Among the actions of the LIFE Salinas project is the construction and refurbishment of 1,800 longitudinal meters of saltworks barriers. This action will improve the water circulation and its evaporation within the saltworks circuit, increasing the benefits on the biodiversity of this ecosystem.
The irregularities and holes that remain in the submerged base of these barriers make up refuge and reproduction microhabitats for the spanish killifish (Aphanius Iberus), a species currently listed as endangered (EN) internationally and included in Annex II of the Habitats Directive. In turn, the increased circulation of water will improve the current state of the macroinvertebrate community, an essential trophic link for spanish killifish and the populations of waterbirds associated with this wetland.
Without a doubt, waterbirds will be the group most favoured by this action. Terns, Audouin gulls or pied avocets, are some of the species that are found in these barriers new nesting habitats. In the last decades, the reproduction area of these species in the San Pedro del Pinatar saltworks has been drastically reduced, as a consequence of the vegetation increase, a situation favored by the “fertilizer” of the substrate through from the guano of the growing yellow-legged gull population. The halophilic vegetation that grows in these environments forms protected and priority conservation habitats within the European Union, being unfeasible their management or control.
This winter, the first construction and sealing of barriers carried out with a substrate obtained from the bottoms of salt ponds, whose high content of chlorides and sulfates will hinder and limit the development of vegetation. We hope that the creation of these green infrastructures will allow to expand the nesting area of the waterbirds that living in the Salinas and Arenales de San Pedro del Pinatar Regional Park.