Seawater intrusion

Seawater intrusion can be considered a very serious hazard to coastal areas. In case of limited river flow due to drought, salt intrusion may damage the fragile ecosystems. To deal with the risk of seawater intrusion, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple Nature-based Solutions (NbS).

Aims focused on seawater intrusion

Operandum Open-air laboratories (oals) cover a wide range of hazards, with different levels of climate projections, land use, socio-economic characterization, existing monitoring activities and nbs acceptance. The aims of the OALs that focuses on seawater intrusion are:

  OAL Italy – Bellocchio Beach: mitigate storm surges and coastal erosion.
  OAL Italy – Po di Goro: mitigate the local hazards causing disruption of the area and economy.

The Bellocchio Beach is located at the Emilia Romagna coast of the Adriatic Sea. The beach is a fully natural area and part of the Po Delta Biosphere Reserve. It is strongly affected by marine erosion and in case of storm surges, sea water floods the lagoon threatening freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity.

The delta Po di Goro branch of the delta Po River is subjected to flooding and salt wedge intrusion. During times of low river flow, salt intrusion reaches far upstream damaging fragile ecosystems. Planting halophytes with the capability of absorbing salts and keeping them inside their cells will support local adaptation.


OPERANDUM’s ambition is to address and overcome barriers through Open-Air Laboratories (OALs). The aim of these OALs is to produce innovation, to drive the change in current practices of land planning and improving resilience to hydro-meteorological hazards, and by producing advancement of state-of-art and innovative nature-based measures in several areas. OALs that are focusing on the risk of seawater intrusion are:



The site is on the Emilia Romagna coast of Adriatic Sea: the Bellocchio beach. The Bellocchio beach is a fully natural area, which is part of The Po Delta Biosphere Reserve, limited between a very active touristic hub (Lido di Spina) and the mouth of the Reno river.


Effective and scalable Nature-based Solutions (NbS) can help governments address the growing challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, increased frequency of extreme weather and natural hazards. Below you can read more about hazards related to seawater intrusion.


The fear of flooding is a major perceived risk. Floods affect many areas, such as agriculture, infrastructure, local businesses as well as the tourism sector. To deal with the risk of flooding, OPERANDUM has implemented multiple NBS.

Storm surge and coastal erosion

Coastal erosion & storm surge

Coastal erosion is the loss of land along the shoreline due to the natural removal of sediments or bedrock from the shoreline. It is often associated with extreme weather events such as coastal storms, storm surge and flooding.


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