Case study:INTERREG MED WETNET – Memorandum of Cooperation towards a Wetland Contract for the Island of Gozo

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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes Economic aspects, Environmental flows and water resources, Habitat and biodiversity, Land use management - agriculture, Monitoring, Social benefits, Water quality
Country Malta
Main contact forename George
Main contact surname Refalo
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Gozo Regional Committee - GRC
Contact organisation web site
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
Interreg Med Wetnet

Project summary

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The Gozo Regional Committee held, within the Interreg Med Wetnet project, a series of participatory events for stakeholders in aspects affecting, or being a result of, the island's wetland context, with the aim of paving the way towards a Wetland Contract for the island of Gozo. The process led to the definition and prioritisation of a list of actions that relate to the pilot areas, directly or indirectly. This was done through a concerted approach where all actors contributed, and constructive discussions were held in relation to potential barriers that could be faced if the actions were to be implemented. Some of the actions overlapped with the Eco-Gozo vision. In such cases, progress of implementation was discussed with the relevant entity, and fine-tuned to avoid overlap. For instance, Eco-Gozo already included the establishment of the “Made in Gozo” label, which was very similar to an action to brand local agricultural produce, however the entity had faced several legal barriers when trying to establish the label, but agreed that it may be worthwhile to re-investigate what the possibilities are. Hence, the action was reworded to fit. A similar approach was taken with other overlaps, and in some cases actions were toned down or broadened for entities to be comfortable in committing to sign the agreement. This was due to concern expressed by some entities. While the signed document is positive, and is evidence that the relevant entities are willing to collaborate and take it forward, further follow-up will be necessary after the end of the project in order to actually activate or continue collaborations, since the agreement does not involve time-frames or the assignment of resources. The Memorandum of Collaboration is the first step, of many necessary, towards a Wetlands Contract for the island of Gozo. The Memorandum is signed by 5 local actors and it will be open to be signed by other actors by the end of the 2019.

Monitoring surveys and results

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Lessons learnt

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A Memorandum of Collaboration is being signed rather than a Wetland Contract, in view of the current local situation where entities have shown that they are not in a position to commit further resources (man-power and finances) to additional tasks. This is mainly due to the fact that the relevant entities are already committed to execute actions that are currently taking up all their resources and running on very tight budget lines. In order to be able to assign budget, a formal request would need to be put forward by the relevant entities, and approved by central Government for upcoming financial years. Such requests need to be made well in advance. Despite this, stakeholders proved willing to commit to a lower level, via a different form document similar to a Memorandum of Understanding, whereby they express agreement on further collaboration on an agreed list of priorities/actions.

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Catchment and subcatchment


River basin district Gozo
River basin Gozo


River name Gozo
Area category Less than 10 km²
Area (km2)
Maximum altitude category
Maximum altitude (m)
Dominant geology
Dominant land cover
Waterbody ID


Name Gozo Island wetlands (Wied tal-Lunzjata, Il-Qattara, Ghadira ta’ Sarraflu)
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 EU - Special Area of Conservation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
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)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)

Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started 2016/11/01
Works started
Works completed
Project completed 2019/10/31
Total cost category
Total cost (k€)
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources Project co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund

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

Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
Other reasons for the project Landscape enhancement


Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor Plant new trees characteristic of the targeted habitats; Intense removal of Gambusia Affinis
Planform / Channel pattern Eradication of Rana Bedriagae
Other Restoration of rubble walls
Non-structural measures
Management interventions Preserve and store more water, and ensure more efficient use; Appoint a management committee for each site including stakeholders active/present in the area; Promote agricultural practices to limit nutrient and pesticide inputs; Push for the creation of synergies between the farming enterprises, land owners, government, local councils, and the touristic accommodation sector (agro-tourism).
Social measures (incl. engagement) Hold information meetings, set up interpretation panels on site, use social media as an educational tool; Awareness raising: Educate the Public on the adverse impacts of releasing alien species in the environment; Further training of farmers to ensure they understand the implications of rules (Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive 2009/128/EC, Nitrates Directive 91/676/EEC) and the problems that will result if they are not followed.
Other Frequent monitoring detecting n3ew alien species to be dealt with immediately; Local site-specific chemical monitoring is ongoing and that it is effective; Set up a monitoring plan is for each site; Government, Local Authorities and Stakeholders identify and implement strategies to attract quality tourism to the sites rather than mass tourism, thus obtaining better business through smaller numbers; Reinvestigate how barriers can be overcome for branding and certification of local agricultural products from the areas (viniculture and eco-gastronomy).


Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
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Biological quality elements

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Physico-chemical quality elements

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Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

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Monitoring documents

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Supplementary Information

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