The Generalitat will declare wet zone the final stretch of the Seco-Montnegre river, protection that will cover an area of 49 hectares which in the last decade has become an orchard due to the water poured out by the Sant Joan treatment plant. The Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Climate Emergency and Ecological Transition has put out to public display the modification of the Community’s Humid Zones Catalog, which includes the inclusion of the mouth of the Seco River, thus agreeing to the request of ecologists and the full from El Campello, in which term most of this wetland is located, along with a small part of Sant Joan.
The announcement was published in the Official Gazette of the Generalitat on November 9, with the new seven wetlands that are incorporated into the catalog, and gives one month for the presentation of allegations.
The file corresponding to the Seco-Montnegre river indicates that the protection will run from the A-70 highway bridge to the mouth, becoming a wetland. And it covers an area of 49 hectares, the equivalent of about 67 football fields. And it stands out that the channel has a sheet of water, marsh vegetation and riverside, constituting a typical Mediterranean promenade, with an important function of evacuating avenue flows. The treatment plant is precisely located next to the highway bridge, so the wetland extends throughout the riverbed that is watered by its waters.
There are currently 48 cataloged wetlands in the Community, and the Generalitat began the procedure a year ago to incorporate seven new areas, including the Montnegre-Seco River, which will become the second in the region together with the Saladar de Agua Amarga ( Alicante).
The aim is to provide “specific protection” to these new areas that are incorporated into the catalog, “in order to guarantee the conservation and sustainable use of these ecosystems.” Along with the Seco River, they also include the La Pedrera reservoir in Vega Baja, the Gaianes lagoon in El Comtat and the Prat-Rodriguillo in Pinoso.
Friends of the Wetlands
From Amigos de los Humedales del Sur de Alicante (AHSA) its vice president Miguel Ángel Pavón valued «positively that steps are being taken from the Ministry of Ecological Transition to include the mouth of the Seco river in the catalog. An inclusion that we have been demanding together with other groups, such as Ecologists in Action, since 1998. We hope that this inclusion will finally take place, although we regret that other wetlands of l’Alacantí, such as the Rabasa lagoons, are not included in this modification of the catalog. the Fontcalent salt marsh or the Tibi reservoir, where the Montnegre is born, which are also historical demands of the environmental movement. From AHSA we will present allegations to this modification requesting the inclusion of those other wetlands in the region.
An oasis since 2011
The plenary session of El Campello unanimously approved almost two years ago a US motion to safeguard this valuable ecosystem with its inclusion in the catalog. A natural setting that in the last decade has become an orchard thanks to the fact that the Sant Joan treatment plant, inaugurated in 2011, discharges all its regenerated water into the Seco River, which has increased its flora and fauna in an extraordinary way, counting up to 47 species bird’s. And precisely for a few days that flow can already be used in part by the irrigators of the region, since the works of the Generalitat have already finished that have made it possible to connect the treatment plant with El Pantanet de Mutxamel. Of course, an ecological flow of at least 600,000 m3 per year is maintained from the nearly 2,000,000 m3 per year that it discharges since 2011.
From the US of El Campello they have celebrated this measure and hope that it is a first step towards a more ambitious project so that this entire river is a wetland and a Special Bird Protection Area (ZEPA), since the Tibi reservoir is within the catalog and there the ZEPA del Montnegre starts. And from the government team PP and Cs they have stressed that the Seco River will be promoted and valued with trails, and even a greenway is proposed that connects with Sant Joan and Mutxamel, with wooden bridges, for walkers and cyclists , also contemplating the installation of sighting points for birds.
CHJ tries to eradicate an invasive aquatic plant
Between August and October, the Júcar Hydrographic Confederation (CHJ) carried out an action in the Seco river to curb the “Hydrocotyle ranunculoides” species, known as redondita de agua. It is an invasive aquatic plant that had occupied the sheet of water, reducing light and oxygen and making indigenous life difficult.
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