As the potentially devastating impact of environmental abuses start to unfold, with meteorologists warning how the climate of the Mediterranean coast could be transformed in a matter of decades, and concerns over the environmental damage caused by increased building grows, the reality of change is seemingly occurring faster than might even have been hoped.

This week alone, the water levels of the Laguna de La Mata, within the Natural Park of La Mata and Torrevieja, have risen significantly. Not a fact noted by scientists or local governments, but a fact noted in the real changes that have occurred as observed by a group of bird watchers who regularly monitor the activities in the reserve.

The group have noted that two natural islands have disappeared, swallowed up by the increased water levels, which has resulted in a reduction in land and, as such, two types of birds who would be breeding in the area, the Satin and Black Tern, being nowhere to be found. These birds typically nest no more than two metres from the shore and so, with the disappearance of the islands, the available shoreline has also significantly reduced.

Other bird species such as the avocets, picofinas gulls and especially Kentish have also seen their breeding populations declining sharply in recent years and are of a great concern due to the work that those birds do for the remaining ecosystem.

In February of this year, the Izquierda Unida group of Torrevieja demanded that the ruling PP government provide an immediate solution to the lack of staff in the Natural Park of Torrevieja and La Mata, and criticised the mayor, Eduardo Dolón, for not defending the environmental heritage of the village. Víctor Ferrández, local coordinator of Izquierda Unida, says that as the chairman of the Governing Board of the Natural Park of Las Lagunas de Torrevieja and La Mata, Dolón is “obligated” to defend the environmental areas against the actions of the ministry, after the company contracted to look after the area, VAERSA, filed for redundancy of its workers, resulting in a quarter of its workforce being made redundant. This resulted in the dismissal of three of the four technicians who operated in the area of the Salinas, a guide, a biologist and an expert in environmental sciences.

The regional authority commented that the water increase was only temporary, due to the opening of the water flow channels into the lakes, and claim that his has “not affected the two artificial islands”, despite the fact they are clearly not visible, and that the flow is “good for the park”, but offering no obvious explanation as to the impact that it has had on the reduction in bird numbers already. The water is expected to recede within the next few days.

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