In the past, different economic activities responsible for the socio-economic development of the northern region of the country appropriated water resources, particularly the river Ave, leading to the progressive degradation of its condition. The depollution of this river began in the 1980s but, despite the efforts, there is still no close connection between people and the river and, as a consequence, there is no appropriation and enjoyment of it. We believe that when the river Ave is truly and consciously seen by all as a common good, there will certainly be greater vigilance and care in the way its exploitation is carried out.

In the first phase of the project The Ave for All, the parish councils and schools nearest to the river Ave in terms of location are mainly involved. These will be the target of theoretical and practical actions based on the premise that a properly informed population becomes more critical and aware of the problems of the river, acting accordingly. However, The Ave for All is open to the entire community of Guimarães who wants to contribute to the elevation of the river Ave to Natural Heritage, making its patrimonial, cultural and landscape value unquestionable.

The Ave for All counts on everyone’s involvement!

Environmental Education and Awareness


The Education and Environmental Awareness axis (EESA) of the pilot project ‘The Ave for All’ involves parish councils, green brigades and schools with direct influence of the river Ave, in a total of 24 schools, 14 parish councils and 7 green brigades. The main goal of EESA is to establish a sentimental link between the citizen and the river through the empowerment of all involved.

To this end, we have developed, in the Landscape Lab and within the Guimarães 2030 Mission Structure, a programme that includes a set of theoretical and practical training courses based on the premise that a properly trained population becomes more critical and aware of the river’s problems, acting accordingly.

The EESA has planned over 100 Environmental Education actions in schools, following the model of "mini" advisory councils developed within the Mission Structure for Sustainable Development Guimarães 2030. For the parish councils and green brigades involved, 11 theoretical actions will be carried out in differentiated areas, such as: urban environment, ecology, landscape value, enforcement, among other themes, with the participation of accredited entities such as the Portuguese Environment Agency, Vimagua, Guimarães City Council and researchers from the Landscape Lab.
In the spring, we will begin field trips with the parish councils, green brigades and schools to assess the degree of alteration of the river bed and banks in a comprehensive manner, pointing out aspects such as: existing biodiversity, assessment of the quality of the bed and banks, presence of waste, anthropogenic activities, potential pollution sources, among others. To help us in this process, we will develop with the community a checklist, entitled 'Ave.Watching'.
The results of the 'Ave.Watching' will allow a set of actions and measures aimed at improving the environmental quality, safety and well-being of the population (e.g. cleaning actions, reforestation, creation of support infrastructures and signposting). The stretches of the river that meet certain requirements will be designated as 'SPOTs The Ave for All'. This distinction will result, above all, from the involvement of all the citizens of the different parishes in the search for a clean and enjoyable river.
For a better perception of the evolution of the different indicators of the ecological state of the river Ave in the municipality of Guimarães, the project will be supported by a fixed 3D model. This model, available to all in the Landscape Lab, will facilitate reflection, interaction and proposal of future measures/actions on the river and its tributaries. A portable version of the maquette will be used with the school community in awareness and environmental education actions, in order to promote discussion.

Research and Development


The Research and Development (R&D) axis in the Ave for All project has as its main mission to generate, transfer and apply knowledge for the efficient management of water resources in order to protect their biodiversity, functions, services and increase their resilience to climate change impacts, supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To prevent further degradation of the River Ave and its tributaries, mitigation and ecological restoration measures are needed. In The Ave for All, these measures result from scientific and precise methodological processes. It is therefore a transparent process of doing and communicating science for the benefit of the community. The project includes the continuous monitoring of the ecological state of the river Ave, in eleven sampling sites distributed throughout the municipality of Guimarães, in different parishes. Opportunities in the area of circular economy that can contribute to improve the quality of this valuable water resource are also explored. The approach used is a holistic, multidisciplinary and dynamic approach, relying on the cooperation and involvement of the scientific community, government entities, local authorities and all the people of Guimarães.

The objectives of the R&D axis are:

  • To contribute to the sustainable development of the Ave sub-region, in particular, and the country in general;
  • To evaluate the biological, physico-chemical and hydromorphological quality of the Ave river;
  • To identify, geo-reference and characterise obstacles and potential sources of contamination of the river Ave;
  • To relate the quality of the river bed and margins with the surrounding environment;
  • To develop decision support procedures, based on scientific information;
  • To propose mitigation and ecological restoration measures for the Ave River, encouraging participatory citizenship practices;
  • To support the implementation of Environmental Awareness and Education programmes for the development of sustainable communities;
  • Promote the incorporation of projects in other areas of interest, such as: circular economy, air quality and noise studies.
Município de Guimarães
Laboratório da Paisagem
Agência Portuguesa do Ambiente
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