14 2 5 3 Alpine Nature 2030 Creating ecological connectivity for generations to come 134 4 3 Interference welcome Wolfgang PFEFFERKORN CIPRA International Schaan Liechtenstein and Rosinak Partner Vienna Austria Andi GÖTZ Former executive director of CIPRA International Schaan Liechtenstein The world is too complex to be left to specialists alone Everyone s knowledge is required to shape the future Participation and cooperative decision models are therefore needed that is often the only way viable decisions can be made 4 3 1 Flaz In the fties the Flaz mountain river was re routed into a complex network of concrete canals near Samedan in Oberengadin and reinforced with increas ingly high dams In July 1987 the ood water was a mere twenty centimetres below the dam crests the Samedan districts that were built on the plains in the 20th century only narrowly escaped ooding Authori ties were therefore looking into re naturalising the Flaz Before humankind interfered with its course it had been meandering for thousands of years through the plains of Samedan and deposited 70 metres of thick gravel since the last ice age What if the Flaz was al lowed to ow across the at ground namely along the somewhat lower valley edge somewhat distanced from Samedan in such a way that it would then only ood elds and not houses And what if the Flaz only owed into the Inn after Samedan The problem would then be solved Mayor Thomas Nievergelt thought He took the greatest care in investigating the plans Opponents were invited to take part in workgroups Clear rules were de ned together with farmers and land owners An ecological monitoring committee advised the planners Representatives of the shery association nature conservationists and experts from the canton looked for shortcomings and considered how the pro ject could best be undertaken in harmony with nature And Mayor Nievergelt informed and convinced voters through numerous personal discussions The ballot was held in the year 2000 145 citizens voted against the project 459 in favour Four years of construction saw a new four kilometre long riverbed excavated for the Flaz The river has been owing through the new bed since 2004 and Samedan is safe from ooding 4 3 2 Verwall Changing location to Vorarlberg the nomination of the Natura 2000 region Verwall in Montafon Vorar lberg in the late 1990s faced great public resistance The 12 000 hectare isolated region was nominated as a Natura 2000 region due to the presence of vari ous grouse and woodpecker species in accordance with the EU Birds Directive Upland moors and a mountain lake also ful lled the criteria of the Habi tats Directive In the affected towns of Klösterle Silbertal St Gallenkirch and Gaschurn which count 5 500 inhabitants and 1 2 million overnight tour ist stays people were very anxious felt ignored and feared massive restrictions to their business and land use activities The disputes had a long history and threatened to boil over Given the emergency situation the Vorarlberg state government decided to initiate a mediation procedure during which to gether with the affected persons agreements would be made as to what would and would not be allowed in the future in the Natura 2000 region In a media tion process involving intense debates that lasted for one and a half years the more than 30 participants from agriculture and forestry hunting tourism and nature conservation nally agreed on a management plan and founded the Verwall Forum which super vised the implementation of the agreements in the following years Today more than ten years later the structures are established an area management has been put into place and dialogue between the vari ous interest groups is working Alpine rivers and Natura 2000 regions are important elements of ecological networking in the Alpine space These two examples demonstrate that in many cases public participation is a considerable success factor particularly in the creation of large potential connectivity areas and the prevention of further fragmentation of valuable natural and close to nature areas by infrastructure projects for in stance due to land use conflicts

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