Italy removes Stagno di Cagliari from the Montreux Record


Progress at the last of Italy's Montreux Record sites

The Secretariat is pleased to announce that Italy has completed the formalities for the removal of its last Ramsar site 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 Cagliari” on the island of Sardinia 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  25 November 2008.

“Stagno di Cagliari” (Ramsar site no. 134, designated 14/12/1976) represents a typical humid environment of the Mediterranean biogeographical region characterized by the presence of brackish, salt and freshwater. The site comprises a large, coastal lagoon, converted to 2,000 ha of salt pans, and a dune system. The lagoon is fed with fresh water by the Cixerri and Mannu rivers. Vegetation consists of extensive reedbeds and salt-tolerant plants. The lagoon supports rich fish and invertebrate faunas and is a critical habitat for numerous important species of breeding, wintering and staging waterbirds.

The site was included in the Montreux Record in 04/07/1990 for excessive anthropogenic disturbance, increasing industrialization associated with urban and agriculture effluent from the city of Cagliari and its surroundings, and eutrophication.

Restoration and ameliorative measures have been taken since then."Stagno di Cagliari" was granted a co-financing under Life Nature'96. An institutional entity, named the "Intercommunal Office for the management of the SPA Stagno di Cagliari”, was established and carried out several activities for the recovery of the natural lagoon ecosystem and various other measures aiming at sustainable management of the site through  updating the management plan and simultaneously increasing monitoring activities and environmental education initiatives. Environmental investigations were conducted to check the state of environmental health of potential targets of contamination.

A further protection to the site was given throughout international recognition status: “Santa Gilla” pond has been designated “Special Protection Area” under Directive 79/409/EEC as well as proposed as a Site of Community Importance under the Directive 92/43/EEC. The wetland was also included in the list of sites important for bird life in Europe under the IBA Program (Important Bird Areas)

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 55 Ramsar sites on the Record, and over the years 27 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 caxref:2169.

-- Monica Zavagli, Ramsar

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