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HomeTypes of actionC. Management of the river habitatC.3. The recovery of habitats specific to the European mink (Mustela lutreola)

C.3. The recovery of habitats specific to the European mink (Mustela lutreola)

The standardisation which the river ecosystems have been subjected to over the last few decades has led to the disappearance of a series of diversifying habitats which are of vital importance to the survival of the European mink, such as the wetlands adjoining the main water course.

The invasion of the flood plains by farming and woodland crops, and the construction of protective earth embankments and ripraps, has led to the elimination of these wetlands from the river landscape, wetlands which were habitually used by the European mink as a breeding ground, being a peaceful area in which the mink could hunt and raise its offspring.

In addition, the restoration of these wetlands and gulley ends is also of strategic importance to other species such as the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis) or the otter (Lutra lutra), which use these same habitats, and also for aquatic birds present in the area (of particular note are the purple heron (Ardea purpurea), the black crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), etc.)

The project proposes to restore the wetlands and gulley mouths, as these are habitats of vital importance to the reproductive cycle of the European mink. Four areas have been identified in which the wetlands adjoining the banks of the rivers Arga and Aragón could be restored, and which have gradually disappeared over the last century. The habitat of two gulley mouths could also be restored, to make the area more favourable to this species. Of these 6 action areas, the proposal is to act in the three priority areas, and leave the other three in reserve.

In the three cases, the proposal is to construct wetlands of similar characteristics: constructed from the irregular excavation of the land, seeking to create diverse wetlands which are as natural as possible, generating shallow areas which can be easily colonised by helophytes, and other deeper areas to ensure that part of the wetlands remains as a sheet of free water. The banks shall be very sloping to permit replanting using bioengineering techniques. The central area shall not be excavated but left as a central island to serve as a shelter for the target fauna. The proposed areas are:

  • El Escueral (Murillo el Fruto)
  • Rinconar (Santacara)
  • Filtro verde de Sotosardilla (Funes)
  • Soto de Traibuenas (Murillo el Cuende)
  • Molinar (Peralta)
  • La Biona (Murillo el Fruto)

These schemes shall be conducted during the months when there is no plant growth (from November to February), in order to make the plantations with a guarantee of success. It is expected to construct at least three wetlands, suitable for use by the European mink and with a total surface area of 7.6 ha.

Partners


    Gestión Ambiental de Navarra, S.A. Fundación Crana Tragsa

Co-financers


    Gobierno de Navarra Gobierno de España

LIFE+ Environmental Recovery of the River Territory: a vital area for the European Mink (Mustela lutreola) | LIFE+ MINK TERRITORY