Vallacuera ravine. Removal of a dyke.

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Vallacuera ravine. Removal of a dyke.

Factsheet: Vallacuera ravine. Removal of a dyke.

Country ES
River Name Vallacuera – Arga
Site Name Vallacuera ravine. Removal of a dyke.
River Characterisation
    River typology
    Location (Lat Lon) 42.346000571932, -1.791114807128
    Altitude mid-altitude: 200 - 800 m
    Catchment area
    National code/
    River type name
    15.Ejes mediterráneo-continentales poco mineralizados

    Biological quality elements
    Ecosystem Services
    EU Directives
    Project size 4 ha
    Approximate costs 100 000 - 1 000 000 Euros
    Status Realised
    Period of realization 15-09-2006 to 30-04-2007
    Evaluation Hydromorphological and ecological changes
    Implemented by Gestión Ambiental, Viveros y Repoblaciones de Navarra

    Key features of the case study

    The dike built in the 80’s after the canalization works carried out in Arga River was removed to recover the natural floodplain in one of the tributaries’ confluence: Vallacuera stream.

    The main objective of this project is to restore the river Arga natural floodplain by removing the dyke and increasing the fluvial territory.

    There are other secondary objectives: to increase the quality of habitat in Community Interest Areas, with special attention to European mink (Mustela lutreola); creating new habitats for otter (Lutra lutra) and European turtle (Emys orbicularis); quality improvement of habitats 92A0 (willow and black poplar plantation) and 92D0 (tamarisk plantation); spatial planning for cattle.

    Site description

    The ravine is of great ecological importance since acts as a corridor between the dry steppes located upstream and the fluvial ecosystem. The floodplain restored will be an important transitional area were Mediterranean species dependent on regular floods will develop.

    General situation of Vallacuera gully before the actuation

    Measures selection

    The main measure was the remove of the dike. With the increase of the floodplain, the objective was to reduce the flood risk in Funes, town located downstream that suffered many floods since the canalization of Arga River was carried out in the 80’s.

    New plantations were increased natural riparian vegetation and eliminated non-native species.

    The construction of a new pond increases the biodiversity (Phragmites sp. , Thypa sp. ) and it’s good for the European mink (Mustela lutreola) and the European turtle (Emys orbicularis) increasing the habitat carrying capacity for both species.

    New pond created in the mouth of Vallacuera ravine

    Success criteria

    Ecological response


    Riverside vegetation has been restored.


    The quality of habitat for the European mink (Mustela lutreola) was improved.


    The quality of habitat for otter (Lutra lutra) and European turtle (Emys orbicularis) was improved too at the same time as the European mink.

    Hydromorphological response

    Hydrological regime


    River continuity


    Morphological conditions

    More than 900 metres of dyke have been removed. At least 3,9 has of natural floodplain has been restored for ordinary floods, reducing the flood risk in the downstream town of Funes.

    Monitoring before and after implementation of the project

    Socio-economic aspects

    Project costs

    The total costs of the entire project 138.840,25€

    Contact person within the organization

    Fernando Mendoza, e-mail

    Gestión Ambiental Viveros y Repoblaciones de Navarra, S.A.
    Padre Adoain, 219 bajo
    31015 Pamplona - Navarra
    Fax: (00 34) 948 38 23 91

    Extra background information

    Company’s web page:
    GERVE-LIFE project:
    INTERREG GIRE project:
    Government of Navarra:


    Related Measures

    Related Pressures