Stagno di Corru S'Ittiri, Stagni di San Giovanni e Marceddì

- Italy -

Photo: © Maurizio-Naletto

Marceddì Corru S'Ittiri, ©Federico Deidda
© Maurizio Naletto

Overview

Stagno di Corru S’Ittiri, Stagni di San Giovanni e Marceddì were designated as a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) under the Ramsar Convention on 28-03-1979.

More about the site

This Ramsar Site is constituted by a complex of wetlands with different hydrodynamics and characteristics. Corru S’ittiri lagoon is a natural inlet that runs parallel to the coast in a north-south direction, divided from the sea in the west part by a sand bar and in the southern part by a manmade dike. This environment allows the breeding of several mollusc such as mussels and clams. The other two lagoons included in the Ramsar Site can be considered a single lagoon despite two different areas that are called with different names. The difference between the two areas arises after the building of an artificial dike that divides the previous lagoon in two parts, one more influenced by the freshwater inputs (San Giovanni) and the other one, nearest to the sea, with more brackish characteristics (Marceddì).

 

The differences between these wetlands allows the presence of several habitats supplying suitable sites for many species of conservation interest. The Purple Swamp-hen nests in the freshwater area with several pairs as well as a high number of diving ducks such as the Ferruginous Duck, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, and so on. The marine areas of Corru S’Ittiri and Marceddì offer suitable areas for different species of Terns such as Common Tern, Little tern, Black Tern, Sandwich Tern as well as for several species of waders.

 

These wetlands are included in the EU Nature 2000 network with the Site of Community Interest (SCI) ITB030032 “Stagno di CorruS’Ittiri” and the Special Protection Area (SPA) ITB034004 “CorruS’Ittiri, Stagno di San Giovanni e Marceddì”. Furthermore, these lagoons are included in the Important Bird Area (IBA) 218 “Sinis and Oristano wetlands”.

 

For this Ramsar site are reported 31 species included in the Annex 1 Annex 1 of 2009/147/EC (ex 79/409/EEC) European Birds Directive, five SPEC1 (Aythya niroca, Aythya ferina, Numenius arquata, Streptopelia turtur, Vanellus vanellus), six SPEC2 (Phalacrocorax aristotelis desmaresti, Lanius senator, Muscicapa striata, Otus scops, Serinus serinus,Tringa totanus) and 22 SPEC3. Moreover, 13 species included in the Aneex A of CITES Convention (Anas querquedula, Ardea alba, Athene noctua, Aythya niroca, Bubulcus ibis, Buteo buteo, Circus aeruginosus, Circus cyaneus, Columba livia, Egretta garzetta, Otus scops, Platalea leucorodia, Streptopelia turtur, Tyto alba, Testudo hermanni, Testudo marginata) and one in the CMS Convention (Aythya niroca).

– Provisioning services: the Lagoons are especially known for their fishing activity. It is carried out in a traditional way, with small boats. The Lagoons of Marceddì and San Giovanni are included in a project aiming at evaluating the monetary value of the ES: SAVi, promoted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), that evaluates NbS promoted in the area (including sustainable agriculture) to improve ES. Fishermen are among the most important actors in the participatory process for the Coastal Contract.

 

– Regulating services: the Lagoons represent a Nature based Solution for the mitigation of extreme events (flood protection, water purification, carbon storage, coastal erosion and sea storm protection, etc.). The Lagoons of Marceddì and San Giovanni are included in a project aiming at evaluating the monetary value of the ES: SAVi, promoted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), that evaluates NbS promoted in the area (including sustainable agriculture) to improve ES. The role of Nature based Solutions in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change consequences will be included in the Coastal Contract Action Plan.

 

– Supporting services: the Lagoons are known for their biodiversity as they are a nesting and feeding area for several bird species. Activities to restore habitat and nested areas have been promoted by the municipalities involved in the management. The Lagoons of Marceddì and San Giovanni are included in a project aiming at evaluating the monetary value of the ES: SAVi, promoted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), that evaluates NbS promoted in the area (including sustainable agriculture) to improve ES. Improving the supporting ecosystem services is one of the main reasons to adopt the Coastal Contract.

 

– Cultural services: the Lagoons are especially known for their birdwatching and photography activities. Several people usually walk or cycle in the surrounding areas. Environmental educational activities are performed with schools. The small village of Marceddì is close to the site: the ancient procession of the Madonna di Bonaria is one of the few in Italy that is performed by boats in the Lagoon. The Lagoons of Marceddì and San Giovanni are included in a project aiming at evaluating the monetary value of the ES: SAVi, promoted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), that evaluates NbS promoted in the area (including sustainable agriculture) to improve ES. Local traditions are deeply influenced by the presence of the Lagoons, and the existence value is highly recognised and one of the reasons to promote an integrated management through the Coastal Contract.

 

– Marceddì fishermen village

– Marceddì Spanish coastal tower

– Garden of orchids

– Archaeological area of Neapolis: the Punic city was founded by the Carthaginians in the last years of the 6th century BC.

The Municipality carries out different kinds of activities in order to inform and involve the population about the importance of wetlands through the dissemination of information materials, meetings and conferences open to the public, the organisation of World Wetland Day (once a year) and Coastal Day (once a year), birdwatching, educational classes with scholars in the wetland territories.

  1. a) Legal protection (implemented)
  2. b) Habitat:

– Hydrology management/restoration (proposed)

– Re-vegetation (proposed)

– Land conversion controls (implemented)

  1. c) Species:

– Control of invasive alien plants (partially implemented)

– Control of invasive alien animals (proposed)

  1. d) Human Activities:

– Management of water abstraction/takes (implemented)

– Regulation/management of wastes (implemented)

– Fisheries management/regulation (partially implemented)

– Communication, education, and participation and awareness activities (implemented)

– Research (partially implemented)

Despite the high level of biodiversity, all of the six Ramsar areas of the Oristano Gulf are affected by different sources of pollution.

  1. a) Driver: Agriculture

Pollution sources: nutrients and other chemical products used in crop growing

Type of pollution: non-point pollution

In the Oristano area, agriculture is mainly carried out by standard practices with a widespread use of nutrients, pesticides and herbicides, particularly in the field of rice growing and in vegetable production (i.e., artichokes). The problem does not only concern productive agriculture aimed at the regional and national market but also the so-called hobbyists, who practice family horticulture (a very popular activity in Sardinia).

 

  1. b) Driver: Sheep Breeding

Pollution sources: manure from animals 

Type of pollution: point pollution

Sheep breeding is a traditional activity and very popular in Sardinia. Agropastoral activities also take place along the borders of the ponds. In some cases, SCI/SPA Management Plans and/or municipal ordinances do not allow it on pond borders, but these measures are often disregarded. Pollution from droppings along the banks is the main sheep breeding impact.

 

  1. c) Driver: Unauthorised discharges from agriculture, breeding and agritourism

Pollution sources: nutrients and other chemical products from agriculture, washing waters from milking and other agri-food activities, septic tanks from rural houses, farms and agritourism

Type of pollution: point pollution

Despite a lack of data and information, Environment Agency experts, experts at Agriculture Department for Technical Assistance, and local stakeholders have indicated leakages from illegal or unauthorised discharges or bad maintenance of septic tanks in rural housing, agricultural and agritourism sector. The main problem concerns small structures surrounding protected areas.

 

  1. d) Driver: Illegal waste disposal or littering

Pollution sources: different sources of pollution are related to illegal disposal

Type of pollution: point pollution

Illegal littering is one of the main environmental issues in Sardinia. A few years ago, the Regional Government launched an awareness-raising campaign to discourage illegal disposal. Main and rural roads, rural areas, reeds are among the favourite habitats used by polluters. Wetlands are not recognised as protected areas by most citizens and are considered a suitable place to throw waste. Negative impacts on environment and waters depends on the type of waste:

– Plastic waste could be eaten by fishes and affect the quality of the fishery in lagoons and ponds

– Food waste could be quickly degraded, producing leachate that could pollute water and soil

– Batteries and other tools could leak pollutant substances that could pollute water

– Materials with asbestos could be really dangerous for ecosystem and human and animal health 

 

  1. e) Driver: human disturbances due to uncontrolled recreational activities

Pollution sources: noise, harvesting endangered species, accidental death of birds (eggs) and other animal, straying of dogs and cats and other source of pollution that could affect bird nesting areas and other ecological communities; soil and water pollution

Type of pollution: point pollution

Uncontrolled human presence could produce noise, littering and other disturbances and pollution. Human presence and recreational activities are not regulated in the Oristano Ramsar areas.

 

  1. f) Driver: Invasive Alien Species

Pollution sources: conflict with native species, problems with habitats that could alter wetland conditions

Type of pollution: point pollution

 

  • SPECIFIC SITE POLLUTION SOURCES

 

  1. a) Main driver: wastewater treatments

Pollution sources: bad functioning of the plant

Type of pollution: point pollution

 

Description of the problem: The Water District Management Plan and local stakeholders have indicated a bad functioning of wastewater treatment plants that release treated water into tributary rivers that flow into San Giovanni and Marceddì. That has created important pressure on water that could badly affect aquaculture activity. 

 

Proposed solutions: The Maristanis project can only support Regional Water authorities and regional water utility with a lobbying activity or by providing technical assistance for future EU-funded projects addressed to reducing water pollution or improving wastewater treatment. 

 

  1. b) Main driver: abandoned mining areas

Pollution sources: effluents from unreclaimed mining areas of Montevecchio damage waters of Riu Sitzerri and Rio Mogoro with heavy metals and other pollutants. These rivers flow into San Giovanni and heavily pollute water and sediments, especially in the Stagno di San Giovanni and Marceddì. 

Type of pollution: point and non-point pollution

 

Description of the problem: pollutants from unreclaimed mining badly affect water quality and could damage aquaculture activity, especially mussel production.

 

Proposed solutions: The Maristanis project can only support Regional Water authorities with a lobbying activity or by providing technical assistance for future EU/Regional funded projects addressed to reducing unreclaimed mining pollution. 

 

  1. c) Main driver: aquaculture

Pollution sources: traditional aquaculture activities have a reduced impact compared to industrialised aquaculture.

Type of pollution: point pollution

 

Description of the problem: the high number of fishes harvested in cages have an impact on water pollution

 

  1. d) Main driver: small harbour activities

Pollution sources: waste and effluents from boats and oil spills from boat tank refuelling.

Type of pollution: point pollution

 

Description of the problem: In the small port of Marceddì, there is an intense traffic of pleasure boats and fishing boats used for sea fishing and fishing in the ponds. In past years, the authorities in charge of the port management have had evidence of more boats stopping than those officially registered. This situation results in different impacts within the Ramsar areas due to both mismanagement of waste and effluents and oil spills during tank refuelling.

 

Proposed solutions: In order to reduce oil spill impacts, the adoption of banners produced by GEOLANA, a Sardinian firm involved in circular economy innovation, was proposed. GEOLANA developed, together with the University of Cagliari, a technology based on Sardinian sheep wool able to absorb and degrade oil spills (formerly, sheep wool was considered only an industrial waste to be dispose in special waste landfills with high costs for Sardinian shepherds). The project has been already prepared together with the environmental impact assessment procedure required by Regional Government for all those investments in protected areas. At the moment, the Municipality is waiting for the formal approval. GEOLANA partially supported the project by providing for free some banners that could be inserted in the bilge of ships.

 

In front of the Corru S’Ittiri-Marceddì-San Giovanni Ramsar area, the NATO military base of Capo Frasca is located, and it has been used over the years to test war ordnance. Currently, data on the impacts of the Military Area are not available; it is likely, however,  that, just as happens for the other military areas settled on the island, the military activities also determine the environmental impacts. 

Yes, it is currently subject to review and update. 

 

Latest update on November 2020

Marceddì Corru S'Ittiri, ©Livio Mura
© Maurizio Naletto