Vendicari - Conservation and improvement of habitats in the special protected area of Vendicari, Italy
The project main objective was to restore the ecological balance of the coastal ecosystem and the dune habitats which are fast being eroded in the Vendicari Guided Nature Reserve in the south-eastern coast of Sicily, in Italy. The project contributed to stopping the degradation and improving the ecological condition of the priority habitat “Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp” along the coastline and the protection of the Coastal Lagoon a priority habitat. The activities for the protection of the dunes focused on four main actions: the total fencing of the dunes to avoid disturbance by the public; the construction of walkways to reduce the damage from people accessing the beach through the dunes; the construction of two wooden huts for surveillance guards; and the installation of small artificial barriers to favour the establishment of dune vegetation. The management of the water level in one of the three lagoons was obtained by the restoration of an ancient canal connecting it with the sea. An important dissemination programme was carried out, mainly in schools for the engagement of the young people with environmental issues. A website was published together with brochures and leaflets and a video made of the project.