New wetlands from the improvement of navigation

One of the best examples of how the Working with Nature approach relies on sustainable management is provided by the confined disposal facilities of the Port of Seville.

These confined disposal facilities are areas where the Port Authority has deposited the sediments dredged from the navigation channel during the maintenance campaigns. The new protocol that the Port Authority is applying was developed by the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas to establish alternative areas for the wetland bird population in the Doñana region.

This protocol includes measures for the morphological formation of the confined disposal facilities and for managing the water cover. Once the sediments have been extracted, the sustainable management protocol explains how to distribute the materials in the confined disposal facilities to improve the biodiversity. One the one hand, it defines the form of these spaces to create more protected areas for the birds and proposes the creation of internal dikes and islets to offer more protection from predators.

On the other, it includes steps for the installation of sluices to ensure a minimum layer of water in the confined disposal facilities during the breeding season. This means that the birds will have alternative wetlands when there is little rainfall, during the spring and summer.

The Port of Seville is the first in Spain to balance the management of the sediments dredged in maintenance work with the creation of a habitat for aquatic bird life.

Over 50 species registered

Since the protocol was first applied, the Port Authority and CSIC have registered a total of 52 species of water birds in the confined disposal facilities. Of all those registered, four species are classified as in danger of extinction: the ferruginous duck, the marbled duck, the squacco heron and the red-knobbed coot, while one other, the osprey is endangered.

Moreover, nine species have successfully nested in the confined disposal facilities. Among these is the ferruginous duck, a very rare species classed in the National Catalogue of Threatened Species as in danger of extinction. Other breeding species spotted in the region include the black-winged stilt, the pied avocet, the eurasian coot, the mallard, the red-crested pochard, the little grebe, the common moorhen and the little-ringed plover.

Examples of flamingos, swamphens, glossy ibis, spoonbills and purple herons have also been spotted feeding in the area, as well as many species of waders who choose to winter here or pass through, and other species of anatidae.

On the other hand, the protocol establishes steps for bee eaters, which are on the list of species needing special protection, to nest here Permanent and temporary embankments have been created in the area, and colonised by the this species.

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