Soto Gutiérrez lakes, an oasis of biodiversity, continue to dry up • Ecologistas en Acción
The Soto Gutierrez Wetland, in Surest Provincial Park, is a biodiversity hotspot. More than 200 species of cataloged birds have been discovered and rarely seen in the Community of Madrid. However, since June, the landowner has dried it up for planting. The citizen movement rose in his defense and ecologists at work asked for the intervention of the Ministry of Environment to salvage the loopholes.
The lakes or wetlands of Soto Gutiérrez are located in the municipality of Ciempozuelos, near the Jarama River. It is included in the Southeastern Regional Park and in the Natura 2000 Conservation Areas, made up of the Special Conservation Area (ZEC) “Vegas, Cuestas e Paramos del Sores de Madrid” and the Special Conservation Area for Birds (ZEPA) “Cortados and Cortados and Garama and Manzanares rivers.
This wetland, unknown though frequently visited by people fond of birdwatching, is a breeding, feeding, migratory stop, perch and sanctuary for many birds. So far, 224 species have been discovered, according to the Citizen Science Platform’s list Iberd It was developed by Cornell University (USA). According to a study he did Working Group to Preserve Soto Gutierrez, Compare the species in the list eBird With species listed in different categories of Regional Catalog of Endangered SpeciesThe importance of wetlands was highlighted. It has been revealed as a vital space for the conservation of most of the threatened species listed in it.
In this small area, 83% of the species classified as in danger of extinction from the Community of Madrid were discovered (eg black stork, imperial vulture, black vulture, minor kestrel, and Egyptian common vulture); 100% of species that are sensitive to changing their habitat (eg purple heron, Iberian grouse, little bustard, little myrrh); 100% of species classified as vulnerable (eg common geese, Montagu harrier, red kite, eagle owl); and 89% of those considered to have a special interest (eg red duck, black-necked gooseberry, European railroad, common substrate).
In addition, it has been observed that the species, without being cataloged, is rare in other areas of the region, such as the common spoon-beak or the common moray eel. Few of the lakes in the Community of Madrid host so much biodiversity in such a small space.
Despite the natural value of these wetlands, alarm bells went off last June. The members of the working group to keep Soto Gutiérrez from drying out checked. Trenches were dug to drain the water into the Jarama River, emptying the lakes. a signature set Some deputies visited the area.
The solution to the problem is complicated, the land on which the wetland is located belongs to an old gravel pit with restoration plans that allow the wetland to dry out to restore it as an agricultural area. The problem is that these plans go back to the late 1990s and early 2000s. In the 20 years that have passed without land restoration, it has been reconfigured and is now an area of great biodiversity.
So, in mid-July, ecologists at work contacted the General Directorate of Biodiversity of the Ministry of Environment, who understood the new situation, and asked the owner to refrain from carrying out actions that harm the wetlands, as long as the Southeast Regional Park does not authorize it. Unfortunately, this call appears to have been ignored by the owner as he continued to drain the lakes.
At present the smaller lakes have dried up and the larger central lake is still emptying. Environmentalists again requested the intervention of the Ministry of Environment and if the drying of the wetlands does not stop, the facts will be presented to the prosecutor’s office.
Central drainage channel of the lake
Dry side lakes video
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