The Veneto Regional Park of Delta Po, covers an area of 12.000 hectares encompassed on nine municipalities of the Province of Rovigo: Ariano nel Polesine, Adria, Corbola, Taglio di Po, Porto Viro, Porto Tolle, Loreo, Rosolina, Papozze.
The wetlands of the Delta Po, in addition to being included in the list of World Heritage by UNESCO, are also covered in other national and international classifications of protected areas of “wetlands zones”.
Formerly, the Po (river) began to divide into several branches tens of kilometers before the mouth, causing rivers to change their paths frequently. The main branches of the Po were Padoa that passed through Ostellato and Adria. In 1604, the Venetians, fearing that the sediments carried by the Po caused the burying of their lagoon, diverted the final stretch of the Po Grande towards the coast of Ferrara.
With this work, named “Taglio di Porto Viro” began the formation of the modern Delta. At the end of 1800, began the great and important period of reclamation which resulted in the drainage of vast wetland areas in order to make a lot of farmable land. After the first problems of desalination of the land, fertile countrysides were obtained suitable for various crops such as wheat, corn, alfalfa and sugar beet.
With the agrarian reform started in 1950, the man provided for the settlement of the reclaimed area with drinking water, building roads and nearly six thousand rural houses. Other human intervention, particularly devastating for the region, took place during the period between the 30s and 60s which due to a reckless extraction of methane-water from the underground, accelerated the natural fall of land called “subsidence”. The natural subsidence is caused by compaction of loose sediments (silt, clay and peat) caused by the weight of those above. Artificial effects of subsidence can be attributed to the intervention of man through the extraction of fluid or solid from the ground like water from artesian wells, methane and the drying up (drainage) of valleys and marshland.
Flora of Delta Po
Nature, history, tradition, culture and art are intertwined, offering visitors an unusual and surprising view. In the Delta there are various environments, each one different from the other one with unique characteristics: the campaign with the riverbeds, fossil dunes, river banks, wetlands, the fish farms and lagoons.
The place homes a lot of animal species of great ecological importance. Amphibians and reptiles represent a significant proportion of the biomass of these habitats as the agile frog, green and dalmatian, common toad and emerald, tree frog, newts, turtles and water snakes. Among the mammals: badgers, weasels, marten, fox, hare, the hedgehog and the mole. Among the rodents, the water vole, the wood mouse and shrew, also the Nutria, although originating in South America, has spread throughout the Delta.
With more than 350 nesting species, migratory of national or international importance on the Po Delta, birds are definitely the most valuable component of wildlife such as the avocet, the Knight of Italy, the Little Egret, Heron, the Cormorant, the Grebe, the Shelduck, Mallard, Wigeon, the marsh hawk and many others.
The freshwater fish is one that has undergone major changes due to introductions of exotic species. Among the oldest kind of developments are carp, crucian carp, catfish, sunfish, zander, tench, sturgeon and pike.
Also important are the salt species belonging to the brackish environments (lagoons and valleys) of the Delta. The coastal valleys, where the flow regime is artificially controlled, are ideal places for fish farming practice of migratory species during their passage from the sea inland.
In the area there are many farms of sea bass, sole, mullet, sea bream, flounder, zatterin and eel, captured with a special tool.
Among the invertebrates, molluscs and crustaceans. Among the most common species include the oyster, clams, mussels, crabs and shrimp.
At Delta Po, there are different types of excursions to visit the huts of the fishermen dipped into a wonderful pristine environment, the wetlands of Ca’ Pisani for bird-watching; Mesola to visit the Castle or St. Basilio, the Cultural tourist Centre and the church or, in small boats, you can enter the valleys bringing back the flavour of the past.