Green Infrastructure Case Study Template

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1 Green Infrastructure Case Study Template The aim of the exercise is to provide information on how the elements of the Green Infrastructure Strategy are implemented at national level and to provide case studies on Green Infrastructure projects. The case studies will be demonstrated in a brochure, which will provide decision-makers, spatial planners, NGOs and other stakeholders with information on Green Infrastructure projects development and implementation. Country: Romania Person filling in: Peicea Daniela Manager project Affiliate organisation (if applicable): Giurgiu County Council Date: Brief description of the case (4-5 lines) Ecological restoration of habitats and the reinforcement of species population; Setting up of the monitoring systems for the Natura 2000 sites and protected areas, including infrastructure and equipment Detailed description of the case a. Type of Green Infrastructure (GI) element (see list here): Local nature reserves, water protection areas, landscape protection areas, Natura 2000 sites b. Location, expansion, type (urban or rural) and protection status of the sites (e.g. Natura 2000, Ramsar, other protected area, urban area, etc.): Comana wetlands, in Giurgiu County, Romania are part of the Natural Park Comana, included in the ecological network Natura 2000 (ROSPA0022 and ROSCI0043) and listed among the Ramsar Sites (no. 2004). c. Actions carried out to designate, construct, manage and maintain the Green Infrastructure element: The area is characterised by many important natural habitats and endemic species and it is visited by migratory birds. Approximately two thirds of Romania s bird species can be found in the Comana pond. The area is characterised by a richly structured landscape, including reed, lakes, oak forests, fish farms. It is the third most important wetland of Romania. Before 1990 the area has been subjected to drainage of land for agriculture, which has reduced wet areas by three fourths and has had a negative impact on biodiversity. Comana wetlands were restored between 2009 and 2011, in order to improve biodiversity and ensure conservation of natural habits and wild species of flora and fauna. The area covered by the restoration project was 1,180 ha. The funded measures are the following: - Ecological restoration of habitats and reinforcement of species population, through: 1) construction of a dam with sluice on Neajlov River, downstream of Comana Lake, in order to increase the river depth by more than 1.50m, extending the water surface to 490 ha and maintaining the shallow

2 water area below half a meter; 2) construction of a fish scale downstream of the dam to avoid aquatic habitat fragmentation and disruption of the migration route of some fish species. - Setting up monitoring systems for the Natura 2000 sites and protected areas, including infrastructure and equipment for monitoring the natural habitats and the conservation status of flora and fauna species. - Construction and improvement of the infrastructure of the national protected areas and Natura 2000 sites (building four ornithological observatories for bird lovers, building of visitors and information centres and of information panels,, risk management/ fire prevention and control etc.). - Preparation of information and publicity materials, awareness raising regarding the issues of protected areas and Natura The project is the first wetland restoration and the first example of green infrastructure development in the region. d. Importance for biodiversity conservation (ecosystems connected, type of species benefitting, ecosystem services' enhancement, etc.): As mentioned above the wetland restoration by increasing the water surface has created proper conditions and attracted many species of birds in the area. Initially there were 157 species, and after project implementation were inventoried 212 species, of which 78 species protected at national and European level. Also increased population size of species. Moreover, for fish populations and their invertebrate prey, the new conditions such as oxygen concentrations, changing water levels and their daily fluctuations have improved the quality of habitats and species richness. The benefits of the project are relevant for nature protection and biodiversity conservation, but also for the promotion of the concepts of protection and conservation of the natural heritage. e. Short term (up to three years) environmental and social benefits of the GI element and its effects (see lists of benefits here) please quantify if possible: From an environmental perspective the wetland has been recovered, attracting a wider variety of birds. The construction of a dam on the Neajlov River, downstream of Comana Lake, with the purpose to increase and maintain a constant level of water in the floodplain area, has positive effects on avifauna, effects which will prevail on the long term, because the increasing of water level led to de-silting of the pool and as well as increasing the water surface. New feeding sites for birds species of ducks and herons in the area previously occupied by reeds have been established and the nesting places for birds were been maintained. It is estimated that the habitat for bird species was improved on the surface of minimum 30% of initial surface of Comana wetland and the number of birds increased by at least 5%. Moreover, the project represents a pilot in the region being the only action which implies the implementation of the first monitoring system of environmental parameters and bird species in the region and has a diversity of activities as implement of innovative green infrastructure for the area, monitoring the bird species and environmental parameters, raising the awareness for the local communities, young generation, tourists, local authorities and NGOs. Some temporary new jobs (20) have been created during the construction of the dam. More permanent economic benefits can be expected from establishing the area as an outstanding territory for ecological research in cooperation with scientific institutions in the nearby capital Bucharest and other cities. Ecological reconstruction of Comana wetlands recently attracted many tourists, especially during weekends. Thus the area began to develop leading to economic benefits. f. Long term environmental and social benefits of the GI element and its effects (see lists of benefits here) please quantify if possible: 1. Tourism and recreation visitors to protected sites per year; users for camping, nature walks, jogging, water sports, cycling per year 2. Education 500 educational excursions per year

3 3. Conservation benefits - existence value of habitat, species and genetic diversity g. Sources of financing: Sectorial Operational Programme Environment , under European Regional Development Fund. Priority Axis 4 Implementation of Adequate Management Systems for Nature Protection. Key Area of Intervention: Development of Infrastructure and Management Plans to Protect Biodiversity and Natura h. Duration of financing and implementation: i. Actions specifically financed: All activities: Construction of a pavilion for information and monitoring Implementation of a small dam to achieve a permanent retention rate of mmb at Comana pond Specific facilities for lake-side activities, such as walkways, bridges and signal indicators Developing a network of ornithological observatories Monitoring system of wild birds and environmental factors Consultation activities, awareness and information j. Main stakeholders involved: The project developer was the Giurgiu County Council, in Romania, in partnership with Comana Local Council and Administration of Comana Natural Park. The project has the support of local public authorities and business people who have invested in the area. Also the County Council Giurgiu has a good collaboration with Local Environmental Protection Agency and land users from the area of Comana wetland restoration area. k. Legal and policy background (national, local, etc. acts, law and policies influencing the specific case): The project was included in the Management Plan and Visit Strategy of the protected area. Also, conservation of natural heritage, biodiversity and nature conservation is one of the priorities of the Giurgiu County Development Strategy. In addition, the project is in line with the Region Development Strategy. General information on Green Infrastructure implementation on the national level a) Is habitat connectivity regarded as a major issue in national/regional/local conservation? If yes, can you list already existing tools on the ground that helped implementation (e.g. ecological corridors designated and managed)? No, it s not a major issue in national conservation. b) Are Green Infrastructure projects general practices to connect ecosystems and solve fragmentation problems in your country? Yes, it is. c) What are the most commonly implemented Green Infrastructure projects? The most commonly implemented project are for monitoring the habitats and species and for ecological

4 reconstruction d) Are projects planned and linked spatially? e) Who is responsible for implementation? The Giurgiu County Council, Giurgiu County, Romania. f) Do authorities have sufficient capacities to carry out monitoring, data collection and additional work? g) Can you list some issues, which in your view are important to be tackled by Green Infrastructure projects at any level, but generally and currently overlooked? For Giurgiu County the real problem is M gura forest which was proposed to be the reservation in Comana Nature Park. M gura forest is part of vestiges Vl siei forests and is in an advanced state of degradation due to forest pests (Limantria dispar). h) Is the concept of Green Infrastructure known and accepted as delivering multiple benefits among relevant stakeholders (e.g. spatial planners, local authorities, conservation and environmental authorities, project developers, NGOs)? If no, please list the main reasons. Legal background a) Is there suitable enabling legislation at national, regional and local level to develop Green Infrastructure projects? If yes, please list. Yes, the principal legislation is Government Emergency Ordinance no. 57/2007 on protected natural areas, natural habitats, wild flora and fauna, approved with amendments and completions by Law no. 49/2011 and Order no. 19/2010 approving the Methodological Guide for proper assessment of the potential effects of plans or projects on protected natural areas of community b) Are there specific regulations or laws that really hinder GI designation and implementation? No. c) During new project development, are connectivity problems taken into account? Green Infrastructure projects are compulsory to be implemented, e.g. during new motorway, dam, etc. construction? Financing

5 a) Which are the main funding sources? Sectorial Operational Programme Environment , under European Regional Development Fund and Governmental budget. b) Which activities/projects are most likely to get financial support? Monitoring the habitats and species and also green energy. c) Is Green Infrastructure project funding regarded as one of the issues directly referred to in national operational programs or does the government/ministry regard it as a priority within conservation/climate change mitigation and adaptation measures? Yes, it is. d) Are there any examples of business or private stakeholders to develop Green Infrastructure projects? Monitoring and capacities a) Are there any data collected or monitoring for successful implementation? b) What are the data sources? Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, the Comana Natural Park, National Institute for Biology and Romanian Ornithological Society. c) Were there sufficient data to set baseline and quantifiable targets? Recommendations d) How do you think the concept of Green Infrastructure could be more streamlined into decision-making? Clear definition of the different directions in which we can work towards that ultimate goal of reducing environmental impact. e) Would standards help GI implementation (e.g. green roofs, green bridges, integrated planning procedures)? f) Which stakeholders are missing mostly? Why? Local government because of insufficient funds g) How do you think the concept of Green Infrastructure and its benefits should be

6 communicated better to various stakeholders? Organizing public debates of awareness. h) Please list at least three recommendations on how funding should be improved. Developing partnerships with local economic agents in order to carry out environmental projects in which they will be directly interested (either for advertising or for social responsibility, etc.) Attracting European funds directed to the maintenance, protection, diversification and valuing of natural habitats Improving the skills of staff involved in projects i) Please list at least three recommendations on how stakeholder involvement should be improved. Mapping new responsibilities for all parties (fragmentation projects intended to be developed so that each party involved take responsibility for a portion of the project preferably the one that matches territory or meets interest of each party involved) Better coverage of the actions taken so that all parties involved and their actions taken are known Providing various facilities to those who develop projects that support environment (lower taxes, etc.) j) Please list any other recommendations in terms of how Green Infrastructure projects can be developed better and function more effectively. Developing partnerships with civil society representatives (NGOs) in order to develop a minimum five year enviromental protectian main theme strategy Establishment of an NGO whose members will be the County Council, Town Hall, an educational institution which have the role to develop projects for environmental protection Exchanges with local authorities that have successfully implemented environmental projects Please attach any related materials annexes (pictures, maps, websites, etc.): We attach pictures and maps More information: - - https://www.facebook.com/parculnaturalcomana The activity is financially supported by the European Commission.

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