Austropotamobius lombardo - Conservation of Austropotamobius pallipes in two SIC sites of Lombardy, Italy
In the Po Valley, the River Pegorino Valley and the Ticino Valley in Lombardy white-clawed crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes) have been confined to the least polluted watercourses, a decline explained by the degradation of water quality caused by wastewater discharge and uncontrolled abstraction. The project aimed to create a stable population of white-clawed crayfish by reintroducing breeding stock to the Pegorino and Ticino rivers and improving the environmental conditions of these two watercourses. The first step was to eliminate the uncontrolled abstraction of water for irrigation and the illicit disposal of waste. The non-native crustaceans were removed and any white-clawed crayfish found were checked for pathogens. The project also set up a crustacean farm that could release about 3,000 breeding crayfish, which helped to constitute a local population. Parallel to these measures, the quality of the waters, and the presence of crayfish were monitored, which showed the extent of the naturalisation of the reintroduced population. However, further monitoring activities should be carried out in the following years in order to confirm its long-term success. Water analyses were carried out in the watercourses selected for the reintroductions. Meetings with the citizen of the area near the project site and activities with schools were organised in order to increase the knowledge of this species.