List of actions
The 33 actions planned in the LIFE Project are grouped into 5 strategic areas:
A. Preparatory work, elaboration of management plans and/or work plans
|A.1 – Protocol for the capture and control of exotic fish populations.|
|A.2 – Protocol for the capture and control of exotic turtle populations.|
|A.3 – Protocol for the removal of species of exotic flora.|
|A.4 – Preparing a protocol for the breeding in captivity of Unio Elongatulus.|
|A.5 – Protocol for the strengthening of the Mediterranean Barbel population in the lake and ponds.|
|A.6 – Preparing the project to improve La Draga pond.|
|A.7 – Preparing the project to restore the left bank of Can Morgat stream.|
|A.8 – Revising and checking of the Fish Management Plan for the lake.|
|A.9 – Preparing and approval of an Action Plan for the habitats and species of the lake and surrounding area.|
B. Purchase/rent of land and/or rights
|B.1- Purchase of estates for the restoration of alluvial habitats.|
C. One-off tasks for the management of the biotope
|C.1 – Control programmes for exotic river fish species.|
|C.2 – Population growth of the Barbus Meridionalis in the lake and ponds.|
|C.3 – Capture and control of exotic turtles.|
|C.4 – Breeding and population growth of Emys orbicularis.|
|C.5 – Construction of sun platforms for Emys orbicularis and Mauremys leprosa.|
|C.6 – Breeding in captivity and semicaptivity of Unio elongatulus.|
|C.7 – Control of exotic flora species.|
|C.8 – Restauration of the lake's waterside wood habitats.|
|C.9 – Work to condition and improve La Draga pond.|
D. Public awareness and dissemination of results
|D.1 – Media and communication campaign.|
|D.2 – Celebration of the centenarary of the Festa del Peix (Fish Festival) and First Exhibition of Pisciculture.|
|D.3 – Exhibition about the problems of introducing non-native species and their influence on the loss of biodiversity at a global and local level.|
|D.4 – Maintenance of the website for Espai Natural and the LIFE project.|
|D.5 – Communication and information talks and seminars for all sections of the public.|
|D.6 – Publishing material to inform people about the latest developments and results for the LIFE project.|
|D.7 – Compilation and publication of control records for non-native species encountered by LIFE and others in Europe.|
|D.8 – Scientific-technical day on the application of techniques for the control of non-native species. Spanish area.|
E. Supervision of the running of the project in general
|E.1 – Formation of the project's management team – LIFE Office.|
|E.2 – Service monitoring support to the areas of action.|
|E.3 – Follow-up technical reports on the effects on the ecosystems.|
|E.4 – Preparing and carrying out of a protocol of ecological indexes of differents bodies of water.|
|E.5 – Financial auditing.|
|E.6 – Conservation and continuity plan.|
Details of each of the actions planned
A – Conservation work and habitat management
Planning and work is expected to be prepared and carried out on the waterside habitats of the lake and three main biological groups: fish, aquatic reptiles and mussels. Indirectly this work will also benefit various species and habitats of community interest: amphibians, aquatic birds, and macroinvertebrates, as well as habitats of submerged vegetation.
The main areas of work will be:
- Control non-native aquatic fauna. Campaigns of population decrease specifically designed for exotic fish, on one hand, and exotic turtles, on the other, will be carried out. The programming for these campaigns comes from a remarkable knowledge of the populations that will have to be subjected to controls and as well as of the available and most effective means of doing so. As a result, a combination of capture techniques (nets, traps and electrofishing) and a measurement of the required effort through a “feedback” process between the progressively obtained results and the design of the campaigns has been anticipated.
- Strengthening of populations of autochthonous aquatic fauna of community interest. The introduction of specimens from four species of community interest which are on the verge of extinction in the lake will be programmed (Unio elongatulus, Emys orbicularis, Mauremys leprosa and Barbus meridionalis), either with specimens coming from breeding programmes in captivity or from genetically homologous populations nearby. These repopulations will begin after the first intensive campaigns of population reduction of the exotic predatory fish. The creation of temporary facilities for the breeding and the maintenance of stocks of mussels and fish in captivity and semi-captivity is anticipated.
- Strategic improvements to the habitat of autochthonous species of community interest. Instalation of sun platforms for native turtles (Emys orbicularis and Mauremys leprosa).
- Control of exotic flora. Work to remove exotic flora will be carried out, especially of Pyracantha crenato-serrata, P. angustifolia, Ligustrum lucidum, Prunus cerasifera, that progressively invades and alters habitats of community interest in the SCI zone. Previously succesful techniques used in the zone (for example wood-cuttings and strimmings folllowed by the application in the stumps, rhizomes and new shoots of herbicides such as glisofat).
B – Purchase of land
Recovery of waterside habitats. An estate will be bought and alluvial vegetation will be planted to increase these habitats in the Banyoles ZEC (92A0 i 91E0*).
C – Technical follow-up of actions taken.
This project is innovative in regards to the extent of its intervention against invasive species, especially in some of its more specific aspects such as the control of populations of exotic fish in a large body of water. Because of this it is necessary to carry out a comprehensive follow-up (monitoring) of the actions and the effects they produce in the subaquatic environment. It is anticipated that follow-ups will have to be carried out on the species or habitats directly affected: fish, turtles, mussels and vegetation. In addition, the evolution of other groups of organisms will also be followed either for community interest, for the high indicatory value, or for both reasons, many of which are likely to see benefits from the conservation action: macroinvertebrates (odonata, etc), amphibians and aquatic birds. The methodology of these follow-ups will depend on each case, with standard methods always applied when available. In the case of fish and aquatic turtles, the follow-ups will be based in part on the results of the control programmes. In the case of amphibians and birds the participation of expert voluntary workers will be relied upon.
On the other hand, protocols will be designed that include appraisal indexes and the long-term follow-up of the ecological state of the lake, the ponds and their surroundings, so the impact of the project's actions and of the management of the environment that will start can be known. Finally, the pisicultural management plan will be improved and a handling and good management plan will be prepared and approved by the Consorci de l'Estany (Consortium formed by the County Council of Girona and the town councils of Porqueres and Banyoles) and competent organisations. This plan will include protocols for the sustainable control of invasive species.
D – Raising awareness of the project and its results.
Raising awareness of the project and its results will be achieved by different means that combined include the whole range of media and participation.
It is anticipated that the local and regional audience will be addressed through flyers, posters, an exhibition on the exotic species and the historic effect of the pisicultural repopulations. The commemoration of the centenary of the first Festa del Peix (Fish Festival) – launched by Banyoles Town Council in 1910 - will also be used to raise awareness of the problems of introducing non-native species. An album of stickers of the natural area will be produced with the lake's mascot, “Blauet” (Kingfisher). A radio programme, an environmental programme for Catalonia's local television channels, improvements to the web, etc will also take place.
Communication to the scientific and technical community will be based on the publication on the internet of all reports and protocols that are written, and also from management plans. Some technical days focused on the management and control of exotic species from humid areas are also foreseen, with the subsequent digital publication of the reports. On the other hand, the publication in the form of compiled technical cards on the techniques and methods of control and elimination of exotic species in the European Mediterranean is foreseen.