On 9 May 2019 we participated in a new volunteer and training day in coordination 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.
The activity started at the frontal dune of Helgueras beach in Noja with the AMICA, SERCA and AMPROS teams, who had been hired on other occasions for a number of manual control projects to eradicate invasive species on the Cantabrian coast. We plan to work with them again on future activities of this type.
Natural park director, Lourdes González, gave participants a brief introduction on the importance of dune ecosystems and their protective function against winter storms, the distribution of dune species in areas of vegetation and how they are affected by invasive exotic species.
Once the activity started, we found different invasive exotic species and learned how to differentiate and identify garden nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), common evening primrose (Oenothera glazioviana), horseweed (Coniza canadensis), Senecio mikanioides, Senecio angulatus, cape weed (Arctotheca caléndula) and ice plant (Carpobrotus edulis). We observed their distinct radicular systems and the way they grow and disperse in order to learn how to treat them in the soil.
Environmental Technicians from the Council of Noja stopped by to visit the activity, just as they have done during previous activities on the municipality’s beaches. They kindly helped us with everything we needed. We are thankful for their support and involvement in the activity in Noja.
During our work, we were able to observe dune vegetation and explain its distribution in dune systems. The day was successful, as we extracted around 3,000 kg of ice plant and some rubbish. Great teamwork was essential to the day, everyone supported each other and enjoyed spending the day outdoors.
Extraction of ice plant from Helgueras dunes
Finally, the Cantabrian Network for Rural Development collected all the plants and rubbish for their management.
Participants were given a ceramic souvenir with the LIFE ARCOS logo on it. The gift was made by hand by NACAR (Nature and Prison) Ceramic Workshop participants.
The Directorate-General of Natural Environment would like to thank the volunteer teams (AMICA, SERCA and AMPROS), the Cantabrian Network for Rural Development (RCDR) and the Natural Environment Agency participants for all their hard work. They would also like to thank everyone for playing their part in the extraordinary conservation and restoration work carried out in Cantabrian dune systems.