the interception of wind

ditch (Figure 8).

transport generated by the two prevailing winds blowing obliquely across the coast-

As in nature, sparse Ammophila plan-

line (Bora and Libeccio). Furthermore, it

tation schemes of individually spaced

helps to limit the formation of currents

tufts or short rows are foreseen: it is the

flowing parallel to the structures and the

subsequent growth of plant/sand systems

consequent removal of sand in the event of

that will determine the enlargement of the

sea storms reaching the edges of the em-

base, the consequent fusion with those

bryonic dunes.

nearby, and the eventual formation of ridges of dunes.

The previous examined examples refered to area of the sandbar that had already

Maximum distance between the plants

been refilled and that were characterized

is about 0.75 cm - 1 m, which would require

by artificial embankments, as opposed to

about 2-3 years for a continuous ridge to

the refill on areas that tend to be flat (most

form. Ammophlia coverings are dominant

importantly, zone “e” in Figure 3). In these,

in dunes that are higher than about two

in the zone corresponding with the first

meters. This means that, similarly to that

row of dunes (zone 9 of the transept “type”

which occurs in nature, the plantations

in Figure 9), the positioning of high wind-

should be planned so as to start from

The stabilization of the Scardovari

break structures (1-1.2 m) should be carried

a lower height, so that the height of two

sandbar is of primary importance to the

out in one or two rows, depending on the

meters is achieved with dune growth and

general scenario of valorization inter-

slope of the embankment caused by sedi-

the continuous emergence of species from

ventions in the Sacca, thanks to its de-

ment movement and the width of the dune

the accumulated sand, which will thus be

termining role of maintaining the Sacca

required. In cases in which there are two

reinforced and connected to the deep lay-

itself. Interventions on the sandbar form

rows, an optimal distance between them of

ers thanks to the gradually buried parts of

part of a comprehensive framework of

4 times their height (about 4-5 meters) is

the plant.

action (Figure 11) aimed at, on the one



hand, ensuring ecosystem and production

maintaining the typical characteristics of

functions in the area, and on the other, at

the transitional water; followed by the sta-

improving the Sacca’s overall ecosystem,

bilizing of the sandbar, at least in a fairly

with particular focus on recuperating eco-

large central portion, is the essential me-

system deficits.

dium-term objective for the conservation of the lagoon ecosystem as defined by

The presence of the Scanno di Scar-

dovari, and its permanence, are crucial

its qualitative, functional and productive characteristics.

to ensuring the morphological and hydrodynamic conditions of the lagoon, while

The study enabled us to confirm that


Figure 13: the central part of the sandbar, early environmental engineering works 2011 (photo: P. Gianoni).

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Elements of Environmental Engineering in the Stabilization of the Sacca Scardovari

the formation and management of the

system, and the carrying out of necessary

d), the objective could be to take the eco-

sandbar requires an approach based on

corrective measures;

logical successions as far as the formation

an evolutionary concept that integrates

- Constant monitoring of the morpho-

of vegetated dunes, possibly compressing

anthropic intervention and natural dyna-

logical evolution with assessment tools

the successions so that they fit into the

misms. From this viewpoint, the knowl-

(lidar surveys), the monitoring of the evo-

available space.

edge of the phenomena of the formation

lution of the vegetation (by phytosocio-

and erosion of sandbars and dune systems

logical surveys on relevant plots, and the

Early planning indications and sur-

should be the basis of any intervention

documentation of the development and

veys revealed some encouraging results,

project that aims to ensure the medium-

species coverage), fauna and landscape

which to large extent confirmed the com-

term presence of stable morphological

observations (with photographic docu-

mencement of the predicted evolution-


mentation of the evolutionary phases) are

ary dynamics. However, given the pre-

all essential to good medium-term results;

cariousness of the situation, as a result

. The analyses enabled the verification

- Because the planned solutions are

of the failure factors considered above, it

of the dynamisms as a basis for the defin-

aimed at encouraging, orienting and

appears that the monitoring on different

ing of the interventions aimed at orienting

strengthening the morphogenetic and

levels over the next few seasons is nec-

the morphological evolution of the sand-

ecological dynamics present, they require

essary in order to adapt and implement

bar towards a dynamic equilibrium capable

different solutions for the sea-facing slope,

planning and executive measures based

of guaranteeing as much resistance and

the internal surfaces and the lagoon fac-

on the gradual evolution in act.

resilience, and hence more overall stabil-

ing side.

ity, as possible in the system. Here follow some key points of particular importance

In the coastal and lagoon habitats adja-

to the basis of the project and the carrying

cent to the sandbar, interventions should

out of future interventions to be integrally

be integrated into specific larger scale pro-


jects developed in collaboration with the

- Knowledge of the types of sediments

relevant entities, aimed at limiting erosion

moved is essential in defining their reloca-

phenomena of the coast and the valoriza-

tion on the sandbar, both with respect to

tion of the lagoon areas as a whole. In a dy-

positioning, and possibly to the stratifica-

namic environment such as the sandbars,

tion of refill; and it is for this reason, fur-

it is essential to overcome the sectoriza-

ther to the traditional preventive analysis

tion of skills and move towards a unified

measures and specific methods of con-

overall planning system. In terms of plan-

tract procurement, that the flexible man-

ning, the general approach, in line with the

agement of materials according to their

natural dynamisms involves defining a rap-

characteristics and their final destinations

port that is coherent with the height/depth

is foreseen;

dimensions of the sandbar, and identifying

- Vegetation plays a key role in the con-

the correct sediments to form structures

struction and reinforcement of the sand-

at the different heights and distances from

bars; planting interventions should there-

the sea.

fore be planned whilst taking into account the general and particular conditions of

For the most part this amounts to stop-

the Scanno and the medium-term objec-

ping the remodeling and environmental

tives of the project;

engineering interventions the moment

- The orientation and maintenance of

there are pioneer species (no further than

the planted vegetation must be carried out

the “gray dunes�), providing the necessary

for several years (initially 5) in order to en-

support structures to activate natural pro-

sure, not only the correct engraftment of

cesses; only in areas where the sandbar is

singular species, but the functioning of the

deeper (250-300 m, see Figure 3 section



Bonometto L., 1992. Elementi per una pianificazione naturalistico ambientale della fascia litoranea

nella Penisola del Cavallino. In: Un ambiente naturale unico. Le spiagge e dune della penisola del Cavallino. Comune di Venezia, Grafiche Veneziane. Coastal Engineering Research Center (CERC) (1984) Shore protection manual. Ft. Belvoir, VA: US Army Corps of Engineers. Fiorentin R., 2007a. Linee guida gestionali per gli interventi di rinaturalizzazione. In “Progetto Life Natura -Azioni concertate per la salvaguardia del litorale veneto. Gestione di habitat dunali nei siti Natura 2000”. Progetto Life 03NAT/IT/000141. pp.129-168 Fiorentin R., 2007b. Habitat dunali del litorale veneto. In “Progetto Life Natura -Azioni concertate per la salvaguardia del litorale veneto. Gestione di habitat dunali nei siti Natura 2000”. Progetto Life 03NAT/IT/000141. pp.75-128 Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Division of Water Resource Management Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems, 2006. Sand Fencing Guidelines. (04/2006). Géhu G.M., Scoppola A., Caniglia G, Marchiori S., Géhu-Frank J, 1984.Les systèmes vegetaux de la cote nord-adriatique italienne. Documents phytosociologiques, vol. VIII, pp. 485-558. Camerino Università degli Studi. Gianoni P., Bonometto A., Bonometto L., Matticchio B., 2010:Interventi di sistemazione scanno degli Scardovari, Elementi ambientali e di ingegneria naturalistica per il progetto generale ed esecutivo, pag. 61, Consorzio Delta Po, 2010, inedito. Grafals-Soto R., Nordstrom K., 2009. Sand Fences in the Coastal Zone: Intended and Unintended Effects. Environmental Management (2009) 44:420–429 Khalil, S. M. 2008. The use of sand fences in barrier island restoration: Experience on the Louisiana Coast. ERDC TN-SWWRP-08-4. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Task Force and the Wetlands Conservation and Restoration Authority, 1998. Coast 2050: Toward a Sustainable Coastal Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. Baton Rouge, La. 161 p. Mattichio B., 2009: Evoluzione morfologica recente della Sacca degli Scardovari, Quaderni Cà Vendramin 2010 (0):18-52 Nordstrom K. F., 2008 B each and Dune Restoration. Cambridge University Press. Office National des Forets (France), 2002. Connaisance et gestion durable des dunes de la Cote Atlantique. Manuel récapitulant les enseignements du projet européen Life – Environnement de rehabilitation et gestion durable de quatre dunes francaises. In Dossiers Forestiers – Office National des Forets (France), n.11, 2002. Favennec J. (Direction – coordination). Pagnoni G.A., Bertasi F., Gianoni P. Rossi R., 2009. Il valore della naturalità e a gestione degli interventi nelle lagune del delta del Po, Quaderni Cà Vendramin 2010 (0): 56-103. Regione del Veneto, Segreteria Regionale Ambiente e Territorio – Unità periferica Genio Civile di Rovigo, 2009. Elaborazione dei dati LiDAR rilevati sulla costa del Delta del Po. Voli del 26 aprile 2006 e del 7 marzo 2009. Elaborazioni IPROS Ingegneria ambientale s.r.l Rosati, J. D. 2009. Concepts for functional restoration of barrier islands. Coastal and Hydraulics Laboratory Engineering Technical Note ERDC/CHL CHETN-IV-74. Vicksburg, MS: U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center. Simeoni U., Fontolan G., Tessari U., Corbau C., 2007. Domains of spit evolution in the Goro area, Po Delta, Italy. Geomorphology 86 (2007) 332–348. Speranza M., Ferroni L., Priton G., 2009. L’intervento di vegetalizzazione della duna. In Foce Bevano: l’area naturale protetta e l’intervento di salvaguardia. Regione Emilia Romagna, Assessorato alla sicurezza territoriale difesa del suolo e della costa protezione civile. A cura di Christian Marasmi. pp.26-28. Thompson R. C., 2011 Natural habitats for coastal protection and relevant multi-stressor coastal risks. Report and European scale overview. Theseus EU FP7 Project “Innovative technologies for safer European coasts in a changing climate”. Deliverable OD3.3. Contributors: H. Heurtefeux, M. Milor, A. Bichot, S. Grosset.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The FAO-IMOLA Project


LINO TOSINI Director of the Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin

The general objective of the FAO

Italy, this paper aims to (i) broaden our

IMOLA (Integrated Management of La-

knowledge of the mechanisms that can

MASSIMO SARTI Chief Technical Adviser fot the IMOLA Project

goon Activities) project is to develop

improve internal circulation of tidal

a plan for the sustainable manage-

currents and (ii) identify the areas of

BRUNO MATTICCHIO IPROS Ingegneria Ambientale srl

ment of the Tam Giang - Cau Hai (Hue,

the lagoon that are characterized by

Vietnam) lagoon system’s natural re-

lower water exchanges than others.


sources. Initiated in 2008, it is now in

The survey focused on the southern la-

its second phase in which the Regione

goon, from the Thuy Tu Channel to the

LUANA STEFANON Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po

Veneto, through the Consorzio di Bon-

Cau Hai lagoon, with particular focus

ifica Delta del Po, has activated its Pro-

on the Tu Hien sea inlet. The basic top-

getto di Cooperazione Decentrata.

ographic and cartographic data were acquired from the GIS database made

This work concentrates on one of the priorities of the IMOLA project,

available by the IMOLA project technical office in Hue.

which foresees the establishing of a

program for the environmental moni-

A partnership was established with

toring of the system and the hydrologi-

the Hanoi Water Resources University,

cal modeling of the Tam Giang Cau Hai

which has significant experience in the

lagoon, to be implemented through

study areas, from which more specific

automated environmental parameter

data (bathymetric surveys, hydrologi-

detection methods and systematic la-

cal data and studies, tidal data) were

goon morphology surveys, that are

acquired. Partnerships with local agen-

essential to the design and monitoring

cies were also established and data

of interventions within the lagoon en-

necessary for the compilation of a hy-

vironment aimed at the mitigation of

dro-meteorological database contain-

ongoing environmental degradation.

ing chronological records of weather data and river water levels were ob-

In the light of experience gained in

tained in order to characterize the

the coastal lagoons of the Po Delta in

system’s seasonal regime. The most

The Tam Giang - Cau Hai Lagoon.


relevant of the activities, however, consisted of carrying out field studies and the implementation of a mathematical hydrodynamic model of the lagoon. The measurement campaigns, as well as being the first step in the IMOLA project’s environmental monitoring program, are mainly for the collection of the data set required for the development and calibration of the mathematical model. The measurements focused on Cau Hai Lagoon, Tu Hien inlet and Thuy Tu Channel. Detailed bathymetric surveys, tide recordings, flow and current measurements at the inlet and along the main tidal pathways were conducted with an ADCP. CTD measurements were also conducted in order to map the distribution of temperature and salinity in the system. The measurements were carried out by TE.MA. S.n.c. of Faenza, Italy from 15 to 22 April 2011, on behalf of the Fon-

dazione Ca’ Vendramin in collaboration with B. Matticchio and L. Stefanon as commissioned by the Consorzio di Bon-

ifica Delta del Po.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 The FAO-IMOLA Project

Thuan An outlet Tu Hien outlet

TAM GIANG LAGOON Thuy Tu channel Huong river

0.0 0








6 Km

Bathymetry (m a.m.s.l.)

Logistic support and assistance was

Hien inlets. The computational grid was

provided by the IMOLA team, which was

constructed with cells of varying sizes in

coordinated by Prof. Massimo Sarti. Local

order to describe the morphology of the

operators provided the boats as well as

area of interest, i.e. Cau Hai Lagoon and

directly participated in the survey (tide

Tu Hien inlet, in more detail.

Tam Giang – Cau Hai Lagoon hydrodynamic model computational domain.

gauge measurements and salinity) after adequate training. The data collected,

The model was calibrated and verified

having been processed and validated ac-

mainly based on data collected in the

cording to the standards of the project,

April 2011 field campaign and other data

were made available in a GIS database.

collected in a previous campaign carried out by IMOLA in December 2010, in order

Numerical modeling tools developed

Cau Hai Lagoon grid model.

to verify the tidal propagation results, the

by the University of Padua, which consist of a series of modules based on a finite element formulation, and which allow the solving of different aspects regard-

Thuy Tu channel

ing the hydrodynamics of the currents in shallow waters in a two-dimensional domain, including tidal levels and currents, dispersion of solutes and the movement of floating particles as well as sediment transport and wind generated waves, were used in the analysis. Tu Hien outlet

A 3D baroclinic module was also employed to simulate the stratified currents pattern due to salinity differences. The model area was extended to the entire Tam Giang - Cau Hai Lagoon and portions of the ocean in front of Thuan An and Tu







4 Km

magnitude of flow through the inlets and the Thuy Tu Channel, and the identification of the sub-basins pertaining to each of the two mouths. In order to identify the areas of the Cau Hai Lagoon most affected from a water exchange point of view, the mapping of the residence times was carried out, among other things. The results identify an area next to the Tu Hien mouth (about 10 km2) characterized by very low residence times (less than 6 days) and therefore has a considerable capacity for water exchange. Longer but still relatively short residence times (less than 30 days) characterize an area inside the lagoon of approximately 40 km2. In the remaining part of the Cau Hai Lagoon and along the Thuy Tu Channel, residence times are much longer (over 2 months), therefore these large portions of the lagoon basin are characterized by an almost complete absence of tidal action, thus water circulation and exchange is exclusively due to the much weaker and uncertain action of the wind. The model was then used to analyze a series of scenarios involving different morphological configurations of the Thuy Tu mouth, including the possibility of proceeding with the dredging of the mouth. The results obtained can be useful in identifying possible interventions that may improve the quality and circulation of water inside the lagoon.


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Delta Med Association Activities 2011-2012


LINO TOSINI Director of the Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin

The Delta Med Association, founded

in which the following themes were dealt

in 2002 by the General Comunidad de


Regantes Derecha della Canal del Ebro

- The issue of rice cultivation in the Medi-

and the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta Po


Adige di Taglio di Po, and which today

- The modernization of irrigation in Cata-

comprises representatives from nine dif-


ferent Delta and Mediterranean Wetland

- The future of EU Agricultural Policy,

areas has, in line with its main objectives,

- The management of wetlands and del-

continued to carry out its activities over

tas (in reference to the Po Delta),

the two year period 2011-2012.

- Water resources and agriculture in Egypt,

Of the various activities undertaken, it is worth mentioning the constitution of

- Climate change impact and adaptation strategies in the Mediterranean deltas.

the Delta Med General Assembly, which took place on 7 April 2011 at the General

On this occasion Delta Med President

Comunidad de Regantes Derecha della

Manuel Masià Marsà, presented Mr. Joan

Canal del Ebro headquarters and the

Maria Roig i Gran, the “Senador” of the

Delta Med Association in Amposta (Tar-

Comunità Autonoma della Catalogna,

ragona), during which the activities car-

with a document regarding the “Decla-

ried out by the Association in 2009 and

ration of rice cultivation as an activity

2010 were preliminarily described, its

of special interest to the deltas and wet-

economic management was accounted

lands and of high ecological value to the

for and new member Ente Parco Region-

Mediterranean Area”, which had been

ale Veneto Delta del Po’s inclusion in the

signed by representatives of the various

Delta Med Association was discussed. In

Delta Med regions in Valencia in 2003, in

particular, one should not forget that the

order for the aforementioned Comunità

2010 Assembly that was due to be held in

Autonoma della Catalogna to commit to

Alexandria, Egypt, was postponed due to

submitting the said document to the rel-

political instability.

evant European Union department.

Among the particularly interesting

In August 2011, a delegation led by the

topics discussed was that of Dr. Badawi

President went to Cairo to observe the

Tantawi (Nile Delta) on the development

evolution of a new variety of Delta Med

of Delta Med rice varieties being car-

rice already in its last phase of develop-

ried out in the Egyptian research center

ment, and for which conclusive tests may

in Sakha, where the selection of certain

later be carried out in order to define its

rice varieties is being studied in order to

behavior in Spain and Italy.

be presented as a joint project between Spanish, Italian and Egyptian representa-

On December 5 2011, Delta Med, in col-

tives as soon as possible to enable rice to

laboration with the Comunidad General

adapt to the issues of climate change and

de Regantes held a symposium at the

salt wedges.

51st agricultural fair in Amposta in the Ebro delta. The topics covered were the

On April 8 2011, the Delta Med Asso-

evolution of the Spanish rice varieties in

ciation organized a day of conferences

Egypt, with particular reference to those

on “Futuro de la Agricultura en los del-

with higher yields and those that are

tas y zones humedes del Mediterraneo“

more tolerant to extreme drought and


high temperature conditions, as well as the development of irrigation techniques for the cultivation of rice and the efficient use of water in Egypt. The engineer Lino Tosini, Delta Med representative in Italy, made a detailed presentation of the changes affecting the evolution of the Po delta and the problems of salt wedge ingress, in which Spanish participants were considerably interested in the proposed solutions and their connection with similar problems in the Ebro delta. In 2012 Delta Med members were affected by the incumbent consequences of economic restrictions that all European Union countries encountered, thus resulting a reduction of intensity of the Association’s activities. Nevertheless, its members continued in following the rice varieties’ evolution in Egypt. An interesting project developed in conjunction with schools and aimed at broadening knowledge of the environmental, morphological and productive reality of the Ebro Delta was also launched in collaboration with the Comunidad de Regantes de a Derecha del Ebro. This project’s success means that in the future it will be extended to all the other Delta Med realities.

Delta Med general meeting at the head office of Comunidad General de Regantes del Canal de la Derecha del Ebro and the Delta Med Association in Amposta (Terragona).


The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Thesis Review


ANDREA DEFINA Professor of Hydraulics at the Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Edile e Ambientale (ICEA), UniversitĂ di Padova Graduate: ALICE SGARABOTTOLO Civil Engineering Degree 2009 /2010 Academic Year

The thesis addresses the problem of

When planning tidal basin vivification

hydrodynamic indicators, able to indicate

works it is useful to have hydrodynamic in-

the intensity of water renewal process ef-

dicators that are able to clearly show the

fectiveness in shallow, micro-tidal basins.

effectiveness of the proposed works. To

Up to now, residence time has been the

this aim, residence time (or, alternatively,

most used hydrodynamic indicator; how-

water age) is by far the most commonly

ever, this time scale has not always proved

used indicator. High residence times are

to be significant in identifying critical

assumed to denote ineffective water re-

conditions with reference to the problem

newal mechanisms that in turn indicate

of water renewal. This work proposes a

poor water quality. However, this relation-

different parameter, i.e., tidally averaged

ship is not always respected, e.g., efficient

diffusion coefficient, which can, together

exchange processes with the atmosphere

with residence time, provide useful infor-

can ensure good water quality even in

mation on the state of a tidal basin and

the presence of relatively long residence

on the effectiveness of engineering works

times. In the thesis a different hydrody-

aimed at promoting lagoon-sea water ex-

namic indicator (i.e., not a time scale) is


proposed: tidally averaged diffusion coef-

Andrea Defina

ficient which measures the intensity, av-

Figure 1: diffusive processes affecting six spots released in the Southern part of the Vallona lagoon.

t= 0 hours

t= 12 hours

t= 24 hours

t= 72 hours


eraged over a tidal period, of dispersion

The spots placed close to the mainland

processes, hence the mixing efficiency

along the Southern edge of the lagoon

of lagoon and seawaters. This indica-

(spots 1 and 2), experience relatively small

tor can profitably be used in conjunction

displacements and a very weak diffu-

with some time scales, such as residence

sion: actually, these spots remain densely

time, to provide information on the state

packed and their expansion, if compared

of a tidal basin and on the effectiveness

with that of the other spots (in particular

of engineering works aimed at promoting

with spots 4 and 6) can be considered

lagoon-sea water exchange.The evalua-

negligible. Intermediate diffusion char-

tion of the tidally averaged diffusion coef-

acterizes spot 5 which, despite being re-

ficient uses a Lagrangian particle tracking

leased in a sheltered area, is affected by

model coupled with a two-dimensional

the current induced by the tide along the

hydrodynamic model. With these models

artificial channel that cut the Santa Mar-

it is possible to reconstruct the transport

gherita peninsula. The study analyzed the

and diffusion processes of clusters of

diffusive behavior of 550 spots, uniformly

particles, referred to as small spots, of a

distributed within the lagoon and placed

conservative tracer over a series of tidal

at four different moments during the tidal

cycles and, therefore, to assess the tidally

cycle, each delayed by 3 hours. The tidally

averaged diffusion coefficient for each

averaged diffusion coefficient was com-

“spot�, i.e., for each point where the spot

puted for each spot, i.e., for each initial

was released.

position of the spots, and for each instant of release; then it was averaged over the

Particles are transported by the aver-

four moments of release. Once the mean

age velocity provided by the hydrody-

diffusion coefficient was estimated for a

namic model and by a random fluctuating

large number of points within the lagoon,

velocity whose intensity is related to the

the map of Figure 2, showing the spatial

local and instantaneous diffusion coef-

distribution of the tidally averaged diffu-

ficient; the latter is assumed to be equal

sion coefficient, was reconstructed by in-

to the eddy viscosity which is provided


by the hydrodynamic model. A number of spots are released at different places

The results of this study confirm, even

within the lagoon, each spot being com-

if only qualitatively, the capability of this

posed by a large number of particles; the

parameter in identifying critical condi-

trajectories of all particles of each spot

tions with reference to the problem of

are then reconstructed and the statistical

water renewal (in the present case, very

analysis of particles displacement over a

small tidally averaged diffusion coeffi-

tidal cycle enables the estimation of the

cient is computed for the Southern area

tidally averaged diffusion coefficient. This

of the Vallona lagoon which is known to

modeling procedure was applied to the

suffer low water quality). The next step

Vallona lagoon as a case study. the Vallo-

is to determine, quantitatively, the effec-

na lagoon, is one of the micro-tidal lagoon

tiveness of this parameter through the

systems in the Po River Delta, intensively

estimation of any link between the tidally

used for fishery activities. An example of

averaged diffusion coefficient and some

the modeling results is given in Figure 1

bio-chemical water quality indicators (e.g.,

where the different diffusion experienced

Chlorophyll a, dissolved oxygen, dissolved

by 6 spots released in the Southern part

inorganic nitrogen), recorded in different

of the Vallona lagoon is shown.

lagoons of the upper Adriatic in particular.


Figure 2: spatial distribution of the logarithm of the tidally averaged diffusion coefficient, D (m2/s) for the Vallona lagoon.

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Thesis Review



Graduate: STEFANIA GIRARDI Doctor of Planning and Policies for the Environment - Università IUAV di Venezia

The thesis addresses the issue of salt

The phenomenon of saltwater in-

intrusion and consequences associated

trusion is particularly pertinent to the

with future climate change in a high risk

Po Delta due to the negative effects it

area such as the Po delta via a systemat-

causes in both natural and manmade

ic and multifunctional approach, compar-

areas. The will to study the issue and

ing some similar situations in Europe and

to understand whether it is possible to

identifying specific directions in choos-

address the problem with an approach

ing coherent integrated defense meas-

that is different from that of the past has

ures, including adapting parameters and

led to the writing of a thesis that poses

technical defense interventions. The con-

a fundamental question: should saline

sideration of defense as a single conser-

intrusion only be seen as a problem for

vation act in the current state must be

the Delta, or could it be seen as an op-

overcome with new integrated planning

portunity instead? So far a defensive ap-

and design approaches also including the

proach to the phenomenon has prevailed

parameter of adaptation to the natural

through the insertion of anti-salt barriers

instability of the most vulnerable areas

in the estuarine areas. These structures

in policies and projects, while initiating

are expensive both in terms of construc-

new territorial management experienc-

tion and maintenance, and are not fully

es based on more flexible and dynamic


models. One of the objectives of this thesis The thesis was awarded the Premio Spe-

is therefore to establish if this is to be

ciale per la Salvaguardia del Territorio

the main tool, or whether it should only

at the ‘13° Premio Ecologia Laura Conti

be one of a range of proposals to be

– ICU 2012’ together with a scholarship

used synergistically against saline in-

for the thesis competition on Sustainable

gress phenomenon. Today, partly due to

Development promoted by the Associazi-

gradual changes resulting from climate

one Gabriele Bortolozzo.

change, an intervention with a different

Pippo Gianoni

approach to that which exclusively counters ingress, and one that aims at adapting to the phenomenon is indispensable. The idea, however, is not to intervene only in this sense, but through the integration of different policies that can be more effective, given this phenomenon’s close connection to other fields such as climate change, subsidence, anthropogenic interventions etc. The complexity of the delta, due to its contemporary characteristics of dynamicity and instability, should be also taken into account in adaption solutions both on a planning or single project level. The area under consideration is that of the delta polesano, for which it was decided to use the NATREG1 area as a


point of reference, so that the proposals

nomenon of saline ingress, the main risks

presented are for the most part applica-

to the delta and applicable solutions. This

ble within the territory, and at the same

tool is aimed at both public and private

time can serve as an example for simi-

administrators in order to promote wide-

lar contexts. The thesis was developed

spread awareness.

through the analysis of issues relating to salt intrusion, followed by a description

The proposals made in the fact sheet

of the delta and existing works or those

refer to various themes, highlighting the

still under construction, to limit the phe-

existence of a wide range of possibilities

nomenon analyzed. It goes on to discuss

that allow one to act on several fronts, all

methods used in other areas, particu-

the while contributing to achieving the

larly in the Netherlands and Spain, which

same objective. In order to define and get

are considered key examples in the im-

a better understanding of some issues,

plementation of appropriate measures

existing projects in progress in relation

to reduce the phenomenon within the

to various areas were considered in addi-

analyzed territory. Finally the thesis pro-

tion to innovative proposals. Among the

posal, in which all indications concerning

more important proposals, the need to

the adaptation to salt intrusion in the Po

apply ‘Continuous protocol ‘ in a practical

Delta are looked into, is described.

way and for the effective control of the waters of the Po basin by higher-level au-

The achieving of the objectives of the

thorities3, was evident. The conversion of

thesis can be carried out along three

vegetation into crops that consume less

main lines, starting from the develop-

water and are able to withstand higher

ment of the major risks threatening the

levels of salinity as well as the realization

delta: subsidence, salinization and land-

of multifunctional basins throughout the

slides. The risk of subsidence was taken

territory is also encouraged. Further pro-

into consideration first and was then cor-

posals both structural and not, relating

related to the risk of salinization . This

to various themes have been associated

was followed by the preparation of a map

with the aforementioned fact sheet.


of areas susceptible to salinity, taking the delta habitats and land-use into consider-

The definitive guidelines will be inte-

ation. The intersection of these different

grated with existing projects, such as sa-

maps led to the creation of a map of ar-

line barriers, bearing in mind that these

eas potentially at risk of salinization that,

works could be part of a more compre-

associated with the hydrogeological risk

hensive proposal, incorporating solutions

map and three different climate change

of different types, and also having an im-

scenarios, led to the identification of po-

pact on the development of the territory.

tential risk areas in the Delta del Po.

The decision not to consider a single area for the application for the various pro-

An adaptation map was created from

posals is based on the need to deal with

the processed data obtained, which in-

an environmental phenomenon as com-

cluded actions aimed not only at adapta-

plex as salt intrusion on several fronts.

tion and saline ingress but also at climate change (such actions can be seen in

The multifunctionality of some of the

Figure 1). The proposals outlined on the

proposed solutions, but above all the

map were also included in a fact sheet,

variety of themes, is aimed at covering

designed to raise awareness of the phe-

as many geographical areas as possible


The “Managing NATural Assets and Protected Areas as Sustainable REGional Development Opportunities” project aims to promote the inter-regional sustainable development of the area through the natural resources and protected areas’ given potential. 1

Constructed using innovative methods due to the lack of data. 2

The proposal takes the realization of the Autorità di Bacino del fiume Po’s ‘ Piano del Bilancio Idrico’ into account. 3

The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Thesis Review

Master’s degree course in Planning and policies for the Environment - Thesis - Academic Year 2010 Supervisor: Giuseppe Gianoni Co-supervisor: Francesco Musco Co-supervisor: Lino Tosini Candidate: Stefania Girardi girardiste@gm



KEY: Study area boundary Source: IUAV di Venezia

Constructed area Source: ADBPO

Medium priority saltwater intrusion for the management of stored freshwater release Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

High priority saltwater intrusion for the management of stored freshwater release Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Sandbar protection and nourishment

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Pianura di Ferrara data

Estuary maintenance in mixed area Salt/freshwater estuary maintenance Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Creation of a structured ecological sea habitat of salt/freshwater

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Pianura di Ferrara data

Priority for urban coastal areas

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Medium priority for coastal urban areas

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

First defense embankment reinforcement

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Riverbank systemization

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Pianura di Ferrara data

Priority towards drainage/promiscuous network

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Pianura di Ferrara data

Conservation and enlargement of holms Source: Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po

Conservation of existing water reservoirs and the connection thereof to the proposed ecological network Source: IUAV di Venezia supplied by Provincia di Rovigo and Provincia di Ferrara

Creation of water reservoirs

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Conservation of existing phytoremediation reservoirs and the connection thereof to the proposed ecological network Source: personal elaboration of C. di Bonifica Delta del Po Creation of phytoremediation reservoirs Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Provincia di Ferrara data

Lagoon vivification interventions in collaboration with the economic activities, based on existing projects Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Provincia di Ferrara data

Protection of the lagoon environments

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Provincia di Ferrara data

Maintenance of existing shrub, herbaceous and poplar vegetation areas Source: personal elaboration of Provincia di Rovigo e Ferrara data

Conversion to less water dependant cultivations with existing ecological depressed environments and widespread interventions in the territory Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Consorzio di Bonifica Pianura di Ferrara data

Conversion to rice crops

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po and Consorzio Bonifica Pianura di Ferrara data

Conversion to vegetable crops

Source: Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po

Creazione da(embanked pesca Fonte:fishing elaborazilagoons) one personale su dati del C. Bonifica Creation of vallididavalli pesca

Deltpersonal a del Po eelaC.borati BoniofincaofPiConsorzi anura dioFerrara Source: di Bonifica Delta del Po and Consorzio Bonifica Pianura di Ferrara data

Maintenance of existing woodland and connection to the proposed ecological network Source: personal elaboration of IUAV di Venezia data supplied by the Provincia di Ferrara Valorization of natural asset areas Source: personal elaboration of Provincia di Rovigo and Provincia di Ferrara data

Implementation and structuring of the natural network with valorization of existing environments Source: personal elaboration of LIDAR survey <> Creation of biotipe and marsh environment along the lagoon bank to stop salinity Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

Drinking water checkpoints

Source: personal elaboration of Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po data

SALTWATER INTRUSION IN THE PO DELTA: PROBLEM OR OPPORTUNITY FOR THE DELTA? Modification proposals for an inter-regional area



The Po Delta Lagoons

October 2013 Thesis Review

and is therefore a problem that has no

from different sources corresponding to

limits. Furthermore, the proposals cover

the inter-regional scope examined. Given

both the basin as well as the local area,

the scarcity of studies relating to salinity

in order to consider affecting factors up-

in the delta area in question, the need

stream of the delta and areas in which

for coordinated monitoring between dif-

the phenomenon occurs. In the end, cer-

ferent regions in relation to this theme

tain existing plans that could be useful in

should therefore highlighted. Among the

improving the area but lacking in aspects

results, it should also be noted how the

related to saltwater ingress, were consid-

theme of salt ingress provokes predomi-

ered in order to delineate the possible

nantly negative effects in different areas,

points of intervention and integration.

however it must be pointed out that this

One refers in particular to the Piano Ter-

phenomenon could also be the agent for

ritoriale di Coordinamento provinciale di

new planning stimuli capable of increas-

Rovigo, the Piano di Gestione della ZPS

ing the development of the territory and

IT3270023 Delta del Po and the Piano di

at the same time achieving effective

Gestione dell’area pilota nell’ambito del

results regarding other problems. This

progetto NATREG.

theme should therefore be seen as an improvement opportunity for the delta

The aim of the thesis is to study an en-

from various points of view, which at the

vironmental issue that affects the territo-

same time will allow for ecological, eco-

ry and water, which in turn affects human

nomic and social development.

life. The careful analysis of this process should allow for more observant planning in order to solve certain problems

‘It is possible to build a new delta one step at a time.’

from the outset. It is necessary therefore to emphasize the need to ensure greater cohesion in the management of the territory. The will to make proposals that are useful to the area without constraints arising from administrative or bureaucratic limitations has made it possible to stretch out and to allow for an overall proposal that is not only different but also in-depth and innovative. In conclusion, the thesis subject matter is of great importance in that it would enable the territory to better address the problems caused by climate change, and the application of a different management approach would not only enable greater productivity and improve relationships with the agricultural and fishing sectors, but would also increase biodiversity. The thesis has therefore enabled us to better our knowledge about salinization in the territory and bring together data



Editor: Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po

By the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po

via Pordenone, 6 - 45019 Taglio di Po (Rovigo)

October 2013

Tel. 0426 349711 - Fax 0426 346137 Commissione Tecnico-Scientifica e di sovrintendenza dell’attività nelle lagune del Delta del Po: Prof. Luigi D’Alpaos, Università di Padova Prof. Francesco Donati, Professor of Agricultural Policies and Economies Prof. Pierfrancesco Ghetti, Università Ca‘ Foscari di Venezia Prof. Pippo Gianoni, Università IUAV di Venezia Prof. Remigio Rossi, Università di Ferrara Ing. Lino Tosini, Director of the Fondazione Ca’ Vendramin Ing. Giancarlo Mantovani, Director of the Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po Production of the edition and project series: Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po Editing: Giancarlo Mantovani, Maria Saccon, Michela Casagrande Graphic design and layout: Dasler comunicazione Project coordination: Tepco S.r.l. Translations: Stephen Trollip, with contribution by Andrea Defina pages 90-91. Contributing editors: Alberto Agnetti, Andrea Bonometto, Lorenzo Bonometto, Maurizio Conte, Francesco Donati, Elena Fabbro, Fabrizio Ferro, Pippo Gianoni, Giancarlo Mantovani, Bruno Matticchio, Silvano Pecora, Angelo Rubino, Italo Saccardo, Massimo Sarti, Tommaso Settin, Alice Sgarabottolo, Lino Tosini, Pietro Traverso, Davide Zanchettin, Marco Zasso Photographs: Andrea Bonometto, Lorenzo Bonometto, Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po, Francesco Donati, Fondazione Ca' Vendramin, ENEL, Pippo Gianoni, Bruno Matticchio,; autore: Makz

© 2013 Consorzio di Bonifica Delta del Po. All right reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, without permission in writing from the publisher. Every effort has been made for contacting the copyright holders concerning the material included in this volume. For the cases where it has not been possible, we ask you to please contact the publisher.


The Po Delta Lagoons


October 2013

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