Program of the VIII Week of Land Stewardship

28 August 2019

By mid-September we will hold the eighth edition of the Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo area. As in previous occasions, we will combine a day of conferences with three volunteering days.

Photograph of the program of the VIII Week of Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River Mandeo areaThis formula responds to our commitment to nature conservation, because apart from getting informed, we have to act directly on our environment, if we really want to improve the state of our natural heritage.

This year the program focuses on the fauna with higher risk of extinction in our area, some even critically endangered throughout the planet. As in previous editions, during the volunteering days we will show our orientation to specific objectives, continuing with the local mitigation of two severe environmental problems: the invasive exotic species and the litter that ends in the rivers and the sea.

The Week is still being organized jointly by the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos and Fragas do Mandeo. Funding is fully provided by the first, since we earmark 100% of the donations received for purchasing woodland plots of environmental interest, and therefore we do not have the economic means to fund this kind of events.

Please, download the program, the poster of the Week and the poster of the Eco-regatta to share them among your personal circle and social networks: in this way you will help everyone interested to have the opportunity to participate.

To register for the activities, please contact the organization by phone 981 105 903 or send an e-mail to with your data (complete name, ID, date of birth, postal code, mobile number and activities in which you would like to participate). In this way you will be covered by an accident insurance policy, you will receive detailed information in advance and you will facilitate organization.

Conference on endangered fauna: The main event of the Week is a group of talks titled Appointments with the extinction of the fauna of the As Mariñas area. After the opening talk by the mayor of Betanzos, Ms. María Barral, and by the president of the Association for Rural Development Mariñas-Betanzos, Mr. José Antonio Santiso, we will present a short summary of the achievements made by Fragas do Mandeo over these nine years of existence. During this time we have been working hard on the restoration of our native woods and the conservation of rivers, marshland and beaches.

Image of the poster of the VIII Week on Land Stewardship in As Mariñas of A Coruña and the River MandeoThe first talk will be given by Dr. Pedro Galán, professor and researcher of the University of A Coruña, who will show the result of his recently completed research project on the populations of golden-striped salamander and the Iberian rock lizard in the River Mandeo. They are adversely affected by the climate crisis, since it breaks the population of these two endangered species and therefore the genetic exchange is reduced. Following that, Mr. César Ayres will take part, herpetologist from the Spanish Herpetological Association. He has been studying the European pond turtle since 1996 and he was part of the team that drafted a recovery plan for this species in Galicia. We doubt whether it is still living in the estuary, since it was in 2015 the last time an individual was located; therefore, it is necessary to find out the reasons of its declining and the recovery possibilities. Finally, Mr. Emilio Martínez Sabarís, expert bird ringer of the Anduriña Scientific Bird Ringing Group, is going to inform us on the situation of the common reed bunting, western Iberian subspecies. He studied the Galician and Portuguese populations between 2002 and 2009; for this reason his field work was taken into account for the official recovery plan in Galicia. Since this little bird is critically endangered all around the globe, and the estuary was considered a potential expansion area on the recovery plan, we must do everything possible to improve its breeding and feeding habitats.
Date: September 14th, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: Blue Room at the Betanzos Liceo.

Volunteering at the River Mandeo: The first day of environmental volunteering will be devoted to the elimination of an invasive exotic plant which is displacing native species from the banks of the River Mandeo: the small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis). We have been eradicating this South American species for several years along the 7,5 km stretch we safeguard at the lower course of the River Mandeo. The objective this day is to eliminate the last remaining spot in Chelo, since it threatens to propagate down the river to areas in which it has already been eradicated. Please, contact us in advance if you would like to participate. You can find additional information on the informative sheet.

Date: September 15th, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: The meeting point will be at the Outpatient Clinic in Betanzos.

Eco-regatta on the Betanzos estuary: The litter we picked up from the estuary in the five previous editions filled nine industrial containers, exceeding a total volume of 70 m3. Image of the poster of the VI Eco-regatta on the Betanzos estuarySince the removal of garbage in the surroundings of the Pazo de Mariñán was completed last year, we will devote this day to exploring the last stretch of the right bank.

We encourage every citizen to participate in this fun race in which the rivalry will be for taking care of the estuary. The boats with the teams of volunteers on board will start from the port of Betanzos to the banks near Souto, where they will strive to collect the biggest quantity and the oddest piece of garbage. At the return there will be some food and drinks at the port.

The collaborating entities are Amigos de los Ríos de Betanzos, Ría del Pedrido Association, Lar de Unta, Roxín Roxal, Casa Castillo Betanzos, Porta da Vila Association and Olympic Rowing Club of the Mandeo. Also collaborating are the Betanzos Council, Civil Protection and Comercial Vicente de la Fuente. Please contact us if you feel like participating, even if you don’t have a boat. Additional information can be found on the informative sheet.
Date: September 21st, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Place: Port of Betanzos.

Simultaneous cleaning of rivers: This year is the twelfth edition of the simultaneous cleaning of Galician rivers coordinated by Proxecto Ríos. This will be our seventh collaboration (it is scheduled a week before the official date because of organizational reasons). Last year we were 861 participants belonging to 70 organizations, and we managed to remove over 10 tons of garbage in river stretches located in 53 different councils. This year we will get back to the River Lambre to go on removing all the litter we can find along the river’s middle stretch, upstream of the Anido creek, thus resuming the cleaning started in 2018. It will be a 2.5 km-long route through a diverse wood which deserves to be known and preserved. The path is not hard-going, but it is advisable to wear wellingtons, clothes suitable for walking in the woods and to take gloves too. Please contact us in advance in case you would like to participate. Additional information can be found on the informative sheet.
Date: September 22nd, from 9.30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Place: We will be leaving from the Outpatient Clinic of Betanzos.

The Land Stewardship Week is an established event, unique in the area, which provides the people worried about our region’s natural heritage the opportunity to act in a direct, effective and coordinated way for its preservation.

Giving your opinion or participating in social network is not enough to recover our natural heritage. Action must be taken!

Work camp finished

26 August 2019

Photograph of the volunteersThe volunteers of the fourth edition of the Monte da Espenuca work camp used the day to uproot the remaining small-leaf spiderwort and montbretia by the cascades formed by the As Bouzas stream. Tomorrow they will leave for their places of origin, taking a baggage of new experiences.

We met them to say goodbye and to thank them for their work, promising that we will keep checking that these exotic invasive species won’t recolonize the areas where they have eliminated them. And we also asked them to keep their commitment with nature conservation at their places of origin through direct action in the natural environment and collaboration with entities like this one.

The garden trailer was loaded with the bags filled with plant debris and litter. There were 500 kg of biomass and 52 kg of litter. The weight of the invasive plants has been less than that of previous years, but the work has been really positive, since they cleaned a long stretch of the stream along a really steep area, which made the work difficult.

Photograph of the As Bouzas streamThere are still several spots with invasive species and litter along the stretch of the As Bouzas stream up to the Porto do Vao Bridge, by the road to A Espenuca.

The tributaries to the River Mandeo, even the small streams like this one, which are out of the protected natural heritage site, have a great ecological importance. Young fish find shelter there while they do not reach the sufficient size to go down to the river. Moreover, we can find several threatened species in the surroundings: amphibians such as golden-striped salamander and the Iberian frog, mollusc such as Quimper snail or fern such as Trichomanes speciosum.

In response to the need of restoring the natural state of the As Bouzas stream, we hope that these activities can continue in future work camps. We expect to count on the good management of the director, Jesús Díaz, and the Ribeirán Proxectos Naturais, the essential collaboration of the Coirós Council and the Directorate General for Youth, Participation and Volunteering of the Xunta de Galicia.

Photograph of the volunteers

Welcome to the fourth work camp

17 August 2019

This morning we have been at the Ethnographic Centre of Teixeiro to welcome the volunteers of the fourth Monte da Espenuca work camp.

Photograph of the volunteersThirteen people coming from all over Spain ―including three Galician girls― accompanied by two instructors and the field camp director, will be working for our natural heritage until August 27th. During the welcome talk we have had the opportunity to explain the habitat restoration works that have been performed, our objectives and how we use land stewardship to preserve the biodiversity of our area.

After six days they will add 480 working hours to the work already done by volunteers during the last two days at the As Bouzas stream. This tributary flows into the River Mandeo just at the foot of the Chelo Visitors Centre (Coirós). There are several spots where the small-leaf spiderwort (Tradescantia fluminensis) grows.

Besides displacing the native vegetation on the banks of this stream, the presence of this invasive plant of South-American origin implies the risk of the winter river swellings sweeping along parts of the plant that could take root within the protected natural area, where its eradication is almost achieved along the stretch we safeguard along the River Mandeo. To support this objective, volunteers of Fragas do Mandeo have been checking during the winter and the spring the action areas of previous editions, to avoid the small-leaf spiderwort to recolonize them.

Fragas do Mandeo promotes, gives advice and collaborates with this work camp. It has been applied for by the Coirós Council and organized by the Directorate General for Youth, Participation and Volunteering of the Xunta de Galicia. The management is assumed by Ribeirán Proxectos Naturais, counting on Jesús Díaz as Director.

We thank them for their altruistic effort on behalf of nature.

Photograph of the volunteers

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