The ski area has numerous so-called “wetlands” (lakes, ponds, water meadows, marshes, etc.). They are listed and monitored within the framework of the environmental observatory.
Many areas are associated with our main activity being located on the ski slopes and used for snow catchment etc…
These environments play a major role in the water cycle, particularly in the current global warming context:
they store water during flooding periods and release it during periods of drought,
they naturally filter the water: the existence of wetlands and their quantity guarantees good quality water from our taps,
they are home to specific fauna and flora,
they are effective in slowing down flood waters… etc.
In France, 50% of wetland areas disappeared completely between 1940 and 1990.
The existence of such environments has been and still is under threat. For this reason, for any impact on a wetland, the law requires restoration of an area twice the size of the affected zone.
The actions of Grand Massif Domaines Skiables to preserve these environments
All of Grand Massif Domaines Skiables' projects are part of a so-called E-R-C (avoid-reduce-compensate) approach. When a project is started, we are already thinking about ways to avoid and reduce any impact and then compensating for it.
For the construction of the Marvel snow-making system, not all wetlands could be avoided because many of them are to be found on the ski run. As part of this, restoration work was carried out in 2019 and 2022 to replenish these environments on the Marvel Piste.
In this case, it meant restoring the water supply to these environments by replacing the drainage ditches with so-called reversible drains: these drains are blocked in the spring and summer, allowing the water to overflow and supply the wetland! In winter, the drains are unblocked, restoring the drainage and ensuring that snow management is not affected: this is a good example of reconciling resource protection with ski area operation. This work was carried out internally by the Giffre piste service.