Aretè - Improving freshwater network

High urbanization and intensive agriculture are worryingly fragmenting natural habitats, not allowing species to move around in their environment. This is a widespread condition in different areas of the Po Valley, which undermines the delicate balance between nature and human activities. To stop the loss of habitats and enhance the benefits offered by water in rural areas between Piedmont and Lombardy, the project "ARETÈ: virtuous management of water resources for the increase of natural capital" kicks off, with actions of ecological redevelopment on an area that has the Ticino Valley as its fulcrum. The three-year project, co-funded by the Cariplo Foundation within the "Natural Capital 2018" call, is led by the Lombardo Valle del Ticino Park and counts on the expertise of a large group of partners.

First of all, the project envisages a general optimization of water circulation, which will allow a widespread increase in biodiversity and better water supply to farmers. Particular attention will be paid to those interventions that will combine complete ecological functionality with a better integration into the traditional landscape.

Actions will be declined according to the specific characteristics of the territory: wet areas will be created or recovered, wetlands will be increased, the realization of flower meadows will be promoted, as well as the redevelopment of large wooded areas.

Water is the backbone of the project as a primary resource that supports biodiversity and creates characteristic environments such as wetlands, springs, rotten forests, hygrophilous woods, as well as playing the role of "road network" for many wild species; the network of channels that characterize this part of Northern Italy is, as a matter of fact, fundamental to allow them move inside a very urbanized context characterized by barriers that are difficult to cross. Equally important is the agricultural and landscaping function: from the rice fields of Lomellina to the cultivated fields of Alto Milanese, the presence and proper management of water is essential to ensure the economic sustainability of local farms and the maintenance of the traditional landscape. For this reason, the project aims at implementing strategies for the efficient use of water, combating waste as much as possible and intervening on the functional, structural and ecological aspects of the water network.

Where: Ticino valley

Funded by: Fondazione Cariplo

Period: Running project

Contact point: Marina Trentin (