Δ-LAGOON - Habitat restoration and management in two coastal lagoons of the Ebro Delta: Alfacada y Tancada

LIFE09 NAT/ES/000520

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Carles IBAÑEZ
Tel: +34 977 745427
Email: carles.ibanez@irta.cat

Project description:


The Alfacada and Tancada lagoons are located in the Delta del Ebro Natural Park. Though the Alfacada lagoon is a protected area, it was until recently a private estate used for hunting. It is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change on the water and sediment flux of the Ebro river, which has accelerated the rise in sea level and coastal erosion processes. Therefore specific management and restoration measures are necessary to mitigate these negative effects. The target salt marshes of San Antonio in the southern part of the Tancada lagoon have been damaged by intensive fish farming and much work is required to restore this now-protected area to its natural state.


The main goal of the project is to improve the ecological status of the Alfacada and Tancada lagoons through habitat restoration and management measures, such as improvement of hydrological function, elimination of infrastructure that interferes with connectivity, and creation of new lagoon habitats in existing rice fields and abandoned aquaculture facilities.

Specific project goals include:

  • Improving the ecological status and hydrological function of the Alfacada lagoon through restoration measures designed to mitigate the effects of coastal retreat and climate change, as well as to improve the status of priority habitats and species;
  • Increasing the Alfacada coastal lagoon habitat by restoring original lagoon areas that have been converted to rice fields;
  • Improving the ecological status and hydrological function of the Tancada lagoon through the restoration of areas affected by aquaculture activities; and
  • Developing measures to monitor and disseminate the ecological values of the restored areas, in order to increase public awareness and knowledge among stakeholders, managers and the wider society.
  • Expected results:

  • Improvement of the conservation status of 350 ha of coastal lagoons habitats (Alfacada and Tancada);
  • Creation of 62 ha of new wildlife habitat in the Alfacada lagoon area, 50 ha of which will be coastal lagoon habitat;
  • Restoration of 16 ha of coastal ponds and salt marshes in an abandoned aquaculture facility located in the Tancada lagoon area;
  • Increased resilience and better adaptability of the coastal lagoons to the effects of climate change;
  • Improvement of the conservation status of several endangered species, including Porphyrio porphyrio, Botauris stellaris, Ixobrychus minutus, Larus genei, Sterna albifrons and Aphanius iberus;
  • Creation of a new population of the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) through the reintroduction of at least 100 individuals;
  • Construction of new infrastructure for public use and environmental education, specifically a visitor centre, eight ornithological observatories, 1.2 km of walkways and 22 information boards;
  • Increase public awareness of the conservation significance and fragility of the coastal lagoons through an education programme for 1 000 students;
  • Dissemination of the project results to stakeholders, managers and wider society; and
  • An increase in knowledge about the conservation status and evolution of the most relevant habitats and species of the area, as well as the proposal of further conservation measures to managers. A total of nine monitoring programmes will allow project actions to be assessed.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal
Land-use & Planning - Soil and landscape protection


natural park‚  coastal area‚  soil erosion‚  restoration measure

Target species

 Aphanius iberus   Botaurus stellaris   Emys orbicularis   Ixobrychus minutus   Larus genei   Porphyrio porphyrio   Sterna albifrons     

Target Habitat types

  • 1140 - Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide
  • 1150 - Coastal lagoons
  • 1410 - Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)
  • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
  • 1510 - Mediterranean salt steppes (Limonietalia)

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ES0000020 Delta de l'Ebre



Coordinator Institut de Recerca i TecnologiaAgroalimentàries
Type of organisation Research institution
Description Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA) is a Catalan Public Corporation founded in 1985 that carries out scientific research and technology transfer in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture and the agrifood industry
Partners Fundació Caixa Catalunya, Spain Departament de Medi Ambient i Habitatge-Generalitat de Catalunya (Parc Natural del Delta de l’Ebre), Spain Dirección General de Sostenibilidad de la Costa y del Mar, Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Medio Rural y Marino-Gobierno de España, Spain


Project reference LIFE09 NAT/ES/000520
Duration 01-SEP-2010 to 31-DEC -2017
Total budget 3,054,703.00 €
EU contribution 1,490,084.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version