The Guadaiza river / Josele

Marbella’s riverbeds are home to dragonflies and otters

A comprehensive study by the Marbella Activa association has revealed other threatened species are also in need of special protection

JOAQUINA DUEÑAS

Marbella has four rivers that are declared a Special Conservation Area (ZEC) within the Natura 2000 Network: the Verde river, the Guadaiza river, the Guadalmina river and the Real river. All together they add up to 17.56 kilometres and about 100 hectares of protected riverbed as they pass through the municipality. Otters were the main reason these areas are protected but biologist Diego Rodríguez points out that there are other threatened species, such as dragonflies that need protection.

Rodríguez specialises in river fauna, from mammals to insects and fish. He is participating in the 'Comprehensive analysis of the ZEC rivers in Marbella' project launched by the Marbella Activa association, which has been selected within the call for grants for the sponsorship of natural spaces and resources under the Libera project.

The biologist said these protected rivers in Marbella “should have management plans that look for the conservation of their ecological values. What we want to check is to what extent this is being done well in our municipality.”

His study of the rivers will continue through summer, the first stage of sampling underway.

“This consists of going through the stretch of river that runs through the municipality of Marbella and seeing what kind of problems there are," he said.

The most common problems are “the presence of invasive species, especially plants; garbage concentration areas, including waste from pruning but also plastics and bottles, such as in the Río Verde in the Ángel area; leaks in the sewage network that we want to identify and we want to send water samples to a laboratory to know if the minimum ecological flow is being respected.”

Once all the data is obtained, a detailed report will be prepared that will be accompanied by proposals for improving the management and conservation of these spaces.