WWD plans for Mallorca in the Balearics
Pere Tomas-Vives, of the Grup Balear d'Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa based in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, reported to Valerie Higgins of the Bureau that the GOB, as apparently it is known, plans a number of WWD activities, including focusing media attention on some of the problems currently facing wetlands in the area.
Thanks very much for sending the posters of the WWD to GOB. These are some of the activities that we are planning to carry out in Mallorca on 1 or 2 February for the WWD:
publicise to the media the celebration of the WWD and a report about the critical situation of the wetlands in Mallorca and the Balearics in general; some examples are:
the destruction in 1996-1997 of a very well-conserved Tamarix forest wetland - a remnant of the Albufera de Mallorca Ramsar site and Natural Park in northeast Mallorca - under a brand new ring road of Alcudia town built by the Balearic Regional Government. This year the continuation of the same road is going to destroy another portion of freshwater marsh adjacent to s'Albufera. It is interesting to remark that the Mayor of the city of Alcudia is since summer 1997 Regional Minister of Environment, and he allowed the road to go through the wetland area, despite the ambitious restoration plan for the area prepared by the previous City Council and the previous Spanish Ministry of Environment.
the continuous degradation of the water quality and the dune system of Albufera de Mallorca Ramsar site and Natural Park, due to agricultural runoff from the adjacent intensive agricultural area and to uncontrolled massive access to the beaches, respectively.
lack of protection at Albufereta de Pollenca wetland, in the north of the island. Hunting pressure is excessive on this area and uncontrolled; last October, a Black stork (Ciconia nigra) was found shot dead in the area. The Regional Government resists proposing this area as Special Protected Area (SPA) under the EC Birds Directive, despite the fact that it fulfills many of the criteria; GOB has recently submitted a complaint to the European Commission for breaching the Birds Directive.
lack of surveillance and management of the Salinas de Levante (south of Mallorca), where some tourist agencies organize 4-wheels-drive tours for tourists through the marshes.
total lack of real protection and management to the Salinas de Ibiza y Formentera Ramsar site and Nature Reserve. The site was designated as a nature reserve in 1995, but since then no action has been taken to manage it, and it is suffering continuous degradation, despite the intervention of the Ramsar Bureau.
plans to build a new casino on a remaining small area of the Prat de Sant Jordi marshes; this extensive wetland located near Palma was reclaimed in the XIX century for agriculture; in the 1960s the fields were expropriated and converted into the Palma international airport, which receives over 9 million tourists from European countries each year.
plans exist to "relocate" another small semi-artificial wetland located in the airport area since an approach lane to the second runaway "has" to be built over it.
organize activities about wetlands: visit to s'Albufera of the GOB's infants group, visits to local wetlands by the local delegations of GOB...
create a Wetlands page in the GOB's Web site: http://www.ocea.es/gob/home.htm.
In addition, on 28 January, the 10th anniversary of the Albufera de Mallorca Natural Park -- release of a report about the situation '10 years after' and proposal for the enlargment of the natural park. On 31 January, activities of the GOB's Ornithology Team at the Salobrar de Campos-Salines de Llevant.
We will keep you informed of any other activities that we may organize. Saludos cordiales, Pere Tomas-Vives, Grup Balear d'Ornitologia i Defensa de la Naturalesa, Veri, 1, 3r, E-07001 Palma; ILLES BALEARS (Tel: + 34 71 721105; Fax: + 34 71 711375, e-mail: email@example.com).