Camargue: hydraulic restoration, habitat restoration, construction and fencing of breeding sites

Camargue, breeding isltes for flamingos, photo J E Roche

Water circulation for salt production at Anciens Salins de Beauduc has been reduced since 2008 and it is expected to be fully withdrawn by 2011 or 2012. If no action is taken to restore the hydrology of these lagoons, the whole area will eventually dry out for prolonged periods, resulting in increased degradation of the priority habitat 1150* and the complete loss of suitable conditions for breeding colonial waterbirds. The aim of this action is focused on restoration of habitats Mediterranean salt steppes* (1510), with additional target habitats including Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) (1410), Mediterranean halophilous scrubs (1420) and Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand (1310).

This will be implemented through the restoration of a number of natural hydrological connections (locally called ‘gazes’) that have been suppressed in the past for the needs of salinity and water level control for salt production. The restoration of ‘gazes’ will require important actions of mud removal and it will also require the removal of several stretches of embankments in order to suppress salt works partitioning. Works will address the priority issue of restoring water connections between the water basin (including Etang du Vaccarès hydrosystem) and Etang du Fangassier and Etang du Galabert lagoons.

Construction works will be carried out for the restoration and creation of breeding sites for colonial waterbirds focusing on 1) Greater Flamingo and 2) mixed-colonies of Pied Avocet, Slender-billed and Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich, Gull-billed, Little and Common Tern. Based on the executive projects of action A6, a large islet will be constructed for Greater Flamingos.

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