With the European Natura 2000 Day now approaching, we have included this news about the volunteering days undertaken in Cantabria in 2016, within the framework of the Life+ARCOS project.
Today is not just any ordinary day; we are celebrating the European Natura 2000 Day, and to do this we are holding some environmental awareness activities and carrying out work to control invasive exotic species on the Berria beach dunes (Santoña). One of the beaches included in the European dune conservation and restoration project Life+ARCOS.
On this occasion, pupils from Argoños (Pedro Santiuste Primary School) and Santoña (Macías Picavea Primary School), visited the Berria beach dune system in Santoña on 10th and 12th May 2016, walking along the stretch to discover the dune and its flora and fauna, led by instructors from the Cantabrian Rural Development Network (RCDR in Spanish) who work at the Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Marshes Natural Park Interpretation Centre. The pupils were fascinated and their constant questions helped the Cantabrian Rural Development Network instructors from Cantabria (NATUREA programme) to explain all the ins and outs of the unique flora and fauna species that inhabit the dunes.
The activities ended with the mini planting of grasses from the tertiary dunes Festuca vasconcensis – which was the activity that all the pupils had been excitedly waiting for.
The volunteering activities have not yet finished on the Berria dunes, and some other control activities of invasive species have been carried out with the NACAR Programme (Nature and Prison) and by the Cantabrian AMICA, SERCA and AMPROS groups.
19th May 2016 was a mostly cloudy day with the odd spot of rain, but even so activities commenced to remove invasive species from the tertiary dune on Berria beach, with a group of 6 inmates from the El Dueso Penitentiary Centre. The work setting – Berria beach nestled between two limestone massifs (El Brusco to the west and Mount Buciero to the east) – was spectacular. The dune systems here are rich in unique species of flora and fauna such as the Linaria supina subspecies. maritima.
This season an invasive exotic species – Capeweed (Artotheca calendula) – has been spotted flowering on the pathways that run alongside the Berria beach and at the main entrance to the dunes next to the apartment buildings. To avoid this concentration of invasive species, thirteen 120L-bags were filled, leaving the area free from the invasive plant.
On 20th May 2016 work was carried out next to the El Brusco hill on the Berria beach. Staff from AMICA, SERCA and AMPROS joined forces to take action against the invasive species and to commemorate the European Natura 2000 Day.
The work was arduous, and the teams split the work into collecting and cleaning both rubbish and the capeweed, which was in full bloom. Some workers, such as those from AMICA and AMPROS, contributed their far-reaching experience in this kind of manual control of invasive species, whilst the SERCA team, in training for gardening tasks, thoroughly enjoyed the hugely constructive learning experience.
A total of 75 kg of waste were collected, of which 58 kg comprised organic waste, 17 kg recyclable waste, and 103 kg capeweed.
Everyone worked extremely hard, managing to control the growth of capeweed throughout 2016 in the Berria beach dune system (Santoña). Over the coming years, maintenance work must be carried out to keep the reservoir of the seeds of this species under check.