World Wetlands Day celebrated at Ribeira do Vascão

The LIFE Saramugo project promoted an outing at Ribeira do Vascão to celebrate World Wetlands Day. This activity culminated in the planting of native trees and shrubs on the margins of the local stream.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on the 2nd of February, and comemorates the signing of the Ramsar Convention, a treaty adopted by countries around the world in 1971, in the Iranian city it was named after. The convention aims to protect wetlands of international importance threatened by human activities.

Ribeira do Vascão was declared a Ramsar site in 2012, for being the longest river in Portugal without artificial barriers, such as dams or water reservoirs. Being found in the Mediterranean region, it holds high concentrations of threatened freshwater species like the saramugo (Anaecypris hispanica), the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus).

This wetland also gains relevance in flooding regulation and its riparian vegetation contributes to the filtration of groundwater and the stabilization of several hidrological processes.

In order to celebrate the date, the LIFE Saramugo Project organized, on the 6th of February 2016, a walk on foot along the stream at Ribeira do Vascão (2 Km), and the planting of native trees and shrubs.

More than 30 people participated in the celebration, nature lovers and enthusiasts, most of them great admirers of Ribeira do Vascão, who shared their stories and knlowedge of the stream with us.

On the other hand, it was possible to convey the importance of the preservation of streams in good condition, their associated flora and the fauna, which includes the saramugo.

Several discussions throughout the waslk also provided an opportunity to debate the threats to the saramugo, and the different activities planned in the project.

With the help of the participants, it was possible to plant around 21 native plants, such as oleanders (Nerium oleander), narrow-leafed ashes (Fraxinus angustifolia) and myrtles (Myrtus communis) which will provide shade for a future recreational area the LIFE Saramugo project will create.

Wetlands are among the most productive and biodiverse ecosystems, and constitute natural, cultural and landscape patrimony that should be protected. It is up to each one of us to contribute to their conservation.