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LIFE-PLETERA - De-urbanizing and recovering the ecological functioning of the coastal systems of La Pletera

LIFE13 NAT/ES/001001


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Contact details:

Project Manager: Àgata COLOMER
Tel: +34972758809
Email: AColomer@torroella-estartit.cat



Project description:

Background

The Ter river reaches the Mediterranean sea in the municipality of Torroella de Montgrí. In the flood plain of the Ter estuary is a Natura 2000 network site centred on the La Pletera saltmarsh. The site is of high ecological importance due to the presence of brackish (salinity greater than freshwater but less than seawater) and hyperhaline (salinity greater than seawater) coastal lagoons. These have well-conserved halophilic (adapted to life in very high salt environments) and psammophilic (adapted to life in sand) plant communities. The saltmarsh also hosts the Spanish toothcarp (Aphanius iberus), a fish endemic to the Iberian Peninsula that is in danger of extinction. However, the saltmarsh is threatened by encroaching urban development, and the presence of physical barriers such as a public walkway and levees that hinder the proper ecological functioning of the lagoon system.


Objectives

The primary aim of the LIFE-PLETERA project is to carry out a comprehensive restoration of the La Pletera coastal lagoon system, in particular, to recover the ecological functions that have been altered by building works. The project’s specific objectives are:

  • Ensuring that the ecological system can respond appropriately to predicted climate change impacts (e.g. rising sea levels and greater frequency of sea storms and other extreme weather conditions);
  • Safeguarding the ecological functions of the lagoon system in both the short and the long term;
  • Disseminating information to show visitors and local residents the importance of conserving coastal lagoon ecosystems;
  • Demonstrating best practice in restoring an altered or partially built-up natural space to recover its full ecological functions, even in areas as heavily affected by development pressure as the Mediterranean coast; and
  • Increasing the carbon fixation capacity of the target coastal ecosystem and thus reducing CO₂ emissions into the atmosphere, as a result of replacing disused urban infrastructure and mounds of soil covered in ruderal vegetation (i.e. plants that grow on waste ground) by a system of coastal lagoons and adjacent flood belts.
  • Expected results:

  • A properly functioning coastal lagoon system with permanently flooded zones surrounded by corresponding wetland flood belts;
  • An increase of 12 ha in salt-rich habitats related to coastal lagoons, within a spatial structure typical of coastal wetlands, including a foredune, mobile coastal dunes, a gradient zone of mixed sandy and clay substrates, and permanently-flooded lagoons in depressions;
  • A mosaic of four or five permanently flooded depressions linked during flooding, inhabited by colonies of Spanish toothcarp (Aphanius iberus), benefiting from the lack of permanent connection with the sea, to limit the entry of marine predators, but with sufficient water level to support submerged meadows of the aquatic plant, Ruppia cirrhosa;
  • A morphologically active coastal foredune (one km), which will prevent the formation of blowouts and be re-colonised with typical coastal dune vegetation, to protect the wetlands;
  • Analysis of the carbon balance in the saltmarsh, with a comparison between the carbon fixation capacity of an altered coastal system and of a well-conserved system, and analysis of the effects of the restoration project on the vegetation, water quality, ecologic state of the lagoons, and on the colonies of birds and fish;
  • Adaptation and reorganisation of visitor access points in order to safeguard the habitats from dangers caused by human activity; and
  • A long-term functional coastal system that will act as a true buffer zone between the sea and the inland croplands, conserving its ecological values and performing the ecological functions proper to low-lying coastal areas.


Results


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Environmental issues addressed:

Themes

Habitats - Coastal


Keywords

protected area‚  renaturation‚  urban area‚  coastal area‚  climate protection‚  island


Target Habitat types

  • 1150 - Coastal lagoons

Natura 2000 sites

SCI ES5120016 El Montgrí- Les Medes - El Baix Ter


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Beneficiaries:

Coordinator AJUNTAMENT DE TORROELLA DE MONTGRÍ
Type of organisation Local authority
Description The coordinating beneficiary is the municipality of Torroella de Montgrí, which includes the town of Torroella and the nearby coastal resort of L'Estartit, in the Spanish province of Gerona. The municipality has put the preservation and enhancement of natural and cultural heritage at the heart of its local development strategies.
Partners CATEDRA(UNIVERSITAT DE GIRONA), Spain GENCAT(DIRECCIÓ GENERAL DEL MEDI NATURAL I BIODIVERSITAT. GENERALITAT DE CATALUNYA), Spain TRAGSA(EMPRESA DE TRANSFORMACIÓN AGRARIA, S.A.), Spain

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Project reference LIFE13 NAT/ES/001001
Duration 01-JUL-2014 to 31-DEC -2018
Total budget 2,528,148.00 €
EU contribution 1,896,111.00 €
Project location Cataluña(España)

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