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Formentera says checks of incoming olive trees would stem incoming snakes

foto control serpsLast night at 8.00pm, minister of environment Vicenç Vidal and head of species protection Joan Mayol, both of the Govern Balear, took the opportunity of a presentation at la Mola's Casa del Poble to announce the results of a campaign to capture snakes on the island of Formentera. Since April 76 traps have been placed and 262 snakes have been caught. According to Vidal, analysis by the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB) of collected data indicates that 44% of the reptiles had eaten lizards. The regional minister called the data “cause for hope” that snakes could ultimately be eradicated from the island.

Formentera Council (CiF) officials present at the presentation included Bartomeu Escandell, who fills a joint role as councillor of the president's office and head of rural affairs, and Daisee Aguilera, the CiF's councillor of environment. According to Aguilera, given the promising nature of initial results the Council has already acquired an additional 60 cages to extend the trap-and-capture push. Created by the Eivissa's Escola d'Arts i Oficis, the traps are considered more environmentally “ethical”. The recently updated design boasts two inner compartments which keep the captured snakes separate from the bait, live mice. Thanks to the tweaked design the mice's lives are spared, and instead can continue to serve as bait to catch more snakes. According to Aguilera, traps have already been set in la Mola, Es Caló, Sant Ferran and Migjorn, and she made assurances that at present the invasive reptiles had only been found in la Mola and surrounding areas.

“The current trap-and-capture push, a joint effort of the CiF and Govern, is a very positive first step”, said Aguilera, “but more measures will be necessary”. To stem the arrival of snakes, the environment councillor says the most important measure to adopt will be “a control of incoming ornamental trees”. Aguilera cited olive trees as the principal method of transport for stowaway snakes. She also seized the opportunity to salute “exceptional co-operation on the part of la Mola residents and of the population of Formentera at large”.

Formentera's waste management directive enters initial draft stage

Contenidors premsaThe Formentera Council's environmental arm has announced it will award a 35,492.93-euro contract to the firm Técnicas de Control Prevención y Gestión Ambiental Ltd for the drafting of a local sector-specific plan on solid- and urban-waste management. It will be the first time such a directive is devised uniquely for Formentera, and, according to CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, will contain “criteria which turn on social and economic factors as well as environmental sustainability” in addition to “a clear emphasis on the distinct variables that come into play on each of the Balearic Islands”.

Highlighting the plan as a breakthrough, Aguilera pointed out that all the preceding directives had been for Eivissa and Formentera both and “failed to take into account factors specific to Formentera”. Indeed, one particular hurdle which haunts waste management on Formentera is the question of transport to Eivissa. To that effect, the councillor highlighted yearly waste-transfer costs of one million euros and invoked recycling which is, for its part, cost-free. Recycled materials, emphasised Aguilera, generate money that offsets the cost of transport. The councillor underscored the administration's efforts to raise awareness among private citizens and big waste generators about separating trash and recyclable materials and promised, “this is an effort that will reap both environmental and economic payoffs.”

In the councillor's words, “the directive will lay out the most appropriate model for managing waste on our island” while “seeking alignment with European, state and regional laws”. Aguilera homed in an additional aim the new directive will strive for: zero-waste production on the island. “This plan will help lay the foundation for new tender of the municipal waste collection contract”, she added. An initial deadline for the first draft of the document has been set at 21 months from today's date, though that could be trimmed down to nine weeks.

Council puts together community clean-up of seafloor

neteja fons mari foto cif premsaThe Formentera Council's bureau of environmental affairs has announced it is organising a clean-up of Formentera's surrounding seafloor. Anyone interested in participating can register by calling 971 32 12 10 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

A meeting point has been set on Saturday September 24 at 9.00am in front of la Savina's Formentera Mar tower. According to CiF environment head Daisee Aguilera, organisers waited for the season's end because summer is when plastic and other litter are most abundant in the island's waters. The area of clean-up will extend from la Savina to Espalmador, Aguilera said, explaining that that is where boat traffic is highest. She also acknowledged that the scope of the intervention would depend on volunteer turnout and the weather.

The current initiative is part of a broader push for environmental awareness that the Council has driven all season long. Aguilera described the freshly created post of door-to-door canvasser, a person who will visit businesses, restaurants and hotels to educate people about correct rubbish disposal and improving Formentera's image.

The councillor thanked Ferrovial Services, S'Aigu Formentera, Orcasub, Blue Adventure Diving Formentera and Carbónicas Tur for their support in organising the project. Sponsor companies will provide boats, snorkelling equipment and snacks for volunteers. The Council will also present volunteers with a free set of Formentera's newest permanent recycling bags.

At CiF plenary, call to reforest s'Espalmador

ple agost 2016The Formentera Council convened its August plenary session today. The monthly gathering saw parties mobilising unanimously around a measure to right fire damage done to s'Espalmador island. CiF environment councillor Daisee Aguilera explained that under the initiative, plenary members ask the Govern Balear to dispatch a specialist team to s'Espalmador to assess the damage a recent fire inflicted on the island's plant and animal life.

Two other appeals to the Govern —one urging the drafting of a technical report on potential reforesting measures and another calling for beefed-up summertime surveillance and enforcement of rules at Ses Salines park— were also included in the measure. Aguilera pressed the Palma administration for “a rigorous evaluation of the park's ability to absorb the damage” and “an updated emergency protocol”. Lastly, council members agreed to ask both the Govern and the regional coastal authority to halt current and new permits for maritime excursions to s'Espalmador, citing the need to determine the island's absorption capacity.

More nautical surveillance

The plenary brought unanimous approval for a measure asking the Palma government's local delegation to increase funding for the Eivissa-Formentera Guardia Civil's maritime unit and add a boat —stationed on Formentera— to the force's fleet. According to Councillor Aguilera, the measure will allow for “more stringent control of for-profit recreational water activities” and “ensure that environmental and maritime laws are upheld”.

Expanded course catalogue

In another moment of unity at the plenary meeting, a motion was adopted to expand the catalogue of classes offered at Formentera's school for adults. As education councillor Susana Labrador pointed out, the request entails asking the Govern for funding to reinstate a secondary education degree programme for adults, known as ESPA, as well as preparatory courses to begin high-level technical training.

Members also unanimously adopted a document seeking approval for the dissolution of the Formentera development consortium. Under the terms of an agreement hammered out between the CiF and the Govern Balear, the change will become effective October 15, 2016.

Public health at Can Misses hospital

Another measure adopted at the plenary, although with the abstention from the socialist party, dealt with public health activity in the J building of the former Can Misses hospital. Social welfare councillor Vanessa Parellada called the initiative “an opportunity to offer very important services,” including accommodation on Eivissa for family of hospitalised Formentera residents. Parellada said she hoped a new meeting with the Balearic department of health could provide updated information about the project and signalled her intent to request the project be given priority treatment, calling it “very important for Formentera”. In her words, “this initiative will help us rectify some of the woeful inequalities in healthcare that set Formentera residents apart from their Mallorcan counterparts.”

Gratitude for firefighting efforts

With a unanimous “yes” vote from plenary members, the Formentera Council issued a declaration about the recent wildfire on s'Espalmador island, part of Ses Salines park and reserve. In the document, the Council thanks all the individuals and groups who assisted firefighting efforts early in the morning on Sunday August 15, including Ibanat, Guardia Civil, local civil protection forces, local police and the CiF's firefighting brigade. The document also extends the recognition to all volunteers, known and anonymous, who lent a hand.

Congratulations offered to Mateo Sanz

Another declaration from the CiF that received unanimous approval concerned local athlete Mateo Sanz's participation in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. In the name of the people of Formentera, the document congratulates, thanks and pledges to support Sanz for his unprecedented achievement. The document calls the Formentera native's Olympic run “particularly significant because of Sanz's effort and sportsmanship” and Sanz himself “the greatest model young local athletes could ask for”.

Govern promises proper stewardship of Ses Salines park

foto reunio amengualThe Formentera Council's top environmental officer, Daisee Aguilera, met today with Caterina Amengual, director general of the Govern Balear's bureau of natural spaces and biodiversity, at the head office of the Formentera government. The chair of the CiF's Office of Environment thanked Amengual for a visit that came in the heart of summer and was aimed at driving home that “what the Council is asking for with regard to environmental protections is totally justified”. Aguilera nuanced her proclamation with an appeal for “immediate action,” something she said would be necessary for measures to be effective. The CiF councillor said officials in Palma agree with the Formentera Council's diagnosis of current environmental issues — a break from the previous Govern's stance — and asserted: “Now is the time to pursue ambitious projects.”

The two representatives talked about a plan to control anchorage along the entire Formentera coastline — an endeavour both say will be complex, not least because it requires the involvement of seven administration offices, though they maintained that work is being done to ensure its application across the entire island. According to Amengual, one of her department's goals is to “dignify the Ses Salines park”. She added: “Looking ahead to 2017 we want to have a dedicated staff member based on Formentera.” Amengual took the opportunity to unveil a project called “Posidònia Life arena blanca,” intended to secure European funding for the task of conserving Formentera's posidonia seagrass prairies.

Estany des Peix
Additionally, the two used the gathering to address problems at estany des Peix and define a course of action agreed by the coastal authority as well as the administrative office in charge of the Ses Salines park. According to Aguilera and Amengual, a handful of technical issues remain before the goal of “making land management on the protected area” can become a reality. Councillor Aguilera also spoke about plans to re-establish a municipal sailing school on the island. She said the new school would be located near the school's previous site, and that at present the project was pending reports concerning the network of environmentally protected sites within the Balearics.

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Formentera neta, naturalmet gràcies a valtros

Xarxa Natura de les Illes Balears

Punt d'Informació Ambiental

Balears Life Posidonia

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