What is it

Estuaries are systems of high biologic and socio-economic significance that are subject to strong anthropogenic pressures. Amongst the main pressures that threaten their high environmental and preservation values are the hydrodinamic changes of areas that are isolated due to the presence of dams, which have been created either with the purpose of gaining space to the sea or to exploit natural resources, sewage spillage, environmental eutrophication and the presence of non-native species.

Project LIFE, seeking the integration of human activity in the preservation objectives of the Natura 2000 network of the Cantabrian coast (LIFE-CONVIVE), aims at facing the issues of integration of human activities in the preservation objectives of the Natura 2000 network at the estuaries of Cantabria by way of implementing environmental recovery and citizen awareness programs to show the value of such systems.

Project LIFE-CONVIVE (2015-2019) has been allocated a budget of € 1,325.680. 60% of the funding has been contributed by program LIFE, the European Union funding instrument that is exclusively devoted to the environment.

This project has been promoted by the Instituto de Hidráulica Ambiental of the University of Cantabria through its committee (FIHAC) and it is the beneficiary entity coordinating the project.  Other beneficiary partners are the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of the Government of Cantabria; the Town Council of Arnuero; construction company Constructora Obras Públicas San Emeterio S.A.; the Spanish Association of Ornithology (SEO) and company Aves Cantábricas S.L.



In order to achieve the global target of this project, a set of measures has been established with the following purposes:

  • Restore the good conservation status of the habitats by eliminating non-native species which transform the environment, as well as replenishing the hydrodynamic condition by partially or fully opening dams at the estuaries of the Natura 2000 network of Cantabria.
  • Reduce human impact by supressing the existing pressures (proliferation of opportunistic algae, reduction of the contaminating content of spills) and development of biodiversity management plans at the coastal lagoons of Cantabria.
  • Improve the conservation status of habitats that are significant for sea bird species along the coast covered by the Natura 2000 network of Cantabria, by designing flood management plans for certain coastal lagoons.
  • Raise awareness in the main users of estuary systems (company owners, tourists, administrations, shell fishermen, etc.) on the high natural value and the goods and services delivered by the estuary by means of disseminating information on its values, technical congresses and work groups.
  • Optimise future recovery plans of action by dissemination of the results of the project and the generation of specific documents on its effects, as well as following up each plan of action.