The Algarve has a special resource, namely Lagoa dos Salgados. We understand this area has no protected status and would like to know, in light of the landscaping work carried out some years ago to enhance the habitat for birds, what is projected to safeguard this area for the future.
After spending our 13th consecutive winter in the area, we, as are many others, concerned for the welfare of this valuable resource.
Since the landscaping was completed, there is no evidence that any maintenance or management work has been carried out.
The boardwalk constructed is a great success and has the advantage of preventing most of the responsible public from walking though the areas where nature can be left in peace. However, due to lack of management, particularly of the reeded sections, the views from the boundaries, boardwalk and viewing areas are severely restricted.
This lack of management also applies to the causeway section (separating the two halves of the Lagoon) and the western edges, where the vegetation has been allowed to grow unconstrained. The islands created in the southern section also suffer from unrestricted growth, with the added problem of flooding.
The constant failure to maintain a suitable water level in this section leads to birds being unable to nest or roost on these islands in safety. Indeed, this winter the water was left to reach an alarming level with the result that birds were going elsewhere. Some of the islands were under water for weeks. Flamingos were noticeably absent as were many wading birds.
The area adjacent to the lagoon is being destroyed by unrestricted access particularly by irresponsible motorists and particularly Motorhomes which are now being parked for long periods in the grassland over the winter period, thereby not allowing plant regeneration and damaging the land. We saw four-wheeled drive vehicles destroying the pathways and ditches too.
The whole area is being overtaken by bushes (Retama sp.?) and is heavily grazed by sheep and goats. Whilst grazing can be beneficial it leaves the area bereft of native wild flowers (see pictures) which has a knock-on effect for the nature cycle. The vehicles and grazing is having an adverse effect on the rare protected plant Linaria Algarviana that grows here.* This winter there were considerably less sightings of the Iberian Hare and Red-legged Partridge due to the lack of cover.
Dogs are another problem, irresponsible/ignorant owners ignoring the ‘keep dogs on a lead’ sign that we and others have fought to preserve for some 12 years and which is all but destroyed at present. Importantly, efforts should be made to reinstate stolen boundary poles (viewing screen area) and educational signs erected advising the public not to walk or allow their dogs between these poles up to the water margins, which obviously is detrimental to the small small birds who need these areas to feed. Plus it would help to avoid confrontational issues.
We are aware of the commercial development plans that have been around for a while now, and the survey which is under way, but clarity is required by many hundreds (thousands?) of visitors, particularly bird watchers as to the future of the Lagoon.
The benefits (?) and negative impact of the proposed development have been extensively covered before, but action is required now to prevent this important international site becoming piece of scrub land with a pool, giving an excuse for unnecessary development.
CLICK HERE to see historical photos of the area.
*This subject was covered in a an article here: https://algarvedailynews.com/cases/salgados/2659-protected-rare-plant-may-save-salgados
Courtesy of Frank McClintock.
Online petition is HERE