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Push to clear washed up seagrass from Es Ca Marí shoreline

Foto Es Ca Marí bermes posidòniaFrom tomorrow, 17 March, the Formentera Council's office of environment will begin removing mounds of posidonia seagrass that have accumulated along the Es Ca Marí shoreline. The announcement was made by environment councillor Daisee Aguilera, who noted “the process will take between two and three days if weather is fair”. The Formentera Council will foot the bill for transport, and any residents interested in using the washed up plant matter for farming or livestock purposes should contact the office of environment. Requests can be made in person at the department (open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.), by email at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling 971321210.

The removal process itself will be similar to in 2014, and is being repeated at the behest of the Es Ca Marí neighbourhood association. As Aguilera explained, “in winter the area is hit by both westerly and south-westerly winds, which leads to a tightly packed build-up of seaweed that can reach three metres in height”. Studies indicate that sporadic removals are more appropriate than systematic ones, she said.

Formentera's head of environmental affairs noted the crucial role posidonia seagrass plays in the health of Formentera beaches, pointing out it prevents shoreline erosion. Local beaches are especially susceptible, which explains why complete removal of the seagrass is undesirable. According to Aguilera, the practise – which involves hauling off a portion of the accumulated plant matter – serves a dual function: allowing beach cleaning crews to do their work and preventing further spread of the washed up weeds across the coastline. She also highlighted the fact that, in the process, the tradition of reusing the material has been revived.

Posidonia for composting

The councillor noted the suitability of the dried seagrass in composting. She encouraged Formentera residents to contact the office of environment and give new use to the seagrass, whose nearby prairies have been named a World Heritage site. Aguilera also referred to a recent repurposing of the material that has long been favoured by locals: use in building. “This method has been rehashed and is being employed in the low-income housing currently under construction in Sant Ferran”.
   

Farmers' cooperative undertakes fig tree trimming

Poda Figueres x Eva Parey 001From February and through the end of March, the Formentera farmers' cooperative, la Cooperativa del Camp, is overseeing restorative pruning on fig trees located on land donated as part of the group's farmland reserve project, Cens de Terres. The goal, says Carlos Marí, head of the cooperative, is to “restore these trees —a quintessential figure of local tradition— to their optimal state and market their fruit this summer”.

Over the last two months Cooperativa members have pruned or propped up the limbs of 89 trees. According to Marí, that number is expected to reach 129 by the time cooperative members finish, “allowing the farmers' cooperative to carry out its first commercial fig harvest”.

As councillor of rural affairs Bartomeu Escandell noted, such pruning is just one part of the rural restoration work established by the joint action partnership between the Formentera Council and the farmers' cooperative. At present more than 140 hectares have been entrusted to the Cooperativa for use in its farmland reserve programme. Said Marí, “many of our donated parcels had been left derelict for many years, so the restorative work will likely be lengthy”.

Public light improvements in Sant Ferran and Es Pujols

foto nou enllumenat sant ferran EDITBefore summer, the Formentera Council's office of infrastructure will equip the towns of Sant Ferran and Es Pujols with 15 new lampposts, and a total of 24 lights. According to department head Rafael González, in recent weeks municipal crews have installed nine streetlamps along two Sant Ferran streets, carrers Sol and Castaví, “where the Citroën is located”.

Saying the crews' work would precede the start of the upcoming tourist season, the councillor detailed plans to install seven new lampposts “near the Sant Ferran roundabout, (along camí de Ses Vinyes), between carrers Tarragona i de Sa Finca” as well as “three more on camí de Cala en Baster.

Work in Es Pujols

In Es Pujols, the public works will include three new lampposts “on carrer King Crimson, at the Es Pujols chemists” and two more “on camí de Can Jaume d'en Sala, expanding on last year's installation of three streetlamps there”.

Said Councillor González, “this came at the petition of local residents, who requested improvements to the outdoor public lighting on the island”. González stated the total cost of the instalation was approximately €30,000.

Govern expects irrigation pond will be operational by summer 2017

foto visita dg agricultura i ramaderiaThis morning in the plenary hall of the Formentera Council, councillor of rural affairs Bartomeu Escandell met with Mateu Ginard, the Govern Balear's director general of agriculture and livestock, as well as the heads of three different local groups – the irrigation organisation of Formentera, the local assocation of livestock farmers and the Formentera farmers' cooperative.

Palma's head of agriculture and livestock described the project currently overseen by his department and valued at €294,000 to “get Formentera's effluent water-fed irrigation pond up and running”. Ginard reported that the project, entrusted to the Tragsa company, is expected to be completed by next summer, at which time, “five years after construction, the pond will finally be operational”.

Help for local irrigators

Councillor Escandell announced “during the first two years, the Formentera Council will cover the €30 fixed monthly fee required for use of each water main”. Acknowledging what he called a «lack of culture of irrigation” among Formentera farmers, Escandell proclaimed, “we want to do everything we can to promote use of the irrigation pond and help out our local community of irrigators”.

Agriculture, Escandell told Ginard, has been a top priority for the Formentera administration, pointing to the support given to the Formentera farmers' cooperative (la Cooperativa del Camp) and the creation of an industrial space for that group earlier in the year. “Our goal is to support action to improve the natural beauty of our surroundings and strengthen our agricultural and livestock sectors”.

To the local representatives of these groups, Ginard highlighted the grant money the Govern plans to make available to mitigate the effects of this year's dry season. “For one thing, there will be feed subsidies of €9.20 per animal”, he reported. Moreover, and of particular interest to associations, he said, are credits of between €20,000 and €100,000 at near-zero percent interest rates that the Govern also plans to provide. He also spoke about the possibility of additional funding for certified seed.

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