The project LIFE+ Nature – Project Life11nat/it/188 – “Restoring connectivity in Po river basin opening migratory route for Acipenser naccarii and 10 fish species in Annex II” - CON.FLU.PO. is centred on the reconnection of the Po river corridor. The barrier of the hydroelectric plant of Isola Serafini interrupted the river continuity about 300 Km from the sea. Enel Green Power Spa owns the hydroelectric plant.
The migratory fish species, from the 50s of the last century, cannot exceed the dam in both directions due to the lack of a fish ladder. This situation causes a fragmentation of the populations, which can lead up to extinction. Such as the two other species of sturgeon native in Italy, common Sturgeon (Acipenser sturio) and the Beluga (Huso huso) as well as the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) now disappeared. Euryhaline species such as Cheppia (Alosa fallax) and Thinlip Mullet (Liza ramada) still go back up the river. The river de-fragmentation will make available for the migratory species about 100 Km of the Po River and some of its feeder up to Casale Monferrato (AL). First of all Ticino River, key ground for Adriatic Sturgeon breeding, will be entirely accessible for 110 Km up to Lago Maggiore thanks to two fish ladder built next to the dams of Panperduto and Porto delle Torre. These two works were built also thanks to the two previous Life projects carried out by Parco del Ticino.
The Po de-fragmentation will interest not only big migratory species such as the Sturgeon, Cheppia and the European Eel but also many fish species of refresh water. In fact, these species must carry out migratory movements in order to execute their life-cycle. The reproductive strategy of the freshwater fish is to go back up the river and spawn upstream, in order to fight against the flow towards the sea, which would lead up to shift downstream. Spawn upstream allows species to re-populate also this part of a river but it stands to reason the huge damage provoked to these species if a fragmentation prevents them from spawning upstream. The huge biodiversity of Po River counts many species recognised by Direttiva Habitat, and at least ten will take advantages from Po de-fragmentation. In addition to species included in Direttiva Habitat, there will be others, such as the European Eel, which will take advantages from the fish ladder. The European Eel, now in decline, is the object of a specific European regulation for its conservation implemented through a national plan that includes regional plans of Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Lombardy.