Aerial view Of Salgados Photo
Salgados Lagoon surrounded by virtually untouched land Photo: FRANK MCCLINTOCK

“2021 highlight”: Environmental NGOs hail bid to grant Salgados Lagoon protected status

The proposal to grant Silves’ Lagoa dos Salgados wetland “protected natural reserve” status has been hailed as one of the highlights of 2021 by three environmental NGOs.

The proposal is undergoing a period of public discussion until January 20 to collect people’s opinions on the bid.

Quercus has celebrated the bid, calling it a “positive sign” after a “regrettable” 21-year period without the creation of a new natural reserve in Portugal.

“Lagoa dos Salgados and the Armação de Pêra Sapal boast an exceptional array of natural values, particularly aquatic birds, having become one of the country’s most visited birdwatching spots,” says the NGO.

Quercus adds that it hopes the bid will serve as an “example for other similar areas in the near future”.

Liga para a Proteção da Natureza (LPN) has also singled out the bid as one of the highlights of 2021 for the environment in Portugal.

“This is great news because our country and the world need more areas dedicated to nature conservation. But just as important as receiving this status is guaranteeing that the management of these areas becomes more effective,” says LPN in a review of 2021 posted on its website.

Last but not least, environmental association Zero has also pinpointed the bid as one of the ‘positives’ for the environment in 2021, pointing out how environmentalists have been calling for the creation of the Lagoa dos Salgados Natural Reserve for decades.

“This shows that political powers, when they are committed, can counteract movements that are incompatible with the safeguarding of public interests,” says Zero.
In December, environmental association Almargem also celebrated the latest development.

“This is, without a doubt, a historic mark for the conservation of nature in the Algarve, but it is also a victory for everyone who, over two decades, has fought for Lagoa dos Salgados to receive protected status,” it said.

Portugal’s Environment Minister has also thrown his support behind the cause.

“Those who are here understand the two reasons why this should be a protected area: due to its natural beauty and because it acts as a 400-hectare buffer zone to ensure the quality of the ecosystem and the preservation of the Algarve and the country’s territory,” said João Pedro Matos Fernandes last month during a ceremony in Silves which formally unveiled the bid.

To participate in the public discussion, search for ‘Proposta de Classificação da Reserva Natural da Lagoa dos Salgados’ on www.participa.pt

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com