Loire Nature is an ambitious programme to conserve natural habitats in fifty areas of interest in the Loire Basin. The aim for these sites is to preserve the river’s dynamics, habitats and water resources by the consensual implementation of model actions for sustainable management.

The Loire Nature programme, launched in 1993, was a precursor as regards the concept of liberty zones for watercourses. Now in its second phase (2002-2006), incorporated into the Loire Grandeur Nature Interregional Plan, it covers fifty areas spread across eight regions and includes seventeen associations (nature conservancies and their federation, WWF France, the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux (league for the protection of birds) and its regional branches). Loire Nature has a number of aims:
-    maintaining the river’s dynamics, ecological interest and water resources at sites of special interest in the Loire catchment basin
-    implementing consensual actions as models of conservation and sustainable management
-    deciding and testing techniques suited to managing and monitoring alluvial habitats
-    disseminating information and raising awareness among those variously involved in conserving the heritage of the river.

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The River Allier’s rich natural resources make it a priority watercourse in the Loire Nature programme. Thus the programme covers thirteen areas on the Allier – eleven in Auvergne, implemented by the Conservatoire des Espaces et Paysages d'Auvergne (CEPA – Auvergne nature and landscape conservancy), with support from the Conservatoire des Sites de l'Allier (CSA – Allier conservancy agency) in that Department, and the Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux Auvergne (LPO – Auvergne league for the protection of birds); one in Languedoc-Roussillon, where the Conservatoire Régional (regional conservancy) and the Conservatoire Départemental des Sites Lozériens (Departmental conservancy for sites in Lozère) are involved; and one in Burgundy implemented by the Conseil Général de la Nièvre (Nièvre Departmental council) and the WWF.


At the beginning of 2005, there were nearly 900 ha of protected habitats on the River Allier (land controlled or with a right of use). Important negotiations are in progress with 65 local authorities contacted since 2002, multi-partner meetings and over 300 appointments. For managed sites, management plans have been drawn up to detail management objectives and actions to be taken. For example, over 5 km of fencing has been erected or restored in order to establish grazing, in association with local farmers. Over 80 m3 of waste has been collected. At other sites, management consists of non-intervention to allow the vegetation to develop.
To help local players to take these actions on board, events are also held, and some sites have been adapted for visiting by the general public.


Partenaires financiers du programme Loire nature en Auvergne

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