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Aix-Marseille-Provence metropolitan authority, France. A daring plan to bolster biodiversity

SEMM (Société Eau de Marseille Métropole, a Veolia subsidiary) came up with a daring plan to meet the biodiversity conservation requirements set for it by the metropolitan authority.

In 2015, SEMM carried out an inventory of plants and wildlife at its 134 operational sites, focusing on raw water basins, drinking water production sites, reservoirs and almost 110 km of Marseille canal bankside. A natural space management plan to improve local biodiversity at each location was drafted. The plan included rankings for factors such as conservation of indigenous vegetation and measures to combat invasive plants and boost wildlife numbers by providing lots of shelters for birds, insects and other species. To boost local biodiversity along the “green corridor” of the Marseille canal, SEMM plants approximately 650 shrubs a year. Efforts to support pollination involve a partnership with local beekeepers, who position 120 hives of domestic honey bees on site. SEMM is also committed to sustainable management of its green areas and in late 2016 it was awarded an Environmental Green Label for the Sainte-Marthe drinking water production site.

SEMM also runs outreach programs to teach local school children about biodiversity, working in collaboration with a local environmental protection nonprofit. A total of 647 school children were taught about the importance of biodiversity in 2016 and 2017.