A new project to restore salt marshes in the Bay of Cadiz

The Bahía de Cadiz is one of the pilot sites included in the Outcome Action Plan on Coastal Wetlands aiming to reverse water abstraction and unsustainable coastal development and to promote nature-based solutions to restore wetlands in the Mediterranean. BirdLife International, SEO/BirdLife and Salarte recently made an important step by starting to restore the Balbanera saltmarshes and salinas, an emblematic enclave of the municipality of Puerto Real in Spain, strategically located inside the Natural Park of the Bay of Cadiz and within the Natura 2000 Network.

This project is part of a broader initiative implemented throughout the Bay of Cadiz and which analyses the ecosystem services offered by these areas. The initiative is also studying what nature-based solutions can be implemented to reduce threats and enhance these services, such as carbon sequestration and buffering of coastal erosion or flooding, in addition to the value for food production and economic and social development, in harmony with biodiversity conservation.

Currently, there are only nine active salt pans in the bay and more than 3,000 hectares of these traditional sea salt extraction systems are abandoned. For this reason, the project to restore this salina is particularly important, as it aims to be an example of the recovery of this type of wetland, making economic and social development compatible with biodiversity conservation, one of the principles governing the Natura 2000 Network sites in Spain and Europe. It will also demonstrate the multiple benefits of coastal wetlands and their important role in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

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