Author Topic: Why trash the ramblas?  (Read 3575 times)

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Offline Los Gazquez

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Why trash the ramblas?
« on: November 24, 2009, 18:05 PM »
In our corner of northern Almeria, in the Parque Natural Sierra Maria-Los Velez, they have many new initiatives to collect and preserve water. For example, over the preceeding months they have been building dykes in the barrancos and smaller rambla to capture silt. The idea is to restore a silted up reservoir nearby, in Murcia. The fact that health and safety forces the dyke builders to cut down all the undergrowth from the forest floor to avoid fire risk seems a little counter productive. i.e. it is the undergrowth which is most efficient in holding the earth in place, stopping it running away to fill up the reservoir. Either way I understand the principles behind their actions and the solutions are difficult so I do admire their attempts to solve these problems.
However, we have a favourite rambla. It is (or was) one of those huge dry fluvial systems so typical of this part of Spain. Teeming with bee eaters and rollers, hoopoes etc. as well as fantastic flora, completely different from the surrounding alpine desert. But they have gone and flattened it. They have ploughed the bottom and graded it. The rambla is now just a wasteland of gravel and sand. I understand it is to stop errosion. But can anyone tell me how?
Cortijada Los Gazquez - Vida en 1000m. Parque Natural Sierra Maria Los Velez. Andalucia.
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Why trash the ramblas?
« on: November 24, 2009, 18:05 PM »

Offline Clive

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 21:55 PM »
Do you have any images of before and after ? I can't see how the method you suggest will stop erosion... Surely the next big rain will wash all the loosened river base downstream?... Of course, the next big rain will also put it back almost the way it was.....
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Offline Los Gazquez

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2009, 10:32 AM »
Sorry, it took me a couple of days to get down there to take the photos. The first one is of the rambla before and the  next two are what the devastating results are afterwards. It makes no sense to me. It's not just one rambla either, it's all of them in the area.
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Offline Clive

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2009, 11:33 AM »
Wow.....

One thing is for sure.... When the next rain comes in large quantitities (which it will at some point as it always does).... That rambla base is going to end up a long way down stream... As far as I can see they are HELPING erosion by loosening the base... Surely the result will be a deeper steeper sided river bed?

Can you visit the medio ambiente natural park office and get a copy of any plans or maybe even talk to someone there to find out what exactly the idea is?... I am afraid I just don't get it..... If this is happenning inside the park boudaries I would be surprised if it is even legal.... I suppose they have done it out of the breeding season for most wildlife but still the damage done to amphibians and reptiles must be absolutely huge.... Surely all amphibians in Spain AND their habitats especially inside natural parks are protected?
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Offline Clive

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2009, 11:40 AM »
Hi again..... is it the Rambla Chrivel ? I found the below....

Quote
Se ha presentado el proyecto de repoblación y corrección hidrológica de la rambla de Chirivel

La Consejería de Medio Ambiente presentó el pasado mes de octubre el proyecto para la reforestación y corrección hidrológica de la Rambla de Chirivel, municipio enclavado en el Parque Natural Sierra María-Los Vélez. Con este proyecto se pretende recuperar las márgenes del cauce temporal, actualmente muy deterioradas por la ocupación agrícola y ganadera de las riberas y por el excesivo tránsito de vehículos por las mismas, mediante la revegetación y el control de la erosión. El proyecto, cuya fase inicial ya ha comenzado, engloba la realización de obras de corrección hidrológica, centradas en la mejora y mantenimiento de infraestructuras de defensa del cauce el el tramo de la rambla que atraviesa el núcleo urbano, y la reforestación de las zonas de  ribera más deterioradas.

taken from....
http://www.juntadeandalucia.es/medioambiente/contenidoExterno/Pub_renpa/boletin4/boletinRenpa4_2.html

I wonder if our friend Indalo (Jesus) can give some more information... I will PM him and ask him to have a look here...
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Offline Los Gazquez

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2009, 11:54 AM »
I passed the rambla de Chirivel yesterday and yes this too. All of them. What I don't understand is that there was plant life specific to the rambla growing there. Non of it was fantastically unusual I admit, but it did represent diversity.

I suspect the next step will be to import the cast off boulders from the marble quarries in an attempt to shaw up the steep sandy banks where the bee eaters nest. This has already been done in some places.

Years ago I knew a wood carver. He said 'never try to force wood to bend your will, it will always return'. I think we could apply this to rambla too.

I look forward to hearing what Jesus will say.

Simon
Cortijada Los Gazquez - Vida en 1000m. Parque Natural Sierra Maria Los Velez. Andalucia.
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Offline Jesus Contreras

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2009, 14:55 PM »
I passed the rambla de Chirivel yesterday and yes this too. All of them. What I don't understand is that there was plant life specific to the rambla growing there. Non of it was fantastically unusual I admit, but it did represent diversity.

I suspect the next step will be to import the cast off boulders from the marble quarries in an attempt to shaw up the steep sandy banks where the bee eaters nest. This has already been done in some places.

Years ago I knew a wood carver. He said 'never try to force wood to bend your will, it will always return'. I think we could apply this to rambla too.

I look forward to hearing what Jesus will say.

Simon


Dear friends, only for the mention to my name, that I decide to give my personal opinion publicly... but as you know, I don´t like polemics because an only truth does never exist. I say again, that it´s only my "personal opinion".  (Sorry for my spanglish...  :-X )

I know very well this area, and it is one of the best preserved of Almería. Any action  with hidrologic plans there, is always very finely thinked by the environmental authorities, and water, in these moments is a delicate topic, because it is not raining this year.

I don´t know exactly about this jobs in los Velez, but be very sure that the endangered anphibians areas are not being alterated. Landscape can be altered at a first view, but in some months everything regenerates by itself.

Consider also that erosion levels, because of the nature of the lands, is very high... and sometimes man action is needed to preserve ecosystems, although I don´t know exactly what they are doing there at the place of reference. Wildlife in the peresent at this area is very linked to the presence of humans (vultures, Pelodytes toad, small birds, crows...); everyone of them would have serious problems without the hand-made ecosystems or artificial feeding (vultures).

About anphibians there, you only can find iberian frog (except in determined protected areas) because toads goes down to earth in soft lands, and they flee for new places when machines begins to work. Reptiles also goes out quickly and replace in near places. Birds has no problem, if it is not the breeding season... sometimes it is good for some birds, because they come to the altered land, looking for excavated insects that has come to the surface, giving them added nutrients.

From inmemorial times, the ramblas has been worked in Spain as ways for the mules or cars, for avoiding fires, for chanelling water... this is nothing new here, and it is not bad, always when vegetation around is not alterated and protected areas are respected. Nevertheless, vegetation comes again up and every place continues its ecollogical rithm, if we do not continually clean the rambla.

These hand-made actions are not worst than the natural ones, when the storms rambles out everything in them. I think that the only impact (except in protected areas, logically) is the visual impact on landscape (temporarily).

People always look (myself included) the damages that does our neighbours, but don´t think that ourselves, with our cars and building our own houses, causes the same damages. In this way, every alteration is good for some species and bad for others. For example, if you destroy a land and make there a big balsa, it can be horrible for the steparic birds, but soon there will come to rest in migration or feeding, acuatic ones, and anphibians will have a place... and so on with every considered topic.

More examples, when a village is transformed in a town... some species go out to other places, what does not mean that they dissapear or suffer damages in their populations, but in its place in some years, there will appear other new inhabitantas, as swifts and other antropic ones.

I hate personally the alteration of the land, but ecologically we must consider many logic aspects. A rambla that is full of closed vegetation is very important, but also drinks the few water that can run in it, so the rambla in its lower side can become dry, altering ecosistems for other species living there.

So, it is very complicated to get in a correct position thinking about this, but I´m sure that this topic commented about los Velez is not seriously damaging nature, but helping human populations living there, for getting water for their growings... growings that also are good for feeding birds and other animals.

Nature is always able to find its own balance, humankind included, always that we do not abuse excesively.

I want to consider finally that always, in these great works, there some animals that die, but how many moths, grasshopers, flies, butterflies... etc we kill every time we put our car in the road?... this is only an example, we could talk about lots more.


Hope it can be useful.

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Simon

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2009, 16:07 PM »
Hi Jesús,

Thank you for a balanced, informed and above all well written essay on this difficult issue. You are so right; things that often appear ugly or destructive to our eyes, especially the British who have a very romantic image of nature, are usually 'normal' natural processes. Helping those processes along a little is OK as long as it is well informed and controlled - not always the case I grant you!

Regards

Simon*

Not 'Los Gazques', the other Simon!

Offline Jesus Contreras

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2009, 00:22 AM »
I am looking and re-looking detailedly the image that you have sent, Simon.

Are you sure that this intervetnion is for stop erosion or so?....

Hmmmmm..... so a great explanation remembers me the paths that Eolic companies makes for introducing to the lands the pieces of wind generators in enormous lorries. The damage for the rambla, as I have told before, is small... but if they are installing wind mills near your house, this can be really a problem for you and other neighbours, except for those that does not live there and sells or rent the lands for good money.

If you detect that can be this, you might go to your "ayuntamiento" to look for it, if you think you can be affected anyway. You can claim (alegar in sp.) if so.

I know that there are being built in a short date new eolic stations, as in every place of our lands.

---

The positive and negative effect of these wind generators is for a different topic. They kill birds (demonstrated) and visually they are horrible, but sometimes we must think about our waste of energy... it is better for Humankind and Earth that those that waste energy (ourselves, the "civilized" ones) to stress our own lands, than to buy petrol with "human blood" and close our eyes afterwards... for understanding this, we only must look back to the Irak war, and try to wash our conscience.

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Geographical Field Trips & Birdwatching in Almería - Spain

Offline Los Gazquez

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Re: Why trash the ramblas?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2009, 18:16 PM »
Estimado Jesus,

Nice to hear from you. There are wind generators planned for the area north of Velez Blanco on the alto plano but not until next year. Most of the work going on in the ramblas and barrancos is to do with the reformation of the Pantano de Valdenfierno. Dykes are being built everwhere to slow erosion down so that the pantano doesn't fill up with silt. But I can't establish why they would do the opposite in the ramblas. They do not connect to this pantano but drain further south towards Lorca.

I shall make more inquiries.

Uno Salu2, Simon

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