Thursday, July 24, 2008

Salgados Meeting

Greater Flamingos over Salgados

The long-awaited official update from José Tavares (RSPB Country Programmes Officer for Portugal) about the progress on Lagoa dos Salgados has still not appeared.

On the 17th July I attended an on-site meeting at the lagoa together with Luís Costa (President of SPEA), Humberto Rosado (the new President of ICNB - Institute for Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity), João Ministro (Almargem - NGO environmental agency), Rui Eufrásia (Vigilante of Salgados IBA) together with a few other interested parties. The main purpose of this was to portray to ICNB the importance of giving SPA (Special Protection Area) status to this site in order to secure its future. This was the President of ICNB's first visit, he came away very impressed, and Luís Costa told me that he was now very optimistic that the lagoa would be given official protection the near future (at the moment is has none).

The SPEA and ICNB representatives were going on to a further meeting that afternoon with Aguas Algarve to discuss the water requirements which are going to be essential for the future of the wildlife there. The new ETAR (sewage treatment works) is due to be commissioned soon and this will be providing 'grey' water which has undergone tertiary treatment to remove harmful nitrates and phosphates as well as bio-toxins. This is more expensive than the current low level treatment provided by the existing and soon to be defunct ETAR and Aguas Algarve are looking to recover at least some of their costs be selling this water to adjacent golf courses for irrigation. The vital question now is who is going to pay for some of this water to be diverted into the lagoon to keep it topped up during the summer months.

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