EnvironSmart Navigation Natura
Extremadura has an inland coastline of more than 1500 km, thanks to its numerous rivers, reservoirs and lakes. In addition, thanks to the preservation of its natural environment for decades, its biodiversity and natural wealth is very extensive, which crystallizes in the region having a multitude of Protected Natural Spaces (ENP) spread throughout Extremadura.
In this context, it is evident that the natural environment and aquatic resources of the region are an important tourist and leisure attraction for visitors and locals. This has led to an increase in activities and services related to the aquatic environment, such as river cruises or motorized vehicle sports, which has the potential to cause a significant negative impact on the environment and its biodiversity.
Thus, in order to mitigate these possible negative impacts, the EnviroSmart Navigation Natura project initiative was launched a few years ago.
The EnviroSmart Navigation Nature project – “intelligent technology for the prevention and minimization of the impact of river navigation by motorized tourist boats on protected species of fauna in navigable stretches of rivers and reservoirs in Extremadura” – is a collective and pioneering effort in the Extremadura region driven by the Extremadura Tourism Cluster, thanks to the support and funding of the local government. It arises from the identified need to apply innovative and smart technological solutions to minimize the environmental impacts of river navigation that take place in natural environments (especially those involving aquatic resources such as reservoirs, rivers or lakes so common in Extremadura). In addition, IC Mejora, a consulting firm specializing in conservation and the environment, was also involved, among other private actors.
EnviroSmart Navigation Nature aims for local/regional companies to apply technology to improve the protection and sustainability of the environment, and to be able to carry out aquatic activities in protected environments with the least possible impact. These technologies, based on computer applications and automation systems, act autonomously in the face of possible threats to the ecosystem of the area. The project also included important activities to disseminate and raise awareness of the results obtained from the preliminary study. To this end, audiovisual material and a practical catalog of EnviroSmart solutions for tourist navigation in Protected Natural Spaces in Extremadura were created.
Thus, by developing innovative computer applications for the protection of valuable natural aquatic areas, it brings together in the same project two fundamental aspects of BLUE-C development, such as sustainability and the increased use of technology to automate and improve processes in sectors such as the blue economy and tourism. It also stresses out the power of collaboration between the different companies, creating synergies with technology, tourism, sustainability and collaboration companies.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT?
The collaboration between actors that was necessary to develop the EnviroSmart initiative, a pioneer in Extremadura, demonstrates an example of mobilizing the ecosystem (public bodies, tourism experts, companies, consultants, etc.) to create a positive impact on the environment, but also economically and socially by promoting tourism and leisure in the region, taking advantage of its aquatic resources in an innovative way.
In addition to the relevant study and analysis of Smart technologies of applicability by regional companies, as part of its design efforts, EnviroSmart produced and circulated a practical catalog of envirosmart solutions applicable to river navigation, which can still serve as a great inspiration today. This demonstrates how business innovation and digital transformation can act as key agents in generating positive impacts, which are more powerful if they are contributed to in a collaborative way, and if they favor the mobilization of the ecosystem (in this case, the tourism and leisure ecosystem of Extremadura).