White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 162512949
Freshwater crayfish conservation in northern Italy: prevention of extinctions and restoration of a key population of Austropotamobius pallipes.
Austropotamobius pallipes is suffering dramatic extinctions and the understanding of factors that could save the last surviving populations are particular urgent. IUCN lists Austropotamobius pallipes as endangered under criterion A2ce. In the last ten years this species is suspected to have undergone a decline of somewhere between 50–80% based on presence/absence data available for England, France and Italy. This report could be still optimistic by respect to the reality because for some territories previous information on distribution were lacking.
In northern Italy populations are disappearing very quickly. Last months surveys indicate that some storng populations of the Monte di Brianza are now not findable; and from year to year populations that were easily detected are not yet found. This because of alien crayfish introduction, pollution and fails in streams management.
This project will allow to establish remediation actions to avoid further extinctions and will restore a key population in the Monte Barro Regional Park (Lecco)
The main goal of this project is the conservation of Austropotamobius pallipes. The project will consider both a general and a local approach to increase the interest of its outcomes. The detailed project aims are: -a) Large scale research of the relationships between freshwater pollution and alien crayfish spreading in determine extinctions of native crayfish populations in Alpine and Apennine countries. -b) Extensive monitoring of organic pollution in freshwater lotic environments monitoring the current distribution of native crayfish, The results will furnish important indication for crayfish conservation in terms of actions to be performed. -c) understanding factors currently allowing the survival of the few populations of A. pallipes including the role of natural and artificial barriers of freshwater courses and the factors preventing alien crayfish spreading. d) The final part of the project will include the restoration of crayfish populations in the Monte Barro Regional Park and the establishment of suitable sites for native crayfish in Lombardy. The activities will include a final round table involving all the regional and national authorities dealing with freshwater habitats for establish the guide lines deriving from the project to increase Austropotamobius pallipes conservation in Italy and preserve the last populations.
The project is carried out by the Department of Biosciences, Università degli Studi di Milano in collaboration with the ONG WWF Lecco and the Regional Park of Monte Barro