Fourth National Conference on River Restoration

The fourth national conference on river restoration was held in Bologna from 22 to 26 October 2018

Organized by CIRF, the Emilia-Romagna Region and the Central Emilia Reclamation Consortium as part of the networking activities of the European project LIFE + RINASCE (LIFE13 ENV / IT / 000169), the conference "Between climate change and soil consumption: the river restoration for a new balance of the territory", was conceived as a real "week of river restoration"and articulated in different training moments, workshops, thematic sessions and field trips.


The event registered a wide participation, involving public bodies, professionals in the sector, the world of scientific research, associations and economic operators, for over 250 overall presences, in a wide comparison on some of the most important issues in Italy and abroad, giving space to the most significant experiences realized in Italy and in Europe for the improvement of the ecological status of water courses and, more generally, for the sustainability of hydraulic risk prevention policies.


This page therefore aims to provide a summary of the conference and will be progressively enriched with useful materials for those interested in learning more about the topics covered.


The first day: an introduction to the restoration of rivers and canals

The works opened on Monday 22 October, with the morning dedicated to an introduction to the themes of the conference, through a short course on river restoration.

Completed by the CIRF in its entirety, it was divided into successive thematic studies: 

  • Elements of river ecology
  • Ecological flows, methods, approaches and criticalities
  • Integrated interventions: how to integrate risk reduction floods and river redevelopment
  • River redevelopment and ordinary management of watercourses: vegetation maintenance
  • The monitoring of watercourses and river requalification interventions as tools to support management and planning


Each phase was followed by a brief and participated moment of exchange of experiences, with great interest from the audience of one hundred technicians agreed.

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The afternoon was dedicated to the national seminar on integrated management of watercourses in reclamation consortia, an event organized in close collaboration with ANBI Emilia-Romagna, and expressly addressed to technicians and administrators of the Consortia.

This event was articulated in the form of short introductory interventions and subsequent round tables dedicated to the deepening of some key themes for the reclamation network, typical of many lowland areas in Italy:

  • Canal restoration, natural capital and hydraulic risk management
  • Water quality
  • Ecosystem services


This event was also very followed, with the participation of over a hundred people including technicians, administrators and stakeholders.

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The two days of the conference

The real conference took place on October 23rd and 24th, with an intense program of oral and poster presentations divided into the following sessions:

  • River restoration practices in Italy
  • From the mitigation of the impacts to the integration of the objectives
  • Naturalistic requalification for the integrated management of the artificial drainage network
  • Because it is necessary to improve the functionality of river ecosystems
  • Monitoring to support river restoration
  • International session dedicated to experiences in Europe


The morning of the first day of the conference included a speech by Luca Mercalli dedicated to the topic of climate change in relation to the management of watercourses.

At the end of the session the winners of the two prizes established by the CIRF were awarded: the Italian Prize for the best river restoration intervention (1st edition), and the Italian Prize for the best degree and doctorate thesis on river restoration (2nd edition).


The work was then resumed in the afternoon with numerous presentations of experiences in the national field of impact mitigation interventions and integration of objectives, then with a specific session dedicated to the redevelopment of the reclamation grid organized by the LIFE RINASCE Project.


On October 24, the morning was dedicated to the experiences of evaluating ecosystem services and monitoring the redevelopment interventions. The session ended with the presentation of the book "Fiumi d’Italia", created by AFNI (Association of Italian naturalist photographers), host of the conference.


The lunch break was also a moment of confrontation and exchange, obtained thanks to the organization of an "aperitif word" articulated around thematic discussion tables.


The afternoon of October 24 was instead devoted to some European case studies of river redevelopment significant for the Italian reality, as well as to the first results of the international project HyMoCARES, of which CIRF is a partner.


The conference had strong support, with around 250 participants on both days.

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The two-day field trip

The last two days of the event were also very popular, dedicated to study trips with a visit to the river redevelopment interventions carried out both on the natural and artificial reclamation network: on Thursday 25 October the visit along the Montone Rabbi, Ronco and Rio Vecchiazzano in Forlì rivers took place (with about 150 people including technicians, researchers and students), and on Friday 26 October a visit was held on the canals of the LIFE RINASCE Project along the Diversivo Fossa Nuova Cavata and Cavata Orientale in Carpi (MO) and along the Collector Alfiere in Gualtieri (RE), to which over 50 participants have joined.

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