Conchalí Lagoon: Coastal Wetland Restoration Project (Chile)
Conchali Lagoon is a coastal wetland located at the northern part of Chile (31° 52.757° S; 71° 29.769° W). This ecosystem is hydrologically dynamic since its catchment receives contributions of water and salt from both rivers and the sea. During periods of high recharge, the lagoon connects to the sea across a sand barrier and waters enter into a euryhaline condition. This contrasts with a mainly freshwater lagoon, disconnected from the sea, during low recharge periods. This hydrodynamic connection/disconnection process generates inter and intra-annual patterns in the aquatic flora and fauna, such as the dominance of aquatic plants and marine algae during periods of low and high salinity, respectively. In 1998 several management actions were implemented in order to improve its ecological status, mainly for controlling local threats. Comparative studies have shown that the area has significantly improved its ecological indicators, including a progressive increase in the number of bird species. From a management perspective, the plan implemented to control local threats was successful. However, new threats at a cathment and global scale are affecting the lagoon and they have implications to the maintenance of the lagoon’s ecological character. Therefore, for the conservation of this Ramsar Site, the local management actions are by themselves insufficient and measures must be undertaken to develop a new plan for the sustainable use of water resources at a catchment scale.
KeywordsWetland Coastal Lagoon Biodiversity Watershed water balance Eutrophication
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