Home - Mission - A Four Part Strategy



  • Toward a strategy of purchasing wetlands to improve conservation

    Wetlands constitute exceptional reservoirs of biodiversity at the interface between aquatic and land environments, and as such lie at the heart of the blue-corridor concept. They also protect against flooding and are a natural self-cleansing system. Their preservation and restoration are required to prevent deterioration in water quality and to meet the qualitative and quantitative goals set for water in the river-basin management plan for each hydrographic district. With the Water agencies and the Wetland centres, Onema is setting up the criteria to identify wetlands that could then be designated for priority purchases during a programme covering the years 2009-2015.

Restoring ecological continuity

On the national level, an initial set of guidelines on the protection and restoration of river continuity was presented to the Green and blue corridor committee for the Grenelle agreement.

Four main priorities were identified, namely:

1) inform local State services and representatives on the importance of enforcing regulations for species mobility in listed rivers,

2) encourage work in each basin on identifying rivers or river sections in which the mobility of fish is an absolute priority,

3) simplify the Water law to facilitate restoration work and,

4) define the operational conditions in view of removing dams targeted as priorities.

A strategy on how to select the priority zones requiring work to recreate ecological continuity was also proposed."On the basin level, Onema assists the Water agencies and the river-basin DIRENs in identifying biologically rich areas requiring protection, in preparing the revised river classifications and in preparing implementation of the programmes of measures", notes Alexis Delaunay, director of the Inspections and territorial action department at Onema.

Similarly, on the local level and particularly in drafting the sub-basin management plans, Onema works to raise awareness of the need to restore ecological continuity and to encourage the emergence of public management capabilities to carry out the projects. "Using the initial obstacle inventories, the engineers and technicians in the regional and local offices will contribute to raising awareness on the part of structure owners, local water commissions and river boards concerning the importance of modifying or removing obstacles to ecological continuity in order to restore or at least make significant progress toward good ecological status of water bodies".

The field technicians draw attention to applicable laws and provide information on possible technical solutions, financial assistance and on the design offices and companies with the necessary know-how for the job. These efforts have already resulted in the creation of passages and, in certain cases, in the removal of obstacles.

Finally, the changes in behaviour play an essential role in setting up the blue corridor. That is why Onema field technicians have reinforced their efforts to inspect structures and the maintenance of passages for migratory fish on rivers where ecological continuity is a priority.