Case study:Floodplain recreation on the Montone River at San Tomè (Forlì)

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Location: 44° 14' 52", 12° 0' 46"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Flood risk management, Habitat and biodiversity, Hydromorphology, Monitoring
Country Italy
Main contact forename Fausto
Main contact surname Pardolesi
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Regione Emilia Romagna – Servizio Tecnico di Bacino “Fiumi Romagnoli
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
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Project summary

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The interventions carried out on the Montone river are part of a general project dating back to the '90s called "Fiumi Puliti” (Clean Rivers); the main goals of that project were the “maintenance” of river beds of the Romagna area, the reduction of flood risk and the implementation of the Montone River Natural Park, in the Municipalities of Forlì and Castrocaro. The main tool put in place to achieve these objectives was to return to the river part of the floodplains, both public domain and private, that were , separated from the river due to construction of embankments. Since 1992, this strategy has allowed to recover, within a relatively short stretch of the river, a storage capacity of more than 2,500,000 cubic meters. This space was returned to the natural flood dynamics lowering the alluvial plane and/or displacing the embankments to the external borders of the floodplain. The San Tomè area, located near Forlì, before the project was private cultivated land (orchards), former floodplain, surrounded by a main embankment and separated from the river by a secondary one, strongly reducing its flooding frequency. The works, carried out between 2004 and 2007 by the Servizio Tecnico di Bacino Romagna (River Basin Technical Services part of the Emilia Romagna regional administration) included the removal of the internal (secondary) embankment and lowering and reshaping the floodplain, on 9 hectares. This allows an increased flooding frequency, with a positive effect on flood risk downstream. Project costs included approximately 440,000 € for land expropriation. The estimated 2 million € for earth moving were compensated for by part of the excavated material, that was made available to the company performing the works. This funding approach may be considered negatively under a geomorphological perspective. However, it has to be underlined that the sediment extraction (ranging between 2 and 5 m) from the (former) floodplain has not reduced the amount of material potentially available for erosion and transport downstream (and finally for coastal sediment supply); in fact the excavated areas were already outside the river mobility corridor, they had become terraces, mostly protected against erosion along all the banks. Moreover part of the fine material with no commercial interest was introduced in the river bed during some ordinary flood events, in order to increase (at least occasionally) the sediment supply downstream.

Monitoring surveys and results

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The ecosystem improvements are under monitoring through the M.A.I.S.O.N. project.

Lessons learnt

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Image gallery

The San Tomè floodplain, before restoration.
The San Tomè area, near Forlì, before the restoration project. Note the river on the left, separate from the large floodplain (used as orchard) included between the river itself and the embankment on the right.
The San Tomè area in 2006, before the restoration works.
The San Tomè area in 2008, after the restoration works.
The San Tomè area in 2011.
The San Tomè area after the restoration works.
The San Tomè floodplain.

Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Appennino meridionale
River basin


River name Montone
Area category
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology
Ecoregion Italy and Corsica
Dominant land cover
Waterbody ID

Other case studies in this subcatchment: Floodplain recreation on the Montone River at the confluence with the Rabbi Stream


Name San Tomè (Forlì)
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present No
Invasive species present No
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use Intensive agriculture (arable)
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
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Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started
Works started 2004/01/01
Works completed 2007/12/31
Project completed
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Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance

Supplementary funding information

Approximately 440,000 € for land expropriation. The earth moving works (approximately 2 million €) have been carried out in a "compensation" way.

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure Flood risk management
Hydromorphology Channel pattern/planform
Other reasons for the project


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications Introducing sediment
Floodplain / River corridor Removal of embankments, Lowering of floodplain, Floodplain reconnection
Planform / Channel pattern
Non-structural measures
Management interventions land acquisition
Social measures (incl. engagement)


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

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Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Monitoring documents

Additional documents and videos

Additional links and references

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Supplementary Information

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