Chronicle #2: Celebrating Natura 2000 day. Removing capeweed plants from Helgueras (Noja)

The companies AMICA, AMPROS and SERCA received training and volunteered for the LIFE ARCOS project

We celebrated European Natura 2000 Network day on 18 May 2018 with a new volunteer and training event on invasive flora with the LIFE ARCOS Project from the Directorate-General of Natural Environment of the Regional Ministry of Rural Affairs, Fisheries and Food of the Government of Cantabria.

On this occasion, the Cantabrian companies AMICA, AMPROS and SERCA worked to control the cape weeds that was starting to bloom in the tertiary dunes of the Helgueras beach dune system in Noja (within the Santoña, Victoria and Joyel Marshes Natural Park).  After listening to a brief speech from the natural park director, Lourdes González, the three teams from AMICA, AMPROS and SERCA got to work.  30 people worked within plots marked with temporary plastic tape. They collected approximately 300 kg of cape weeds (Arctotheca calendula), and 10 kg of ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis) was also found.  The participants learned to distinguish the characteristics of the cape weeds among other well-preserved and blooming dune plant species such as the sea potato, sea beet, Virginia stock, shore bindweed, European searocket, petty spurge, etc.

The work area included dunes closed years ago to regenerate dune vegetation at Helgueras beach.


Closed dunes of the LIFE ARCOS project

Although the area was quite clean, volunteers also collected 2 kg of non-biodegradable bags. 

The day concluded with a visit from the Mayor of Noja, Miguel Ángel Ruiz, the city councillor of the environment, Javier Martín, and two environmental technicians from the City Hall of Noja, Silvia Ochoa y Ludovico de Vega, who visited the volunteer area.

Finally, the Cantabrian Network for Rural Development collected all the plants and garbage.

Participants received a commemorative LIFE ARCOS ceramic glass made in a Ceramics Workshop at the El Dueso Penitentiary in its NACAR program (Nature and Prison).

The Directorate-General of Natural Environment would like to thank volunteers for their participation. Everyone learned something new about the environment and played their part in restoring vulnerable ecosystems: the dune systems of Cantabria.


Teams from AMICA, AMPROS and SERCA working at Helgueras beach (Noja)

Cantabria, European Natura 2000 Network day, Noja, Volunteering

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