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Second round of aerial spraying in assault on invasive pest

foto processiona--tanca-d-allaThe Formentera Council's environment department reports plans are under way this week to start the second part of an aerial dusting strategy designed to stem spread of the pine processionary caterpillar on Formentera. The second application will be identical to the first; same helicopter, same crew, same target area.

The team charged with conducting the operation is already on the island. They will spend the day Monday preparing signage and checking and calibrating equipment.

The start of operations is dependent on fair weather, which weather forecasters predict will come Thursday, though additional methods of application are available if winds die down before then, such as with isolated aerial spraying.

Formentera collects 527.4 tonnes of organic waste during five-month trial run

foto materia organica 1At the close of a pilot programme for organic waste pickup that ran from May 15 to mid October, the Formentera Council's environment office reports that 170 participating businesses generated 527.4 tonnes of waste.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera applauded the collaboration in 2018 of the local medium- and large-quantity waste generators who joined the effort. "It's the first time a pickup service of this kind is available across the entire island", said Aguilera, "and thanks to the commitment of participating businesses, we ended up with 127 more tonnes than originally forecasted".

Two collection routes were established this year to serve the island's medium- and large-scale waste generators. Businesses also had an environmental advisory agent and three patrol staff from the administration's environment department.

A new life as compost

The push is part of the waste management plan currently under review on the island. The goal? To cut the cost of shipping waste to Eivissa's Ca Na Putxa landfill. Europe has made extending the useful lifespan of products a top priority. The Council's work in the current initiative involves turning organic waste into a boon for Formentera's countryside.

The nearly 530 tonnes of organic waste were harnessed to make 1,700 cubic metres of compost using a "pile method" in which organic waste is mixed with shredded garden trimmings and then left to mature during a roughly eight-month process. The plan's engineers say the compost will be given to the local farmers' cooperative to add nutrients to soil and improve crop yield.

Data from the pilot programme will be used to study adding organic waste collection to the future waste management contract, due to take effect in 2020.

Following weekend of stormy weather, crews clear wreckage and repair watercraft

Foto neteja restesThe Formentera Council's environment office says administration crews will take the lead in removing wreckage left after rough seas hit the island last weekend.

The environment office is working to comb Formentera's waters and shores for destroyed ships before they are washed out to sea. The crews' operating costs will be billed to shipowners.

Wreckage of four ships is being recovered. Luna, a motorboat that ran aground Friday night on Punta Prima; Cormorán, a motor launch; and an as-yet unidentified sailboat were all three found near Sa Sequi. Another sailboat, Revull, was found at Ses Illetes.

According to information available to the Council, the firms contracted by the shipowners are planning to perform repairs and remove wreckage tomorrow on the surrounding sea floor in Punta Pedrera, S'Estany des Peix, Cavall d'en Borràs and Illetes.

Formentera holds Posidònia Fòrum

foto compilant dadesThis Friday the tourism and environment bureaus of the Formentera Council will host Posidònia Fòrum, a day of dialogue between business, residents and the administration as the Council works towards sustainability with one of the island's most precious heritage features: posidonia seagrass.

Posidònia Fòrum
The working day will focus on the milestones towards conserving posidonia, a key species in the Balearic ecosystem. The day is also about developing a sustainable model of tourism that encourages sound use of natural and cultural resources, economic stability and quality of life improvements for the local community.

The day, which kicks off at 9.30am in the Council's Sala de Plens, is split in two parts—tourism first, and then initiatives associated with Save Posidonia Project. Tourism secretary Alejandra Ferrer will start things off with an opening address. Journalist Carmelo Convalia will follow Ferrer with a talk on changes over the last decade in Formentera tourism. Next, the island's head of tourism, Carlos Bernús, will talk about promoting tourism and occupancy figures in 2017. CEGOS, a consulting and training firm, will enlist company representatives to share their analysis of the “Tourism Barometre”.

After a break, environment secretary Daisee Aguilera will help get the second part of the day under way with a report on the take-aways and SPP growth in 2017 and 2018. Then participants will get a look at some SPP projects, like IMEDEA's Antroposí; GEN-GOB's study of the seagrass and how it can be used sustainably; and marine biologist Manu San Félix's presentation of Posidònia Maps. A round table about the delicate balance between tourism and the environment will be followed by a discussion with suggestions from within the sector and from actual residents. Secretary Ferrer will oversee the conclusions and closing portion of the event.

Save Posidonia Project
Since its inception in 2017 (International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development) SPP has been a pioneer project in the western Mediterranean. SPP reflects the Formentera Council's goal of promoting sustainable tourism and launching an action plan to raise funding for Posidonia oceanica conservation. The goal is to bring awareness to the seagrass's importance for both present and future generations.

The project continues today in 2018, accruing active participants and encouraging adoption of swaths of seagrass meadows around the island.

Many have elected to sponsor posidonia meadows over the last two years, helping as they do further awareness around the importance of the underwater plant for our future.

Fresh round of spraying in Formentera's assault on pine processionary

foto helicopter fumigacioThe environment department of the Formentera Council announces that from Tuesday October 9, weather permitting, a new phase of operations will be introduced by the healthy forests service as part of an eco-friendly effort by the Council and Govern balear to stem the spread of the pine processionary in the Es Cap de Barbaria area of the island.

Aerial dusting is performed with a helicopter that is equipped with on-board DGPS technology which gives an operator precise control over which areas are treated and how much pesticide is administered. The insecticide, a “phytosanitary” product, is a natural, kurstaki variety of Bacillus thuringiensis found naturally on the ground and plants, and typically breaks down with exposure to UV rays in a number of days. It also does not affect bees and is fit for use in organic farming.

For optimal results, it is recommended that Bacillus thuringiensis be applied annually for a period of four years.

Dusting generally takes place between October 1 and November 15, although scheduling depends on the pest's stage of development as well as weather conditions. Two applications are staggered several days apart to assure the naturally degrading pesticide eliminates larvae born after the first run.

Area to be treated
Engineers of the effort plan to treat 1,600 hectares of “pure” and “mixed” pines affected by the pine processionary. The area of treatment was chosen based on two factors: captures recorded in traps installed as part of a 2014 effort and nests found over past winters.

Other steps
A whole series of actions in addition to the aerial spraying include traps to capture the insect in its moth form, a push to destroy nests in winter, structures to house predators of the pest, such as bats, and an outreach effort to educate people about the problem.

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