The contribution of IdroLIFE to NATURA 2000 NETWORK

The general objective of IdroLIFE is to contribute to halt the loss of biodiversity of Community interest in the Alpine territory, with particular reference to Verbano Cusio Ossola and its network of Natura 2000 sites.

Specific objective is the conservation of indigenous fish species marble trout (Salmo marmoratus), pigo (Rutilus pigus), savetta (Chondrostoma soetta), bullhead (Cottus gobio), river dace (Leuciscus souffia) and crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), of Community interest (listed in Annex 2 of the Habitat Directive), threaten environmental degradation, climate change and invasive alien species.

Through the restoration of “blue corridors” in the Province of Verbano Cusio Ossola with the construction of fish passages, IdroLIFE aims at re-establishing connectivity from Lake Maggiore to the Natura 2000 sites SPA IT1140017 “Fiume Toce” and SAC IT1140006 “Greto Torrente Toce tra Domodossola e Villadossola “along the water corridor of the Toce River, which is one of the last rivers of the Po basin with a residual population of marble trout (both resident and migratory), and from Verbano to the SAC IT1140011″ Val Grande”, along the corridor of the San Bernardino stream, the main water connection between the lake and the national park.

IdroLIFE contributes to improving the conservation status of the marble trout population in the SPA IT1140017 ” Fiume Toce”, of the pigo and savetta populations in the SPA IT1140013 “Lago Mergozzo e Mont’Orfano”, of the bullhead and river dace populations in the SPA IT1140011 “Val Grande”, and of the autochtonous crayfish in the SAC IT1140011 Val Grande, through the activities of artificial reproduction, breeding and restocking, in addition to the creation of a fish-based support structure.

The final objective is sharing among partners and stakeholders and adopting a legislative framework for the conservation of target species at the provincial level, including Natura 2000 sites.

LIFE Programme

LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed more than 5400 projects. For the 2014-2020 funding period, LIFE will contribute approximately €3.4 billion to the protection of the environment and climate.

LIFE Programme includes the “ENVIRONMENT” sub-programme and its priority area “NATURE AND BIODIVERSITY”, within which falls IdroLIFE.

LIFE-NATURE has been set up specifically to implement the Birds Directive (2009/147/EC) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC), by financing projects aimed at improving the conservation status of habitats and species of Community interest listed in these directives within particular sites, such as SCI and SPA, that form Natura 2000 Network.

In 2015, LIFE-NATURA funded only 5 projects across Italy, including IdroLIFE, for a total of € 6,667,835.


Natura 2000 Network is the largest coordinated network of protected areas in the world, spread throughout the Community, and is the main instrument of protection of the European Unionbiodiversity.

The aim of the network is to ensure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats, listed under both the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive.

It consists of special areas called SCI and SPA. The SCI – Sites of Community Importance are born in the appliance of the Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC and are designed to protect biodiversity through specific management plans.

The SPA – Special Protection Areas are provided for and regulated by the EU directive 79/409 “Birds”, updated by Directive 2009/147/EEC, with the objective of conservation of wild birds, not only through the protection of populations but also protecting their natural habitats.

In Italy, the SCIs and SPAs together cover about 21% of the national territory.

More information concerning the Natura 2000 network can be found on the European site: