"La Noue Rouge", ecological restoration of an agricultural wetland

For centuries, agricultural wetlands have undergone changes to increase productivity. In the "Vallée de la Saône" Natura 2000 site, the alluvial plain at the confluence of “La Saone” and “La Lanterne” rivers has suffered the same fate. First monks, then farmers tried to dry out the meadows and modify the rivers to create new agricultural areas. Scientific studies carried out during the last fifteen years within the framework of the Natura 2000 site have highlighted the principal problems facing this part of the confluence of the two rivers and have stressed the significant biodiversity benefits that could be gained by restoring the wetlands. The so called “Noue Rouge” site, in the middle of this confluence, was the first area to be targeted as part of a large restoration and conservation project for the area. The technical  aspects of the restoration works were defined following a long consultation period with farmers, elected officials and all local organizations. The main aim was to restore the wetland and the river as far as possible to their natural state, while taking into account all biodiversity and agricultural issues.The first phase of the project took place between 2014 and 2016 within four Natura 2000 actions. The actions helped to restore the natural watercourse of the river “La Noue Rouge”,as well as the grassland pound network and conserved old trees in the forests.The second phase of the project took place between 2016 and 2019. It consisted of restoring the micro topography of the meadow and filling in all the drains. Thereafter, it was necessary to support farmers in the management of the restored wetlands. The 5 mayors of concerned communes have also been working together for 3 years to create a 850 ha natural reserve in this area.