CEPIV has been working on developing a wide variety of initiatives with operators in the Region for almost 10 years.
Vulnerable species, such as bats or the Red Kite are bio-indicators: their presence proves that the catchment area is in good health. The initiatives required to preserve these species guarantee the maintenance of natural ecosystems, which are a condition for the purity of natural mineral water.
The Volvic caves are a major bat hibernation site in the Auvergne Region.
They provide an ideal setting for accommodating them, including wide-open areas and a constant temperature, with a forest canopy nearby. The caves and tunnels that were dug during the former Volvic stone quarrying activities provide shelter to 500 bats belonging to 15 different species in the depth of winter. They are one of the most popular shelters: Volvic is home to 19% of the 3,100 bats in Auvergne (and to 38% of the bat population in the Puy-de-Dôme Region).
Measures implemented to protect 500 bats
The main species represented are the Greater Mouse-Eared Bat (this is the largest wintering site for this species in the Auvergne Region), the Lesser Horseshoe Bat, the Greater Horseshoe Bat, and the Mediterranean Horseshoe Bat.
The classification of the site as a “Regional Natural Reserve” enables the regional importance of this wintering site to be underlined, and the capacities for hosting bats during their reproduction period to be increased. Société des Eaux de Volvic and the Volvic District have been fully involved in this project since the beginning. The creation of the Reserve, which was approved by the Regional Council on 23 September 2014, has enabled the measures required to protect and showcase this 61-hectare area to be implemented.
These measures include:
- Regulatory protection against any activity that may harm these bat populations;
- Introduction of a forestry management process that encourages forest biodiversity;
- Initiatives aimed at raising the awareness of the 150,000 people who pass through the sector every year;
- Monitoring the main animal and plant species present on the site.