The Life project “La Mancha Wetlands” entailed the restoration of the esparto [Lygeum spartum] grasslandsand salt steppes in the region’s wetlands. The initiative, with the official name LIFE+10 NAT/ES/000563, was coordinated by Fundación Global Nature, and the Department of Agriculture of the Castile-La Mancha regional government is an associated partner. The implementation period was from October 2010 to December 2016. “La Mancha Wetlands” had a budget of €2,599,274, of which 75% was funded by the European Union and 25% co-funded by Fundación Global Nature and Castile-La Mancha’s Department of Agriculture.
The project was taking place in Natura 2000 network spaces in the provinces of Ciudad Real, Toledo and Cuenca, affecting lakes in a total of ten municipalities:
“La Mancha Wetlands” restored the esparto [Lygeum spartum] grasslands and salt steppes (Limonietalia), designated a priority habitat (1510) by Habitats Directive 92/43/EEC, and other halophile formations in the La Mancha wetlands” SCI and SPA (Birds) zones.
La Mancha Wetlands are similar and even, in some respects, superior in environmental value to the Tablas de Daimiel and the Lagunas de Ruidera. However, before de LIFE Project, these wetlands were unknown to most of the population, both local residents and the inhabitants of Castile-La Mancha in general, not to mention other Spaniards.
In addition to conservation, the project was focused on raising awareness and bringing the importance of this area to public attention, as well as promoting local development through educational, recreational and environmental activities. For this purpose, meetings were planned with experts and scientists at limnology conferences, where specialists in the field exchanged research, experiences and results. This was the second Life project related to wetlands for which Fundación Global Nature was responsible in Castile-La Mancha.