• Regione  Piemonte
Identity Card
Surface Area: 490,00 ha
Provinces: TO
Establishment: 1990
  • Po Morto Nature Sanctuary (photo by Andrea Miola)

Small Lakes and Ponds near Carignano, where River Po Used to Flow in the Past

Oasi del Po Morto Recreational Area covers 490 hectares in the Municipalities of Carignano, Carmagnola, and Villastellone. The area represents a classic example of the continuous movement of the Po riverbed. As a matter of fact, most of the recreational area covers a territory where in the past a large bend of river Po, afterwards abandoned and now partially silted up.
The cut of the isthmus separating the two meanders happened during the extraordinary 1949 flood, after which river Po acquired in this area a straight course, abandoning its previous bed that became an oxbow. Since then, next to the river you can find a new aquatic environment which, for the lack of water exchange, can be assimilated to a pond. The typical animals of these environments include the lymnaea, a small-size herbivorous snail, and other mollusks feeding on organic remains, like unio and anodonta. There are also several aquatic birds, finding here a peaceful environment, large and rich in food. The area is continuously evolving: on the one side, with phenomena of natural silting up of old oxbows, sometimes accelerated by the work of man in the last decades, on the other side with new meanders, the last of which, forming during a flood in May 1999, created an area particularly rich in plants and animals, called "il Garrettino", which is now subject to reforestation activities. The territory of Po Morto Nature Sanctuary has been deeply changed by the quarry activity, ceased in the late 1980s. Most of the quarry small lakes have been  renaturalized, and now some of them are also used for sports fishing or to practice kayak and canoeing. The Po Morto area of Carignano is also safeguarded as SPA (Special Protection Area), since it is one of the very few areas housing the very rare Common Spadefoot. Besides the Spadefoot, there area also other amphibians (toad, frog, and tree frog), reptiles (European green lizard, European pond turtle, Montpellier snake), and many resident birds and birds of passage (kingfisher, purple and grey heron, marsh harrier, hen harrier, black tern, little egret, loon, shirke).
Oasi del Po Morto Recreational Area is safeguarded not only by the establishment law of River Po Park, but also according to the regional law no. 47 of 3rd April 1995 "Norme per la tutela dei biotopi", the Decision 85/338/CEE of 27th June 1985, and the Directive 92/43/CEE of 21st May 1992, since it has been considered as "ecological entity of great interest for the conservation of nature" and therefore subject to the environmental-landscape regulations according to law 8th August 1985, no. 431 and the European regulations, recognizing it as SCI – Site of Community Importance (code IT1110025). Po Morto di Carignano is also a Site of Community Importance (SCI Po Morto di Carignano) and Special Protection Area (SPA Po Morto di Carignano)

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