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The Natural Regional Park of Camargue continues its work to protect the colonies of pink flamingos on the étang du Fangassier, with the creation of an observatory, after having restored the hydraulic operation of the lake.
Since 2009, the Veolia Environnement Foundation has been a partner of the Natural Regional Park of Camargue for two biodiversity restoration programs, conducted in particular by the Tour du Valat ecology center:
- the restoration of the water systems and the tracking of the water quality of the étang du Fangassier. Fifteen thousand couples of pink flamingos settle there every year on an islet arranged for their reproduction in the early 1970s. With the abandonment of the exploitation of the neighboring Salins de Giraud salt marshes, their nesting had been disturbed by the interruption of the water supply of the lake;
- the creation of a marine reserve in the Gulf of Beauduc, considered as a priority in the Natura 2000 Objectives Document (European network of ecological sites), to restore the damaged marine habitats and improve the biodiversity of the Camargue marine zone.
An ecosystem that is vulnerable to disturbances
Like many sites in the Camargue, the étang du Fangassier is extremely popular with nature lovers. The ensuing traffic is damaging the natural environment (crushing of the river vegetation by parked cars, trampling of the areas) and the disturbance of the wild fauna. Such visits should be organized better by using educational tools designed to inform and guide the visitors.
A program for staffing the visitors to the Park has therefore been drawn up:installation of appropriate signage, organization of a marked, continuous and secure discovery trail, including thematic information panels of the wild fauna, the preparation of a reception building and a platform for the observation of the colony of pink flamingos, baptized the "Observatoire des Flamants - Flamingo Observatory".
The Flamingo Observatory
This Observatory is aimed to reinforce the quality of the action of the "eco-guards" (part-time employees involved in environmental awareness activities), present from April to September in the Park, with the creation of a public reception area. The idea is to convert the building, which has been abandoned today, and formerly supplied power to the Salins de Giraud salt pans, just in front of the site where the flamingos reproduce.
Its reorganization calls for:
- restoring electric power supply by solar panels or a wind generator;
- the installation of a platform on pilings to help the public better grasp the reality of the life of the colony.
The Natural Park of the Camargue is a major partner of the Veolia Environnement Foundation for biodiversity protection and water resource conservation. There are many avenues connecting the needs of the Park and the expertise of the Foundation's volunteers, like the expertise volunteered by Nils Fauchon on the quality and biological monitoring of the water in 2010. The Veolia Environnement Foundation is continuing this fruitful cooperation by participating in the creation of this observatory, alongside the Conservatoire du littoral, in charge of contracting for landscape development and traffic control for the project.