The environmental organisation has presented a proposal for a renaturalised strip to the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge after an analysis of the land uses in the perimeter zone and different legal and technical aspects. This strip would be very effective in preventing the entry of sediments laden with agrochemicals and fertilisers into the salt lagoon, as well as reducing flood damage. Ecologists in Action warns of the need to combine the renaturalised strip with other essential measures in the Campo de Cartagena. This measure would improve the landscape around the Mar Menor, increase its tourist attraction and promote new activities such as ecotourism, contributing to an economic sector that has been hard hit by the ecological collapse of the lagoon.
Ecologists in Action has submitted to the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge a proposal for a renaturalised perimeter strip in the Mar Menor. This is a strip of almost 15,000 ha – around 12% of the catchment area – where renaturation would be promoted, limiting agricultural and urban development activity. For example, wetlands in flood zones and local scrubland in other areas, to effectively curb inputs of fertilisers and sediments into the lagoon, in addition to other benefits. In the analysis, the administrative situation and the uses of the land near the salt lagoon were studied in an attempt to achieve a coherent and viable proposal.
The criteria used to delimit the strip included the natural drainage network, flood zones and preferential flow zones.
Reclaiming land with sediment retention functions
With this renaturalised perimeter strip Ecologistas en Acción aims to recover land with sediment retention functions and natural denitrifying activity, which are very effective, as can be seen in the Carmolí Marina. Likewise, the renaturalised strip would also reduce flood damage by improving the management of flood zones and retaining part of the water and sediments that now reach both the lagoon and the towns around the Mar Menor. It is also essential that in areas that are already urbanised, corrective measures are carried out to help reduce flood damage and pollution to the lagoon. As the environmental organisation points out, the origin of the increase in nutrients in the Mar Menor is not only to be found in the intensive use of fertilisers and agrochemicals by the agricultural industry, but also in farming techniques.
Therefore, for Ecologistas en Acción it is very important to recover the structure and functions of the natural network of wadis and flood zones throughout the Campo de Cartagena, the agri-environmental measures for soil and nutrient retention, and a final renaturalised strip that avoids pollution and the silting up of the lagoon, as well as damage to the population. “The proposal also identifies some 3,000 ha of unprotected and undeveloped land that could form part of a public acquisition programme to restore wetlands.