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Network of European Delta Regions - Sustainable Delta Governance (DeltaNet)
Start date: Feb 28, 2010, End date: Feb 27, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The delta and estuaries regions in Europe encounter similar characteristics, problems and opportunities as they have to deal with a very dynamic development of urbanisation, economic activities, infrastructure, natural and technological risks. The high spatial and economic demands are threatening a sustainable development and maintenance of the special character of Delta regions. These areas are often characterized by both very important ecological values (river basin and coastal zone), and concentrations of urban and economic activities. Regional policy measures are often inefficient and ineffective as an integrated and sustainable approach is often absent. That is why nine Delta areas throughout Europe decided to start a cooperation to exchange experiences and improve their regional policy instruments, methods and approaches.DeltaNet is a network of 9 European Deltas bringing together 9 partners from 7 EU Member States well spread over Europe:the delta areas of the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt (BE/NL), Ebre (ES), Tagus (PT), Danube (RO), Vistula (PL), Elbe (DE), Minho (ES/PT), Llobregat (ES) and Severn (UK). The Delta regions have been preparing this cooperation for 2.5 years as they are all struggling with a sustainable and integrated policy in these sensitive areas.The overall objective of DeltaNet is to improve the effectiveness of regional development policies in Delta Regions through interregional cooperation in the areas of environmental risk prevention, specifically through the development of appropriate coordinated spatial planning measures in geographically sensitive areas. Sub-objectives are to enable a(n):1. Better integrated Delta approach (a sustainable economic and ecologic use of port areas)2. Improved flood risk & sediment management.3. Improved environment (wetland restoration).4. Higher Delta awareness (public participation and communication to public).5. Better coordinated Delta policy 6. As a result of these, a sustainable network of Delta regions.For each of the above mentioned 5 topics there will be an expert workshop, a conference and a follow-up workshop. This will result in an overview of good practices, policy recommendations for EU, Delta regions in general and the specific involved Delta regions. Also a work plan for each involved Delta region will be developed to follow-up on the implementation of the policy recommendations. The involved partners aim for good examples, policy instruments and arguments to convince the politicians and make people aware of the need for a coordinated Delta policy. Working together on common challenges provides partners with innovative insights in how to balance the different demands in regional policy. The innovative approach is furthermore that Delta regions are generally not yet considered as geographical entities with particular problems and solutions and are not yet cooperating. Achievements: The DeltaNet project will be implemented between March 2010 and February 2013. 8 Delta regions participate in DeltaNet (Tagus Estuary, Rhine-Scheldt Delta, Elbe Estuary, Severn Estuary, Ebro Delta, Minho Delta, Danube Delta and Vistula Delta). A budget of 1,5 million EUR is available, sponsored by the European Regional Development Fund, through the INTERREG IVC Programme - innovation and environment - regions of Europe sharing solutions and by input of the partners. The partners want to improve their Delta Regional development policies through exchanging best practices and defining and implementing policy recommendations. 5 central themes will be discussed: integrated delta approach, flood risk and sediment management, healthy delta environment, delta awareness and coordinated delta approach.For each theme an open conference, workshops and study visits are organized. In November 2010 the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon hosted the first DeltaNet conference in Lisbon. Two good practices arespecified on theme 1: 1) the “integrated management plan” of the Elbe Estuary - Germany. The aim is to set up an integrated management plan for the Elbe Estuary for the implementation of the EU-Habitats Directive. The set up of the plan achieves more than just the implementation of the directives. It has also created a new mutual regional basis of trust amongst the involved partners and stakeholders. Especially noticeable is the focus on synergies between economic and ecological aims. 2) “the integrated management plan” of the Severn Estuary – UK. An integrated management strategy and associated partnership (Severn Estuary Partnership) was developed to provide an integrated, sustainable approach to estuary management. In June 2011 the Catalian institution IRTA hosted the second DeltaNet conference in Sant Carles de la Rapita. Two good practices are specified on theme 2: 1) Management plan for the treatment of contaminated dredged material of the Elbe river (Germany) and its posterior deposition ashore. From the beginning of the 80s, a project was commissioned with the aid of the German Federal Ministry of Research and Technology. This project concerned the construction of the METHA I test plant (MEchanical Treatment and dewatering of HArbour sediments), and the METHA II pilot plant. The METHA plant is considered as the world’s largest operating dredged material treatment facility. 2) Restoration of the sediment flux of the lower Ebro river (Catalonia - Spain) and its delta by means of a new concept of reservoir management. The SedMa plan mainly consists in the restoration of the sediment flux of the lower Ebro River by means of both the removal of the sediment trapped behind the dams, and the effective transport of the by-passed sediment to the river mouth and delta plain. In september 2011 the Romanian institution Danube Delta National Institute hosted the third DeltaNet conference in Tulcea. On this conference the theme 'healthy delta environment was discussed.One of the good practices of theme 3 is "Restoration of river lateral connectivity" (Romania). The Romanian partner is since 1994 involved in the restoration programme. Measures are taken to restore lateral connectivity between the main river channel and its floodplain. The abandoned polder Babina (2100 ha) is reconnected to the Danube delta. On this moment there is a recovery of ecological functions (water storage). On the project website you can download several documents and find more information on the project. In October 2012 the Province of East Flanders organized the final DeltaNet conference in Belgium (Ghent). Within theme 5 a SWOT analyse is established for each delta/estuary on three topics (vision/plans, stakeholders platform and European legislation). With this information general recommendations for regional, national and European level will be established. More information on the DeltaNet project can be found on

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