From 2002 to 2006,

From 2002 to 2006, the Junta de Castilla y León, Fundación Global Nature and the Town Council of Fuentes de Nava conducted the  LIFE Project entitled “Conservation of the aquatic warbler in the ZEPA Nava – Campos” – LIFE 2002 NAT/E/8616, establishing the baseline for further initiatives for the conservation of the aquatic warbler in Spain.

Controlled grazing with horses. Source: FGN

Mecanic mowing. Source: FGN.

The main line of work within this project was the recovery of new wetlands and their adaptation to serve as stopover areas for the aquatic warbler. These actions were backed up by improvements in the existing lagoon environment. To this end, 68 ha were leased to increase the surface area of suitable land for this species, over 40 ha were purchased to serve as peripheral buffer zones and other improvements were made in water quality and flooding capabilities. In addition, this project aimed to enhance knowledge of the migratory behaviour of the aquatic warbler in the Laguna de la Nava environment, on which to build strategies and management measures that would favour the species on this natural space while remaining compatible with other lagoon management aims.

Biotope management comprised a group of actions carried out periodically in the wetland from the outset. These actions aimed to control wetland vegetation growth, which, in the absence of organisms that feed on it, accumulates and causes problems such as silting, eutrophization or biodiversity loss, through the homogenisation of the ecosystem. The  LIFE Project enabled four different management types to be tested: mowing, mechanical removal of vegetable matter, controlled grazing with horses and controlled burns.

Another important aspect of the project was the study of the aquatic warbler’s settlement in the lagoon environment, which required meticulous monitoring of the fauna present. This provided data on the phenology, abundance and selection of habitat by this species, by means of census patterns, scientific ringing and radio tracking.

Lastly, actions were conducted to enhance public uses on the lagoon such as informative routes, or for publicity purposes: T-shirts, stickers, pins or leaflets.

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