Salinas do Sado - Preservation of the birds population in the salines of the Sado River Estuary

LIFE00 NAT/P/007088

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Mário REIS
Tel: +351 351 265541157
Fax: +351 351 265541155
Email: mreis@icnb.pt

Project description:


The Sado Estuary is a key wetland area consisting of habitats, such as salt pans, which are important feeding and resting grounds for many bird species of Community importance. These include the flamingo (Phoenicopterus rubber), the bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica), the ruff (Philomachus pugnax), the avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta), the wader – (Himanthopus himanthopus) and the little tern (Sterna albifrons). However, the extent and quality of these habitats has been substantially reduced, as a result of the introduction of rice fields and fish farms, and through abandonment. For example, strong pressure is being exerted to convert the saltpans into fish and shrimp farms. These activities need water levels high above those of the salt tanks and which are unsuitable for feeding and breeding of waders. The poaching of eggs and chicks by domestic animals and the lack of awareness among the local population and visitors contribute to the vulnerability of the area and habitat loss.


The objective was to combat the problems of habitat loss. Planned measures included the acquisition of around 100 ha of salt pans and the signing of management agreements for more than 150 ha. The actions would be followed by fencing, the repair of sluices and reservoirs and proper management of water levels to ensure ideal feeding and nesting conditions for birds. Other measures would include increased wardening throughout the SPA, measures to raise awareness among the salt workers and salt pan owners, the setting up of information trails and an observation station for the public, and the arranging of guided tours for local schools. There were also plans to produce a booklet and video and to organise a travelling exhibition.


The project failed to achieve its objectives. The beneficiary collected water samples in several saltpan areas in order to search for the possibility of getting some kind of salt certification, but this process didn't advance further. The project suffered severe delays in most of the actions. These were caused by the change of ICN’s presidency and the financial restrictions imposed by the new Portuguese Government during 2002, and unexpected problems, like the departure of project staff. The final report of 2006 confirmed that half of the actions were not executed and the remaining ones, with the exception of the actions linked to the project monitoring and awareness, were much reduced. Moreover, the beneficiary didn’t produce any of the intended deliverables.


Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


protected area‚  wetland

Target Habitat types

  • 01 - Unknown (site without information)

Natura 2000 sites

SPA PTZPE0011 Estuário do Sado



Coordinator Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado/Instituto da Conservação da Natureza
Type of organisation Development agency
Description Reserva Natural do Estuário do Sado/Instituto da Conservação da Natureza is the conservation agency for the Sado estuary.
Partners None


Project reference LIFE00 NAT/P/007088
Duration 01-JAN-2002 to 31-DEC -2005
Total budget 936,949.96 €
EU contribution 468,474.98 €
Project location Lisboa e vale do Tejo(Portugal) Alentejo(Portugal)


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