“The zone to be planted was first cleared of brush and weeds to prevent any stumps from trees or shrubs from coming dislodged during flooding and causing logjams that can hinder the flow of water and form those ill-famed waves that destroy everything. The Casques Verts are working very hard in order to clean up 1,350 metres of embankment. The second step consists in spreading grass seeds, which have a powerful root system that can stabilize the riverbank.”
Patrice Fallot, Chairman, Association Casques Verts
Since 1987, the Casques Verts have been at the forefront of forest fire prevention in the Mediterranean region. Association founder Patrice Fallot, who has himself experienced first-hand and up close some of the dramatic fires of the 80s in the French Riviera, has decided to take part in the fight against forest fires. The Casques Verts have gradually extended their calling, which began as flood prevention and “environmental healing” from the aftermath of disasters. Accordingly, the association has restored 150 km of embankments in the Camargue following the flood of 1993.
Given this twofold outlook, the association has taken on as its mission to manage and protect nature areas. Its efforts aim at healing damaged and fragile environments, controlling invasive and harmful species (like mimosa, eucalyptus or black locusts) and restoring motoring tracks to their correct span and to safety. Those preventive operations include the precautionary chopping down of dead trees and of any plant life likely to hinder the appropriate flow of water towards the sea during floods.
The project which the Foundation is supporting involves the municipality of Londe-Les-Maures (Var), which suffered serious flooding in November 2014. It consists in strengthening the banks of the Pansard River by laying down a woven geonet and by encouraging the growth of grass through hydraulic sowing. Combined with tree- and shrub-planting, this effective method has already proven its worth when used for the large embankments that run along motorways. In five years’ time, the geonet (made of coconut matting) will disappear and the riverbank will be naturally stabilized.