The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) and Ambjent Malta (AM) are working in tandem on a habitat restoration project in Comino. This project foresees the implementation of numerous management measures to improve Comino’s landscape and restore its habitats in line with the approved Natura 2000 Management Plan for the area. ERA and AM have been working on various projects on this island since 2017. In May 2021, ERA and AM will be showcasing the achievements obtained so far, whilst also implementing new restoration projects around the island.
ERA and AM will start implementing the following projects in the coming weeks, starting today with the first phase of the project aimed at the rehabilitation of the coastal wetland at Il-Qala ta’ Santa Marija, through the restoration of the habitat in the area. Works include:
- Re-establishment of native marshland community to restore plant communities native to the area and attract migratory waders through the recreation of the two brackish water ponds;
- Removal of invasive alien species planted and invading the area, including trees-of-heaven (ix-xumakk il-falz), wattles (l-akaċja) and prickly pear (il-bajtar tax-xewk);
- Transplantation of six olive trees in view that these do not form part of the site’s native habitat composition;
- Removal of makeshift structures and stone BBQs;
- Restoration of rubble walls and retention walls.
ERA and AM will also showcase works that have been carried out in the past months, along with future plans, including:
- Commencement of works leading to habitat restoration of three abandoned agricultural fields through the planting of over 3,000 indigenous trees and shrubs to be completed by spring of 2022
- Increased protection of the endemic phrygana community (a type of garrigue habitat) found at the Bejn il-Kmienen/Blue Lagoon area through the installation of wooden cordoning to prevent trampling;
- Removal of disused and unsightly electrical poles;
- Improvement of fencing at Tal-Ful Camping Site and installation of CCTVs to improve enforcement;
- Closure of numerous pathways to limit fragmentation of the various garrigue and grassland habitats present on the island;
- General clean-ups to be carried out by ERA and AM on 3rd-5th May 2022;
- Maintenance of past habitat restoration projects carried out with the assistance of Birdlife Malta;
- Underwater and coastal clean-ups, including the removal of ghost fishing nets around Comino to be carried out between 3rd-8th May (subject to weather) with the collaboration of Żibel.
Over the coming days, ERA and AM will be issuing updates on the works carried out prior to the opening of the summer season. An opportunity will also be given to journalists to visit the island and see the works undertaken in the various sites around the island of Comino.
26 April 2021