2nd of February | World Wetlands Day
It’s finally here! After an amazing week in Tartu, it’s time to fulfil the promise made at the end of the youth exchange: raising awareness on the value of wetlands.
Upon checking the official website on wetlands (yes, that’s something real!), I ended up choosing a place close to my hometown.
Pateira de Fermentelos
40º33’52’N | 008º30’28’W
Ramsar Site Number: 2089
Even though I was not able to visit this place upon deciding on writing about it, I have very fond memories of being there.
Pateira de Fermentelos, despite its somewhat unusual name, is the largest freshwater lagoon of the Iberian Peninsula, spanning around 1,599 ha. Located in the district of Aveiro, it sits on the confluences of two rivers: Águeda and Cértima. In 2013, the Pateira de Fermentelos became the 17th place in Portugal recognised by Ramsar as an important ecological ecosystem, incredibly rich in biodiversity and provider of plenty of services vital to our planet.
This site is home to important populations of aquatic birds, like the little bittern and the black kite and different sorts of ducks. In addition, local fish, such as largemouth bass, carp and perch, and the commercial popularity of crayfish and rays, support the freshwater fishing industry of the region.
In addition to being a living sanctuary, the Pateira, as a wetland, provides some important ecosystem services, such as: groundwater recharge, flood control, sediment trapping and maintenance of water supply for both natural and human-made ecosystems.
The largest threat factors which might affect the ecological status of the site are essentially intensive farming, cattle raising, and contamination of water and soils by industrial and urban infrastructures. The municipality of Águeda has implemented a plan for the site which provides a set of strategies and actions aiming at the sustainable development of the area, including the creation of several pedestrian routes around the lagoon to make it a more inviting place for those eager to explore the surroundings.
If you see yourself wandering in the region of Aveiro, make sure to include the Pateira de Fermentelos in your plans! You will thank me later.