I came across this news in
British Birds website (contributed by Jeremy Brock) about the
restoration of Laguna del Cañizar which is a lake in the municipalities of
Villarquemado and Cella, Teruel province, Aragon, northeast Spain (see why I posted this at the end of the post):
credentials have received a boost with the restoration of a major inland
wetland, originally drained nearly 300 years ago. The Laguna del Cañizar near
the village of Villarquemado in Teruel province was drained in 1730 to provide
additional land and water for agriculture, and to combat malaria, which was
endemic in Spain at that time. Now, thanks to a government initiative, with the
help of local conservation volunteers and support from the local villagers,
much of the lake has been restored. Work began in 2006 and is still continuing,
but there are already substantial areas of open water and reedbeds. When fully
restored, this will be the second-largest freshwater lagoon in inland Spain.
Species such as Purple
Swamp-hen Porphyrio porphyrio and Eurasian Bittern Botaurus
stellaris have already returned, and a substantial population of Marsh
Harriers Circus aeruginosus has established itself. Regular visitors
include Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, Black Stork Ciconia
nigra and Great White Egret Ardea alba. A variety of wildfowl,
ranging from Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna to Red-crested Pochard Netta
rufina are wintering, and the lagoon is visited by large numbers of Common
Cranes Grus grus from the major wintering flock at another important
wetland, the Laguna de Gallocanta, 40 km to the north.
With two major wetlands
within easy reach of each other – and some splendid steppe in between – this
relatively unknown area of northeast Spain is well worth a visit.”
Please compare these beautiful pictures (above and below) with the ugly ones form Smir lagoon
, northern Morocco.
I also found this article: Rubio Dobón J.C. 2007. Pasado, presente y futuro de la laguna del Cañizar. Xiloca 35: 189-200. [PDF file], which its abstract says:
"The Cañizar Lake was one of
the largest freshwater wetlands of inner Spain. It extends along the shores of
Villarquemado, Cella and Santa Eulalia. Until recently, we didn’t know that it
existed. Nowadays, there is a project focused on its partial recuperation.
These works have been aimed with a double target: to improve the environment
and create an attractive natural area that generates a financial gain related
to rural and nature tourism".
More information and
photographs in the website of the "
Fundación laguna del Cañizar" at: http://www.lagunadelcanizar.es/
And what is the relation of all this to Morocco, the answer in three words: we should learn from this experience. Here in
morocco, we are unfortunately in a race against time to destroy our wetlands: Smir wetland (SIBE,
Site d'Intérêt Biologique et Ecologique) and the estuary of Oued Moulouya (Ramsar Site, Important Bird Area and SIBE) are being destroyed now. And what
is next in line?
One may say
"and the recent good action in Sebkha Bou Areg in Nador
, have you forget it?" No, I didn't forget, while it is true that Marchica ornithological park was a good initiative but it is equally hard to see that several hundreds of hectares of
wetland habitats are being lost somewhere else in Morocco.