What we have already done

Action A.1 100%
Action A.2 100%
Action A.3 100%
Action C.1 100%
Action C.2 80%
Action C.3 80%
Action C.4 100%
Action C.5 80%
Action C.6 50%
Action D.1 80%
Action D.2 80%
Action D.3 25%
Action D.4 85%
Action D.5 80%
Action E.1 90%
Action E.2 90%
Action F.1 80%
Action F.2 80%
Action F.3 0%
Action F.4 0%

Artificial reproduction and breeding: actions C.1, C.2 and C.3

Expected results

Project target fish species are: marbled trout (Salmo marmoratus), bullhead (Cottus gobio), italian riffle dace (Telestes muticellus), pigo (Rutilus pigus) savetta (Chondrostoma soetta); to them is added the white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes complex). The protection of these species is the main objective of IdroLIFE. The first prerogative is to have a public structure that is functional to the production needs for repopulation, the second, no less important, is the production of wild animals that are able to effectively repopulate rivers.

Progress of the interventions

The local public ittiogenic structure, which is useful for the purposes of the project and to give continuity beyond the Life has been identified in the incubator owned by ISE-CNR, refurbishment and accommodation that made it efficient for the production of 60,000 juvenile specimens of marbled trout, 5,000 of pigo and savetta and 1,000 bullhead. The property is able to ensure indifferently the weaning of species that love cold or temperate waters, to independently produce the zooplankton necessary for feeding the larvae, as well as to host environmental education activities. Currently the incubator is home to several thousand juvenile specimens of pigo and savetta, produced with the artificial reproduction of captured subjects and then released again in the natural environment, and a small nucleus of scuffle players, already reproduced in captivity for the first time, recording the first successes of the breeding tests of this extraordinary species. As far as the italian riffle dace is concerned, it has already been the subject of an initial repopulation campaign carried out through the collection of stock of founding individuals from sites adjacent to the project area, from abundant and well-structured populations of the same basin, then released, after a period of temporary housing at the hatchery and after marking with PITtag (adults) or by fin clip (cutting of a fragment of fin), in environments of the Val Grande Park, previously inhabited by the species and results to date eligible to host it. Regarding the marbletrout, a first breeding and repopulation campaign will be performed in the coming winter.

From the beginning of the project until 2020 a total number of 60,000 marbled trout (mainly juvenile and about 150 adults and sub-adults) has been produced by the incubator owned by ISE-CNR and released in the SPA “Fiume Toce”. In addition, the number of 1,000 italian riffle dace, thus reaching the project target, and 850 specimens of bullhead was reached that were used to repopulate the waters of the SCI “Valgrande”. Of these last two species 500 italian riffle dace and about 100 bullheads were marked with PIT Tags.

Also, in 2020, 508 specimens of with-clawed crayfish were captured from valley bottom areas and released into areas of the SIC “Valgrande”, which were also subjected to genetic analysis which confirmed their belonging to the species Austropotamobius italicus, var. carithiacus.

In the context of Action C.3, important results have been achieved, in fact, overall since the start of the project, 5.050 specimens have been released in the SPA “Lake Mergozzo and Mont’Orfano between savetta and pigo.

Longitudinal connectivity restoration: action C.4

Expected results

With the IdroLIFE project about 45 km of River Toce upstream of the mouth in Lake Maggiore and 8.5 km of Torrente San Bernardino will be defragmented. Through the construction of new fish passages or the adaptation of pre-existing structures, five obstacles to fish migration (4 on Toce and 1 on the San Bernardino), due to the presence of artificial barrages, will be removed allowing again to move freely in the river.

Progress of the interventions

Currently changes to the fish passage on the T. San Bernardino have been completed, and on the same structure  an action of monitoring is ongoing in order to check the transit of fish by marking and recapture.

In January 2020, the construction site for the first fish passage on the Toce River, near Lake Tana, was opened, the first of four infrastructures to be built to facilitate the migration of fish species.

Today (January 2021) all the 5 interventions planned in the project have been completed. Below are the photos of the completed works.

Toce01 – Weir on River Toce at Migiandone Bridge – “Boulder bar” ramp beside the left bank

Toce02 – Diversion weir on River Toce in Prata – Adjustement of the existing fish pass, risizing of pools

Toce03 – Weir on River Toce at “Sei arcate” Bridge – Fixing of the existing fish ramp

Toce05 – Diversion dam of Lake Tana (ENEL) – Construction of an artificial fish pool pass

S.Bernardino01 – Weir on Stream San Bernardino in Verbania – Fixing of the existing fish pass

Control of invasive alien species in project sites: action C.5

Expected results

The action C.5  involves the control and eradication of invasive alien aquatic species. Target species include wels catfish (Silurus glanis), ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernuus), catfish (Ameiurus melas), crucian carp (Carassius spp.), exotic crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and other aquatic species.

Progress of the interventions

The containment activities, carried out in particular in the channel connecting Lake Mergozzo with Lake Maggiore and in the mouth of the Toce River, allowed to capture about 620 kg of exotic specimens, including 500 kg of catfish, the most abundant exotic species, about 40 kg of pumpkinseed and about 12 kg of roach. Also were captured 35 young wels catfish specimens, a species that is not yet very abundant but whose presence imposes a serious risk for the conservation of the entire native fish fauna.

Monitoring of the effectiveness of repopulation activities: the action D.2

Expected results

Action D2 involves monitoring the success of restocking activities in particular of: marble trout (Salmo marmoratus) in the SPA IT1140017 “Fiume Toce”, bullhead (Cottus gobio), italian riffle dace (Telestes muticellus) and with-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) in SCI IT1140011 “Valgrande” and on the San Bernardino Stream and the savetta (Chondrostoma soetta) and pigo (Rutilus pigus) in the SPA IT1140013 Lake Mergozzo and Mont’Orfano.

Progress of the interventions

Monitoring of the functionality and effectiveness of fish passages: the action D.3

Expected results

In the IdroLIFE Project through the construction of new fish passages or through the adaptation of pre-existing structures (4 on the Toce and 1 on the San Bernardino), the fauna will again be allowed to move freely in the Toce River and the San Bernardino Stream. The objective of action D.3 will be to monitor the functionality and effectiveness of the fish passages made through three different monitoring techniques: video monitoring, marking with PIT Tag and electrofishing.

Progress of the interventions

The marking of 1.000 adults or sub-adults (ideally marble trouts), living in the wild or released with restocking is in progress. Of this activity 10 marking campaigns in river Toce has already been done and 311 animals were marked with PIT Tag (marble trout, bullhead, Italian riffle dace, chub and other species); trouts (170 specimens) were also marked with Pan Jet (blue sign on the belly), in order to be easily recognized by anglers. Other marking campaigns are expected in the next weeks.

The Electrofishing campaign foreseen in order to verify the functionality of San Bernardino fish pass are in progress and a marking campaign has already been done in August 2019 and where 42 animals have been marked with PIT Tag and trouts with Pan Jet too. Another marking campaign is foreseen in Jan-Feb 2021 and the recapture campaigns are foreseen in March 2021

The video-monitoring beside the two fish passes at TOCE02 and TOCE05 is not active yet and it will start soon.