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Initial grants for the Ecophyto 2018 plan awarded
The Ecophyto 2018 plan targets a 50% reduction in the use of pesticides by 2018 and the removal from the market of products containing 53 of the most dangerous substances. It is financed in part by excess income from diffuse-pollution fees paid by distributors of phytosanitary products to the Water agencies. The excess income was assigned to Onema by the 2009 budget law and amounted to 14.3 M€ in 2009. Eight types of project are eligible for grants, including evaluation of progress made in reducing pesticide use, reduced and safer use of phytopharmaceutical products in agricultural zones, training and strengthening of monitoring networks for bio-aggressors. On 15 November, the Onema board of directors awarded the first grants for the year 2009, for a total of 9.36 M€.

http://agriculture.gouv.fr/sections/magazine/focus/phyto-2018-plan-pour/#planECOPHYTO2018

Contact: bruno.canus@onema.fr

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Research projects on eels in the Rhine river
  Two studies were launched in November to better understand the downstream migration of silver eels in the Rhine and old Rhine rivers and the grand canal in Alsace, and to assess their mortality in hydroelectric installations. For the first study, some 300 eels will be equipped with transponders to learn more on the dynamics of the downstream migration and the distribution of the eels between the migratory routes. They will be detected by antennas positioned in the bed of each route. The second study will attempt to quantify eel mortality in hydroelectric turbines. These studies are part of the national R&D programme set up by the framework agreement signed in 2008 between Onema and the hydroelectric companies.

Contact: sebastien.manne@onema.fr

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A water mediator for consumers
On 27 October, a water mediation service was created by the professional federation of water companies (Fp2E) and the associations of elected officials to assist in solving disputes between consumers and private companies in charge of managing water and sanitation services. It is governed by a board of directors made up of two members from each association of elected officials, the director of the Water and biodiversity department of the Ecology ministry, the Onema general director, and representatives of consumer associations and the water companies. The board is chaired by the mediator, Marc Censi, the founding president of the Assemblée des communautés de France. An annual report will provide elected officials with statistics on complaints and serve to improve the contractual relations between local governments and the companies entrusted with management of water services.

Contact: sylvain.rotillon@onema.fr

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National steering committee set up for the national plan on medical residues in water
On 23 November, the Health and Ecology ministers set up the national steering committee to prepare and monitor the future national plan for medical residues in water. The committee comprises representatives from the health professions, national research and science-advice organisations, environmental, consumer and user associations, the pharmaceutical industry, learned societies, elected officials and State services. The committee will meet regularly to report on progress and propose any necessary adaptations. Onema plays an important role in this work and has published a summary document on "needs and tools for monitoring and risk evaluation".
Contact: pierre-francois.staub@onema.fr

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Seminar in Oloron-Sainte-Marie on the Atlantic salmon
On 21/22 October in Oloron-Sainte-Marie (Pyrénées-atlantiques department), Onema and the Adour-Garonne Water agency, the Adour institution and the Pyrénées-atlantiques departmental council organised a seminar on salmon management to discuss the many experimental and operational efforts already undertaken to protect salmon habitats and restore stocks. The seminar brought together 150 people from local governments, research organisations, associations to protect the environment and diadromous fish, fishing organisations, hydroelectric companies, fish farms and engineering firms.
Contact: benedicte.valadou@onema.fr

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Mesocosms, potential tools for management of aquatic environments
Mesocosms are experimental platforms that reproduce aquatic ecosystems in a reduced format and serve primarily for the mandatory assessments on the ecotoxicological risks of pesticides. Last October, Inra and Onema, with Total and Ineris, organised a seminar to evaluate mesocosms. One conclusion was that managers of aquatic environments could use mesocosms to a greater degree, in conjunction with more habitual approaches, to formulate more robust environmental quality standards, assess the environmental risks raised by substances having long-term toxic effects and develop monitoring tools. The need to create networks between the existing platforms was also expressed.

Contact: olivier.perceval@onema.fr

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Scientists question the notion of good ecological status
Following a suggestion by its scientific council, Onema organised a work session during the international congress held in Paris on 1 to 4 December, where 250 international experts on ecological engineering discussed the latest advances and innovations in the field of environmental restoration and quality maintenance. The session organised by Onema dealt with the notion of "good ecological status". Based on detailed presentations on the progress in intercalibration, the operation of river basins and changes in social practices and their effects on implementation of programmes of measures, the goal was to study more dynamic forms of evaluation of environmental operation, taking into account the capacity of environments to adapt, and to determine possible improvements for better integration of involvement by local populations and of the human factor in general.

Contact: marie-perrine.durot@onema.fr

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New RBMPs effective as of 22 December 2009
On 27 November, the Rhin-Meuse basin committee approved its RBMP (river-basin management plan) in the presence of Chantal Jouanno, junior minister for ecology. The vote was part of the overall approval procedure for RBMPs and programmes of measures by the 12 basin committees. The procedure was launched on 7 July in Corsica and terminated on 10 December in Mayotte. The minister praised the seven years of work put into preparing the RBMPs that manifest the ambitious goal for France to achieve good ecological status in at least two-thirds of its water bodies by 2015. She also noted the exemplary discussions with all stakeholders in the water field, saying "The basin committees are local parliaments for water matters. In a process prefiguring the Grenelle agreements, you have succeeded in producing consensus," she declared during the closing remarks for the Rhin-Meuse basin committee. The RBMPs and programmes of measures entered into force on 22 December 2009.

www.lesagencesdeleau.fr

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