Montreux Record update: Stagno di Molentargius removed


Italy removes Molentargius from the Montreux Record

The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Italy has completed the formalities for the removal of one of its Ramsar sites that has been on the Montreux Record of sites “where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring or are likely to occur” for quite a few years. According to documentation provided by the Administrative Authority in the Ministry of the Environment and Territory and the Sea, managers at “Stagno di Molentargius” have made substantial progress in resolving the problems for which the site was added to the Record in 1990, and after consultations with the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) it has been removed from the Record as of 2 July 2008.

“Stagno di Molentargius” (Ramsar site no. 133,  designated 14/12/76) represents a complex system of ecosystem units of great nature conservation value. It includes a diverse array of different habitats from freshwater basins (Bellarosa Minore and Perdalonga), salt water basins (Bellarosa Maggiore and salt ponds), coastal areas (Poetto beach), and a flat characterized by prevailing aridity (Is Arenas).

The Molentargius was included in the Montreux Record for industrial and urban effluent, illegal dumping and poaching, coastal urban development, which destroyed important nesting sites, and eutrophication problems. Articulated rehabilitation actions have been successfully taken to recover these areas at natural conditions since then.

The Ramsar Molentargius Consortium was created in 2002 together with the establishment “the Park Salt Ponds Molentargius” (identified by Sardinia Law N.5 (26.02.1999)). Rehabilitation actions were taken for:

  • freshwaters: through the reorganization of the hydraulic outflow system of Bellarosa Minore and Perdalonga Ponds (channels reshaped through ecosystem restoration techniques) by means of interception and interconnection.
  • salty waters: by changing the salt ponds water connection system (run by gravity up to beyond the coastal road and demolition / recovery of the beach stretch covered by the old water pumping station), by the addition of the new greater tributary channel Bellarosa Maggiore and the reactivation of an outlet channel(of Basso Fondo).
  • areas of greater conservation value by means of interventions for the Bellarosa and Perdalonga (physical demarcation of the sites), works to promote bird nesting and infrastructures dedicated to improving access to the park (trails and sighting points).
  • park management and control through the construction of infrastructure for the control (Sali Scelti building and appliances) and access to the park (parking areas and recreation areas on Cagliari and Quartu Sant’Elena side).
  • reuse of treated water: through the implementation of the water treatment and purification (ecological filter) to supply the Ponds with high quality water.
  • monitoring environmental health: with the creation of an information system for the monitoring of the pond ecosystem and the management of future projects and programmes.

Today the managing body is equipped with environmental monitoring (Environmental Molentargius Information system: SIAM) and verification tools enabling a connection with the metropolitan area of Cagliari which is deemed to recover the social, educational and scientific role of the Park.

The site shows a remarkable recovery since the problems were faced. More information is available in the questionnaire provided by the Italian Administrative Authority (PDF).

The Montreux Record was created by the Parties in 1990 to highlight those Wetlands of International Importance that require urgent conservation attention. Sites are added and removed from the Record at the request of the Party concerned in collaboration with the Secretariat and members of the STRP. There are presently 56 Ramsar sites on the Record, and over the years 26 sites have been removed from the list because of improvements in their situations. The Guidelines for listing and removing a site were defined by Resolution VI.1 (1996) and can be seen at

-- Monica Zavagli, Ramsar

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