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The Conservatory of the Coast

How to acquire and protect coastal land

An independent entity with full capacity to work, intended for the acquisition of threatened land of high environmental value in Catalonia, with a specific budget and guaranteed by law.


AN EFFICIENT WAY TO PROTECT NATURE

In the third century a. C. the king of Sri Lanka declared a piece of forest officially protected and thus created the first nature reserve. It took 2,000 years for Yellowstone National Park to be created. Today, although almost 15% of land areas are protected, biodiversity is in clear decline and there are still many habitats with exceptional natural values in Catalonia that are not protected and that planning foresees their future disappearance due to the construction of infrastructures and urbanisations, especially on the coast, with municipalities on the Costa Brava such as Pals, with one of the last best-preserved wetlands and dune habitats in Catalonia in danger of disappearing.

El Vernegar Lake in Platja de Pals, of great environmental importance for its fauna and flora, in imminent danger due to the construction of the Vial Nord, initially approved by the Pals City Council, also threatened by the new "Els Jonquers" urbanization. which envisages the construction of a large high-rise building for hotel and commercial use, and macro parking, in front of the partial Natural Reserve of the Aiguamolls del Baix Ter, which is part of the Natural Park of Montgrí, the Medes Islands and the Baix Ter.

LET'S AVOID A CONSTANT RISK

There are habitats of special natural interest on the coast, such as pine forests on dunes and wetlands of Pals Beach, which are not within any protected area, such as PEINs or Natural Parks, and are in imminent danger of being urbanized, which highlight the need to create an agile tool to prevent their disappearance.

For this reason, Save the Beach of Pals, together with SOS Costa Brava, they proposed to the Generalitat the creation of a Conservatory that would acquire the last remaining undeveloped land on the coast. In other countries such as the United Kingdom or France, similar figures have been active for many years that acquire natural areas, especially on the coast, and have as their main objectives:

Identify areas of high environmental or landscape value

Recover them to preserve their habitats and biodiversity

Manage the purchased zones

The creation of the Conservatory is one of the main claims since the founding of SOS Costa Brava, recollects its manifesto, of 13 points, signed a Pals, on August 4, 2018. For això, the president of the entity Salvem Platja de Pals, Pau Bosch, on July 12, 2019, will participate in the Territorial Commission of the Parliament of Catalonia, in charge of drafting the Law of the coast, to claim the seva creation of these laws.

Finally, on July 30, 2020, it was possible to include the additional provision Ninth of the Law 8/2020 on coastal protection and management, which establishes the Government's obligation to create the Conservatory, within a maximum period of one year from its approval.

Activists Pau Bosch (Save Pals Beach), Marta Ball-llosera (IAEDEN), Josep Ferrés (SOS Palafrugell), Josep Hurtado (Ecologists in Action) and Josep M. Aguirre (Speaker of the Coastal Law, Director of Heritage ) on July 12, 2019 at the Commission in Parliament for the Coastal Law, where Bosch claimed the creation of the Conservatory as a top priority for SOS Costa Brava.

The provision of the Law establishes the following:

"Ninth Conservatory of the Coast of Catalonia

  1. The Government, within one year from the entry into force of this law, must create the Catalan Coastal Conservatory, with the objectives of safeguarding and recovering the part of the coast most threatened by urbanization and the artificialization, from the public acquisition of the land.
  2. The Conservatory of the Coast of Catalonia must be financed with contributions from the Government, through the budgets of the Generalitat, and with contributions from other administrations, entities and companies.
  3. The creation process of the Catalan Coastal Conservatory must be participatory and must include experts in environmental and territorial matters, environmental conservation organizations and representatives of local bodies.”

Vista aèria de l’hàbitat d’interès comunitari prioritari de pinedes sobre dunes (HIC*) únic a tot Catalunya i en perill per les futures urbanitzacions de Paratge Rodors, Rodors 1, 2 i 3, Duna Gegant, Interpals i Pineda de Pals. En vermell, la superfície d’aquestes grans zones en risc.

AN AUTONOMOUS CONSERVATORY

After a long debate during the year 2022, in which the Generalitat proposed to dilute the Conservatory within the Catalan Nature Agency, and after conferences organized during the month of July by SOS Costa Brava, The Generalitat has finally rectified and estimated the allegations presented in the citizen participation procedure about the Conservatory, accepting that is an independent body, with its own legal personality and with full capacity to operate, intended for the acquisition of threatened coastal land, with a specific budget and guaranteed by law, following the French model of the Conservatoire du Littoral et des Rivages Lacustres, created in 1975.

At the same time, the Generalitat has accepted the proposed functions, with an organizational system with a director, an advisory council, the participation of local entities, ecological associations and a scientific committee, as well as the possibility of managing the spaces, both for their own Conservatory like the Nature Agency, or with governance agreements with protectionist entities. The assignment will also be studied as a financing mechanism for 50% of the existing tourist tax.

Now it will be time to promote the creation of the law that regulates this entity, as a priority objective of the Generalitat in 2023.

The one-year term has already expired, and we now demand that the constitution of the Conservatory is urgently needed to save seriously threatened spaces on the coast due to their imminent destruction, especially the following Habitats of Community Interest (HIC*) Priority in the Pals Beach:

📣 The wetlands and rice paddies of the Jonquers in the Estany el Vernegar
📣 The pine forests on the dunes of Paratge Rodors, and Rodors 1, 2 and 3
📣 The Interpals pine forest in Palsmar
📣 La Duna Gegant i la Pineda de Pals

Vista aèria d’espais a salvar: 1-Aiguamolls i arrossars dels Jonquers a l’Estany el Vernegar / 2-Pinedes sobre dunes a Rodors 1, 2 i 3 / 3-Pinedes sobre dunes de Paratge Rodors / 4-Sector Nord Interpals / 5-Duna Gegant / 6-Pineda sobre duna “Pineda de Pals”.

Although we celebrate the Government's rectification, we do not want to stop regretting the delay in the creation of this body, and the need for urgent acquisition due to the risk of imminent destruction of some natural areas on the Costa Brava, and especially in Pals beach, like the works started in February 2023 in the pine forest habitat on Duna Gegant, lthe most representative and well-preserved of Catalonia, which is currently being destroyed at sector of Vaixell de Pals.

For this reason, we will once again request the Generalitat de Catalunya to promote with the utmost urgency the constitution of this body.

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Duna Gegant, abans de ser destruïda (Font: Dictamen pericial elaborat per Josep Ramon Aragó Gassiot).
Duna Gegant destruïda i en procés de ser urbanitzada en data de 12/2/2023.


Creation date of the article: 14/2/2023.

— Photography: https://www.paisajesverticales.com/ca/.

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