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REST COAST, at the annual meeting in Groningen, demonstrates the effectiveness of natural restoration of aquatic systems

The standstill of the Nature Restoration Law, the European law on nature restoration, stalled in its final approval phase in the Council due to the hesitations of some Member States, has further motivated the researchers of the Horizon Rest Coast project, which took place these days, from April 15 to 19, 2024, in the town of Groningen in the Netherlands, concurrently with the twin project WaterLANDS. 

The Horizon Project, aiming at the large-scale restoration of coastal ecosystems through river-sea connectivity, of which MEDSEA is a partner, has reached halfway through its journey and reflects on the status of the work: several natural restoration solutions of ecosystems are being implemented. Research and solutions widely supported by the scientific community and which envisage planning beyond the project contingencies and the still incomplete regulatory framework. 

For each case study in the nine pilot sites, REST COAST is implementing a series of solutions, both in terms of restoration interventions, hydraulics, and governance, prioritizing Nature-based Solutions. 

Bruno Boz, environmental biologist for MEDSEA and expert in environmental rehabilitation at the 3rd REST COAST annual meeting, in Groningen

"NbS - nature-based solutions - start from the idea of ​​improving existing aquatic systems compared to their current state and future climate change scenarios," explains Bruno Boz, environmental biologist for MEDSEA and expert in environmental rehabilitation. "Each REST COAST case study implements a package of actions, considering both the present and how scenarios are evolving, seeking to adapt to ongoing climate changes." What strikes, in particular, is that "from the Catalan coast to the North Sea, from east to west of Europe, the problems are similar and require common solutions that all go in the direction of working with nature, thus recreating natural dynamics, such as the mudflats in the Venice Lagoon, restoring sediments to counter coastal erosion, combined with more specific interventions requiring hydraulic engineering, as we have seen in recent days in the Netherlands for the Wadden Sea site, passing through governance." 

This phase, in which the project has taken shape through the implementation of concrete actions that will be monitored and linked to previous paths and future trajectories. As in the case of "pantani" in Sicily, a complex of wetlands where the University of Catania is working on to expand the surface of wetlands in order to improve water storage capacity and support migratory birds, along with other hydraulic solutions that improve connectivity between sea and lagoons. 

"Research was already moving according to the provisions of the Nature Restoration Law, to provide an even more consistent scientific framework," concludes Boz. "With Rest Coast, we continue to work and plan on a large scale to provide evidence of the usefulness of these increasingly essential natural adaptation and restoration measures." 


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