The Ebro Delta Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site in Catalonia is one of the most threatened wetlands in Spain. It is a fluvial delta, including shallow coastal waters, beaches, dunes, saline lagoons, salinas, freshwater marshes and freshwater pools fed by groundwater springs. The site supports internationally important number of species of water birds, and up to 30,000 pairs of waterbirds nest and 180,000 individuals winter at the site annually (Ramsar Convention, 1999).
According to the regional government (Generalitat de Catalunya), there are more than 310,000 birds from 90 different species, an increase of almost 30%. However, the data collected are from 2014, and 76% of rice fields remained inundated when the bird census was carried out. For this reason, SEO BirdLife, a pioneer organization working for nature conservation in Spain, has published a report about the present situation in the Park, in collaboration with the technicians working there.
The report affirms that due to regression, climate changes, plagues and human activity, the Ebro Delta Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site has become one of the most endangered natural areas of the Mediterranean. Although climate change is difficult to evaluate, the technicians point out that there is scope for action in the so-called “carrying capacity” of the site, that is, the ability of the ecosystem to support migratory birds.
As the park’s managers insist, “We need to have at least 50% of Ebro Delta rice fields inundated permanently to welcome birds”. In spite of an Apple Snail (Pomacea canaliculata) plague and the regression of some species, such as the duck, other bird populations are stable and they still choose this site to stop during their migratory cycle.
If you want to know more about the Ebro Delta Biosphere Reserve and Ramsar Site, watch the video here
Delta de l’Ebre