Tarsia Lake


The project consists in an environmental and socio-economic development plan in the areas of Tarsia and Santa Sofia D’Epiro, in Calabria, Italy.

Lake Tarsia was created in 1959 through a dam on the River Crati with the ultimate aim of supplying water for the vast agricultural area nearby. The artificial lake exists during the late spring up until autumn (April – October) and this intervention has created a magnificent wetland, lawfully recognised as a natural reserve. It’s characterised by Mediterranean vegetation, an impressive aquatic biodiversity and it has also become an important area for the migration of birds, including the white stork. This thriving natural environment is however in contrast with the lack of profitable economic activities in the local communities: the lake is still regarded essentially as an artificial basin to irrigate the surrounding lands.


This project intends to study the area and define a program able to develop the reserve and the lake area, and to promote a process of sustainable and economic development in order to expand the natural reserve, eventually transforming it into a touristic resort, and creating positive spillovers on the local communities.

After the feasibility study concerning the expansion of the natural reserve, the following step will be the to set up of a program aimed at promoting the start up of new companies and the development of a network of new businesses in the area.

Finally, the project proposes to adopt a centralised management board for the reserve, which would guarantee a strategic management model integrating all the aspects and actors of the region, their regeneration and their development.


Comune di Tarsia

Comune di Santa Sofia d’Epiro

Ministry of Treasure


Local administrators, regional governance and local communities.


After the completion of the feasibility study, the project leader Artes, along with a team of experts, drafted three different scenarios, all based on the enhancing the nature reserve as a unique wet land, and creating a profitable rural tourism trade.

The first scenario, called scenario zero, proposes three wet areas that in one year time would produce improved conditions for the natural habitat and provide a permanent location for migration birds, furthermore it would attract new species to the area and allow for a more impressive nature reserve.

The second scenario, the intermediate scenario, proposes to create natural canals which would allow the river, when full in winter, to find alternative routes. This would allow the formation of a number of small natural lakes that, together with the the wet areas proposed in scenario zero, will ensure the presence of many small lakes in the winter, season when currently there is no water in the area.

The third, permanent lake, scenario suggests to prolong the permanence of the lake during autumn and winter, for instance by creating a system to electronically control the dam.

We are currently collecting experts’ advice and similar case studies in order to find the optimal solution, and proceed to pursue the other goals in terms of economic competitiveness of the territory.

Avanzamento progetto