Marbella to contract service to help protect and maintain environmentally-valuable sand dunes

The Real de Zaragoza dune, which is part of the Ecological Reserve.
The Real de Zaragoza dune, which is part of the Ecological Reserve. / Josele-Lanza
  • The plan, which has the backing of ProDunas, will require an investment of 450,000 euros over four years

As fences, barriers, traffic signs and posters have had little effect on protecting the sand dunes from the damage due to ignorance, anti-social behaviour and vandalism which has occurred again in recent months, Marbella council's Department of the Environment, Beaches and Ports has decided to contract a service to improve and maintain these highly valuable coastal ecosystems.

The proposal, which has the support of the ProDunas association, will require an investment of at least 450,000 euros if it continues for four years (the contract will be for two years, 2019 and 2020, but it can legally be extended for up to two years).

Among other responsibilities, the new service will be responsible for eliminating invasive species of plants and trees from the dunes, in accordance with the Management Plan for Protection of the Coastal Corridor of Andalucía.

The 'Dunas de Marbella' Ecological Reserve includes eight stretches of the sand dunes covering 222,303.68 square metres; there is also a further classification, that of the Dunas de Artola Natural Monument, which covers an area of 19.27 hectares.

According to documentation about the new service, the works to be carried out will include those needed to "recover and regenerate the dune system, with the aim of regaining some of the most important features which they have gradually been losing in recent years", as well as maintaining the area of the dunes during the time the contract is in force.

The contract will be put to tender, possibly by inviting sealed bids, and will cover four main areas: the eradication and elimination of exotic-invasory species; the creation of enclosing fences and walkways; putting up signs; and monitoring and maintaining the dune areas.

Clearing and eliminating exotic-invasory species will be done by machine and manually, to remove the ones which have a negative effect on this environment and its biodiversity. These species include mimosa, eucalyptus and yuccas, among many others.

The following phase will involve protecting the dunes from damage caused by humans, with fencing and walkways to access the beach, to stop people treading on the recently-regenerated dunes.

Signs will also be put up in strategic places, showing the way to the beach, and there will be information panels, one per dune system, explaining the flora and fauna. These will bear the logo of the ProDunas association and Marbella town hall.

The service will be monitored and inspected by the council, and the town hall will have the right to change the personnel or materials if required. The new service will be responsible for the immediate repair of any defects which may occur.

The councillor for the Environment, Beaches and Ports, Manuel Cardeña, believes the contract can be put out to tender this year, and if so, the service can begin in January.

The problems which have occurred this year have included people climbing over the protective fencing, driving their cars and motorbikes onto the sand and lifting 'No Entry' barriers to gain access.