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Forest-fire prevention push on Formentera

foto stand-placa-constitucioThe Formentera Council's department of the interior is unveiling details of the firefighting brigade's collaboration in a campaign by the Balearic ministry of environment to advance forest-fire prevention and safety measures.

The outreach push isn't just about putting a stop to wildfires; it's about driving home the message that doing so is up to everyone—from government agencies to the island at large— and that with some simple attitude hacks, such blazes and their disastrous effects can be stamped out.

Formentera firefighters and special agents of the regional forest service, Ibanat, are completing a series of actions to engage islanders in the task of wildfire prevention.

Prevention campaign

Workers will hand out informational material to homeowners residing near forested tracts or in areas of the island facing increased risk of fire. The literature serves as a reminder that owners of wildfire-prone land are expected to conduct a series of preventive actions to minimise the effects of blazes.

While islanders living in homes or residential neighbhourhoods adjacent to forests are the focus of the campaign, tourists on holiday in such areas are also targets of outreach, and educational material is being distributed in a number of languages.

Information and tips about the campaign have been printed on paper tablecloths —distributed to island bars and restaurants— help ensure islanders know how they can to do their part. A stand is also being staffed opposite the Formentera Council where residents and tourists can hear about the campaign and learn about the important measures.

Paper tablecloths with information and tips about the campaign have been distributed to bars and restaurants across the island in an effort to educate people about how they can do their part. A stand is also being staffed opposite the Formentera Council where residents and tourists can hear about the campaign and get up to speed on some of the associated measures.

Nature group pushes ahead with efforts on ground to protect Formentera seaboard

foto compilant dadesThe Formentera Council's environment department reports that this week, a coalition of environmental advocates and bird-watching enthusiasts called GEN-GOB (Grup d'Estudis de la Natura / Grup Balear d'Ornitologia) has completed the second part of an on-the-ground initiative which received funding from last year's Save Posidonia Project.

Beginning in July and dubbed “Posidonia and sustainable marine strategies for Formentera”, the operation is aimed at quantifying the pressure that anchoring ships place on the meadows of Posidonia oceanica seagrass located along Formentera's coast. Operatives also intend to study the success of conservation efforts under way.

To get there, members of the operation have travelled by boat to locate watercraft anchored on sand, rock, posidonia meadows and another seagrass, Cympodocea nodosa. The tracking operations used a system known as AIS (Automatic Identification System) which enables boats to broadcast their coordinates and other relevant information. Divers were dispatched in an effort to assess the state of posidonia meadows.

Preliminary findings
Some four hundred ships anchored on Formentera's coastline were counted in August. Dives took place at ses Illetes, Llevant, es Racó de sa Pujada and Migjorn.

Based on analysis of the data gathered, observers have noted that fewer ships are stationed along the coast than in the past. Previous years saw as many as 760 boats dotting the coastline. Ses Illetes and Cala Saona are historically areas where strain on the seaboard is greatest.

Likewise, drops have been registered in the number of boats anchoring on posidonia thanks to motorboat patrols and more informed seafarers.

Environment secretary Daisee Aguilera, who welcomed the decline in boats dropping anchor on the seagrass, encouraged continued participation in Save Posidonia Project. “This year will be the project's second”, said Aguilera, “and we need everyone to get involved if we're going to push ahead with research and outreach to preserve this undersea treasure”. She pointed out that anyone interested could still adopt square metres of the seagrass at the www.saveposidoniaproject.org website.

Phase three of the GEN-GOB project is set to take place in September.

Formentera gets €66k for local police

foto localitzacio amb-dronThe Formentera Council has received €66,690.36 this year from the Balearic Fons de Seguretat Pública, or “Public Safety Fund”. The money will be directed to staff needs as well as materials for safety.

Public Safety Fund
The point of the fund, apart from helping law enforcement maximise their ability to offer stable and adaptable services, is to bolster coordination between local agencies and promote measures that optimise quality services.

Municipalities must use the assistance to guarantee services are adequate—seventy per cent will be devoted to human resources and the remaining thirty per cent to safety-enhancing materials.

Money from the Public Safety Fund is meant to give distinct branches of municipal and regional administrations the tools to offer efficient law enforcement services and improve public safety in the municipalities of the Balearics.

Competitive exams to fill six police posts
From Wednesday August 22 to Friday August 24, competitive exams will determine candidates for six new posts on Formentera's local police force. The tests will cover general knowledge, familiarity with the territory and regulations at the municipal and island levels, as well as candidates' psychological aptitude and personality traits that may or may not make them fit to serve. The would-be officers' practical and physical qualities will also be tested.

Drone raids and operations in es Cap de Barbaria
Local law enforcement have continued conducting patrols with the help of drones. One operation last week in ses Illetes resulted in the identification of two ambulant vendors and the confiscation of various for-sale items.

The purpose of the drone raids is two-fold: catching perpetrators in the act, and identifying locations used to hide illicit materials, immensely useful for forward operations.

Patrols at the weekend targetted es Cap, another hotspot for itinerant vending.

Formentera hopes to tap sustainable tourism levy for nautical sports centre build and bid to regulate moorage at Estany des Peix

foto estany des peixCounci officials have unveiled two projects they intend to fund with the island's yearly plan to promote sustainable tourism in 2018. The projects —construction of the island's nautical sports center (CEN for its initials in Catalan) and regulation of Estany des Peix— will cost a combined €1.4 million.

Estany des Peix
The plan to install pontoons and low-impact moorage points is guided by a logic of restoring the lake's natural environmental conditions by encouraging orderly, regulated mooring of boats. The bipartisan proposal is aimed at meeting a demand for the service which typically spikes in summer. Regulated moorage has been identified as vital to ongoing use of traditional small drydocks and preservation of natural surroundings.

Given the project's alignment with the key priorities of “Landscapes, conservation and education about environmental-interest sites”set out in the island's annual sustainable tourism strategy for 2018, Council officials are asking to use money from the sustainable tourism tax to finance the €652,156 investment (VAT included).

Nautical Sports Centre
The Nautical Sports Centre build and relocation of the island's municipal sailing school are aimed at tempering the summer-heavy focus of tourism and, at the same time, bolster the amount of “active nautical tourism” available in the low season. Plans are also in place to leverage the public space for educational initiatives concerning the environment inland and at sea.

The project squares with the sustainable tourism strategy's objective of “Acqusition, protection, preservation, modernisation and recuperation of natural, rural and marine environments”, which is why Council officials hope to tap funds from the sustainable tourism levy to pay the €764,433 price tag (VAT included).

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