Argelès-sur-Mer strives to make its territory more pleasant to live in for its inhabitants and visitors by regularly implementing new initiatives to protect the biodiversity of its coast. These steps make Argelès-sur-Mer the most branded municipality in the region. In addition to its 50 accommodation and leisure structures with the “Qualité Sud de France” label, 7 km of beaches benefit from the Blue Flag, thus ensuring perfectly clean water and beaches that are safe and cleaned every day. The French Biodiversity Office has also awarded the city the label “Territory committed to nature”.
PROTECT BIODIVERSITY IN FRAGILE SPACES
On the territory of Argelès-sur-Mer there are protected sites such as the Marine Park of the Gulf of Lion and the nature reserve Mas Larrieu. This natural area of 160 hectares, an oasis of biodiversity, with 2.5 kilometers of fine sandy beach, has as its main challenges the management of the high frequency of the area, monitoring the climate and erosion of the coastline, as well as the fight against invasive species.
To preserve suffering coastal areas, the installation of wooden barriers (ganivells) allows the public to channelize and re-neglect the dunes. This protection approach aims to promote the return of biodiversity to this area, which is home to particularly protected plants. This intervention also has the effect of developing the space to better accommodate the public. The pedestrian paths will make it possible to discover the site without changing its biodiversity.
The Gulf of Lion Marine Park, a large marine protected area created in 2011, has as its main objective the preservation of the habitats and species in 4 sectors: the rocky coast, the sandy coast, the continental shelf and the deep canyons by implementing actions developed with all the marine stakeholders The reflection on the protection of the rocky coast began with the project to expand the marine nature reserve Cerbère-Banyuls.
The municipality of Argelès-sur-Mer aims in particular to reduce the pressure on marine biodiversity. The anchoring of Posidonia meadows, a fragile flowering plant found only in the Mediterranean, is a great challenge to achieve this. To do this, this year ecological moorings were installed in certain areas of the Marine Park to limit the impacts associated with anchoring. Fishing boats, yachts and passenger ships can thus attach themselves to these buoys in these areas where anchoring is prohibited. A great awareness effort is being put in place in the year 2022 for the installation of these “Zmel” gifts since the beginning of May.
To advance in these steps, the representatives of 9 structures that offer kayak and paddle trips met on July 6, 2022 in Argelès-sur-Mer to sign with the president of the marine park the charter “Guide for partner observation of parks”. Through this partnership, signatories commit to avoid disturbance of species by prohibiting contact, feeding and excessive access to them; to avoid habitat degradation, especially when launching or leaving kayaks/paddles and making the supervised aware of the biodiversity challenges and good practice of the activity by limiting the size of the groups and saying the right words.
INFORMING CHILDREN AND ADULTS VIA A DISPLAY THAT SPEAKS TO EVERYONE
Between the mouth of the Tech and the dune massif, an educational trail of the Mas Larrieu nature reserve was inaugurated on May 22 during the “Festival of Nature”. Free admission, the course is open to the public all year round, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An application can be downloaded in four languages (French, Catalan, Spanish, English). The route is marked by ten panels that provide information about its exceptional fauna and flora, its history and its challenges. Established on the dune massif in the reserve, the panels are located along the beach, where the ecological effort is the strongest with a very high frequency of tourists.
This initiative, created by the city in collaboration with students and teachers from BTS Tourism at the Christian Bourquin high school in Argelès-sur-Mer, is an opportunity for the public to get to know the Mas Larrieu nature reserve, a unique place.
Château de Valmy and its magnificent six-hectare park at the foot of the famous Tour de la Massane is another remarkable site in the Argelès-sur-Mers area. The park, nicknamed “the balcony of Argelès-sur-Mer”, is located between the Roussillon plain, the Mediterranean and the Albères massif. Valmy Park is open to the public free of charge and offers an interpretive circuit that allows you to discover its history, its unique fauna and flora thanks to educational panels.
BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES IN THE TERRITORY THROUGH EVENTS AND FUN ACTIVITIES
This summer, Argelès-sur-Mer is offering free activities aimed at raising awareness of biodiversity protection. It is to strengthen the bond between parent-child and the environment that the city of Argelès-sur-Mer is offering “summer school” for the third year in a row. On the occasion of mornings with activities, different themes are offered: dip net fishing, creation of cosmetics based on natural products, edible wild picking, beekeeping… The workshops take place in beautiful green surroundings: at the Parc de Valmy, but also near the northern dyke, south beach for ” small fishing”, “Land Art” and “Globe-Trotteurs” activities.
This year, Argelès Photo Nature returns with a magnificent exhibition on the themes “The ocean is watching you”, “The Tundra” and “The high plateaux of Tibet”. The aim of the organizers is every year since 2009 to select an exhibition of diversified photos with a maximum of affected ecosystems to share moments of wildlife captured by renowned photographers with the general public.
The EEDD network in Pyrénées-Orientales is organizing its Tram 66 event on September 4 for environmental education. Its aim is to promote and develop environmental education in the direction of sustainable development and to promote the sustainability of structures that work in this direction. On the program for this day of celebration, which will be an opportunity to create, wonder and share, there will be escape games about the climate, an exhibition about fauna and flora, numerous workshops, associations and local initiatives.
For more information : www.argeles-sur-mer.com