The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition has submitted to public information the preliminary version of the draft decree of the Consell by which it is intended to declare as Special Conservation Zone (ZEC) the Laguna de Salinas, the Salero and Cabecicos de Villena, the Maigmó and the Sierras de la Foia de Castalla, the Arenal del Almorxó de Petrer and the Sierra de Salinas. These seven enclaves in the interior of the province are currently classified as Places of Community Interest (SCI) but the Council wants to expand their level of protection.
In the same announcement that the Official Gazette of the Generalitat Valenciana publishes on February 19, 2021, it also informs about the management standard of these ZEC and the Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA) of the Sierra de Salinas, Maigmó i Sierras de la Foia de Castalla, Río Monnegre, Cabeço d’Or i la Grana as well as the strategic environmental and territorial study together with its public participation plan and technical memory.
During the period of 45 working days, interested persons may submit all kinds of allegations, observations or suggestions regarding the plans that the General Directorate of Natural Environment and Environmental Assessment has to “shield” the landscapes and ecosystems of all the aforementioned areas.
After knowing the draft of the decree that raises the declaration of Special Conservation Area of the Sierra Salinas, Cabecicos and Salero places in Villena, the mayor of the Environment of this municipality, Francisco Iniesta, has described it as “very good news because the declaration of these areas will improve their protection.
Iniesta has pointed out the need to review the proposal of the Conselleria by all the agents interested in the matter, as the municipal Department of the Environment will do.
The Cabecicos and Salero area covers an area of 718 hectares in the municipality of Villena and, according to the description made by the Department itself in its documentation, it comprises «an interior lagoon characterized by the saline character of its waters, a character that derives from the presence of Triassic outcrops; on the other, these same outcrops form a relief in hills -the so-called Cabecicos- that house an interesting gypsicultural vegetation and also preserve the remains of the infrastructures associated with the use of salt. In the case of the Sierra de Salinas it is about 8,000 hectares of surface that share the terms of Villena and Salinas bordering with Monóvar, Yecla and Pinoso.
Monnegre River and Cabeço d’Or
The Monnegre river is born at 1,100 meters high in the Sierra de Onil. In its course is the 16th century Tibi reservoir and flows into El Campello after crossing a good part of the Huerta de Alicante. The Cabeço d’Or i la Grana extends through the terms of Xixona, Busot, Aigües, Relleu and Torremanzanas, in the surroundings of the Font Roja de Alcoy Natural Park. Finally, in the northwest of the municipality of Petrer, the municipal natural site of Arenal del Almorxó constitutes a dune formation that stands out for its geological and biological uniqueness. With an area of more than 50 hectares, there is a flora micro-reserve inside.
The declaration as ZEC would give way to include all these natural habitats in the Natura 2000 Network with all the guarantees and management standards for their complete protection. In short, a more efficient mechanism to avoid the loss of the rich biodiversity that these Alicante enclaves host.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.