CONVIVE-LIFE - Integration of human activities in the conservation objectives of the Natura 2000 Network in the littoral of Cantabria

LIFE14 NAT/ES/001213

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Contact details:

Contact person: Jose Antonio Juanes de la Peña
Tel: 34942201616
Email: juanesj@unican.es

Project description:


The aquatic coastal areas’ management plan of Natura 2000 sites in Cantabria highlights the main risk factors for good conservation status of habitats and species of Community interest in estuaries, and the physical processes that guarantee the ecosystem to develop. As with other estuaries in the EU, an important aspect of these factors are hydromorphological alterations. These can be derived from productive uses (e.g. dykes for agroforestry use); and educational uses (e.g. ethnographic use of tidal mills). The alteration of tidal inundation regimes and the changes in the sedimentary characteristics derived from these pressures favour the spread of invasive alien species (e.g. Baccharis halimifolia), a new threat for biodiversity.


The CONVIVE-LIFE project’s general objective is to improve the conservation status of habitats and species of Community interest by restoring ecological and hydrodynamic functioning.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Reduce direct pressure on biological diversity, by improving the conservation status of vulnerable estuarine habitats and species of Community interest;
  • Promote the sustainable development of educational, cultural and leisure activities in estuarine systems;
  • Improve estuarine ecological restoration in the Atlantic biogeographical region by promoting a participative planning approach, knowledge management and the dissemination of results; and
  • Improve the conservation status of estuarine marine birds and habitats across the Natura 2000 coastal area of Cantabria, through the design and drafting of an inundation management plan on coastal lagoons (both natural and anthropic).
  • Expected results:

  • Restoration of a favourable conservation status of the coastal salt meadows’ habitats (currently not favourable) across the Natura 2000 sites of Cantabria. The elimination of the invasive alien plant Baccharis halimifolia in Tina Menor, the Capitán estuary, Joyel estuary and Victoria lagoon will allow the marsh areas to be restored and potential habitat for species of the salt meadows habitats to be developed;
  • Improvement of the conservation status of sandbanks’ habitats, mudflats or sand flats not covered with water in low tide, annual pioneering vegetation with Salicornia; and other species from muddy and sandy areas, and grasslands of Spartina;
  • Improvement of the conservation status of marine birds and habitats, placing emphasis on spatula (Platalea leucorodia), grey heron (Ardea cinerea) and purple heron (Ardea purpurea) through the elimination of pressures and the design of a water level management plan;
  • Update of the Community interest species inventory in the Natura 2000 sites in the coastal area of Cantabria that are not integrated and completion of the declaration forms;
  • Restoration of connectivity in the Oyambre estuary site, by removing the dyke that currently restrains tidal flow; and
  • Improvement in the connectivity of the Joyel estuary site, while protecting the Santa Olaja mill.



Environmental issues addressed:


Habitats - Coastal
Biodiversity issues - Invasive species


biodiversity‚  coastal area

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds (02.04.1979)
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Target species

 Ardea purpurea   Ixobrychus minutus   Platalea leucorodia   Recurvirostra avosetta     

Target Habitat types

  • 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)"
  • 9340 - Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests
  • 1130 - Estuaries
  • 1140 - Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide
  • 1110 - Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time
  • 1310 - Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand
  • 1320 - Spartina swards (Spartinion maritimae)
  • 1330 - Atlantic salt meadows (Glauco-Puccinellietalia maritimae)
  • 1420 - Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)
  • 2110 - Embryonic shifting dunes
  • 4090 - Endemic oro-Mediterranean heaths with gorse

Natura 2000 sites

SPA ES0000143 Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel y Ría de Ajo
SCI ES1300003 Rias occidentales y Duna de Oyambre
SCI ES1300007 Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel



Type of organisation Research institution
Description The Institute of Environmental Hydraulics, IH Cantabria, is a joint research centre of the University of Cantabria and the Environmental Hydraulics Institute of Cantabria (FIHAC). It is involved in research, technology transfer and the training of specialists. IH Cantabria has around 140 researchers and many years of experience in the fields of hydrodynamics, oceanography, processes of sediment transport, engineering, ports, coasts and rivers, coastal environmental sciences, integrated coastal zone management and integrated management of water systems.
Partners TNSL(TINAMENOR.S.L.), Spain CGPYDR(CONSEJERÍA DE GANADERÍA, PESCA Y DESARROLLO RURAL del GOBIERNO DE CANTABRIA), Spain SEO(Sociedad Española de Ornitología), Spain Arnuero(AYUNTAMIENTO DE ARNUERO), Spain COPSESA(Constructora Obras Públicas San Emeterio S.A), Spain


Project reference LIFE14 NAT/ES/001213
Duration 20-OCT-2015 to 30-OCT -2020
Total budget 1,325,680.00 €
EU contribution 794,257.00 €
Project location Cantabria(España)


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Project web site Project's website


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