Work to redevelop Lagoa dos Salgados area starts

Lagoa dos Salgadosin Silves is to undergo a major redevelopment programme “to ensure the protection of its flora and fauna, namely birdlife”, announced water supply and wastewater treatment company Águas do Algarve, the entity responsible for implementing the project.

In a press statement, Águas do Algarve informed that the “coastal lagoon was an important bird area” and vital for the reproduction of various species, and thus required “priority actions” to ensure its protection. Works were due to begin this week.

“Various studies have been carried out to identify priority areas such as improving the sustainability of this important wetland and ensure its ecological role can be preserved,” said Águas do Algarve.

The project being implemented aims to provide solutions to a series of issues identified, such as disturbances caused by humans visiting the area, habitat limitations resulting from the agricultural status of the land and so providing little shelter for birds, threats to reproduction activity due to sudden seawater intrusion leading to water level variations, and the need to maximise on the economic potential of the lagoon through sustainable activities that value its worth, such as birdwatching.

According to Águas do Algarve, the necessary conditions are now in place to begin redevelopment work in the lagoon area, following a partnership between the water company and the Portuguese Environment Agency office in Faro.

These works are part of a project by Águas do Algarve that includes the construction of a wastewater pumping system in the area.

The main actions to be carried out are the construction of a wooden walkway along the right banks of the lagoon to include several birdwatching huts, the installation of signs forbidding motor vehicles to enter the area, the creation of islets and sheltered areas providing protection for birds and their nests, and the plantation of various indigenous shrub species along a four-metre wide “corridor” along the lagoon margins.

Work is expected to start this week and run until March to respect the bird nesting season, with work on the lagoon taking place from September 17 to January 16.

Águas do Algarve further informed that due to the good quality of the lagoon water, the need to lower its level by emptying it into the sea on September 18 should not result in a swimming ban at the adjacent Praia dos Salgados.

The project to redevelop the lagoon area and build the wastewater pump is estimated at €1million.