The Ebro Delta has an area of 32,000 hectares and is the second
most important wetland in the lberian peninsular. It has been included in
category A (of exceptional interest) by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature. It is located 178 kilometres to the south-west of
Barcelona, an approximate two-hour drive by motorway. It is triangular in form
with two large branching lobes to the north and south.
Ebro Delta rice paddy
The delta is the most important agricultural region of
Catalunya, with rice being the main crop (50%), being cultivated between April
and October. Salt mining is also an important part of the economy. Small farms
elevated above the level of the water are a feature of the landscape and form
part of a latifundia farming tradition, growing fruit and vegetables (25%).
The delta has a variety of different ecosystems, including sand dunes, salt
marsh and rice fields. Flocks of flamingoes are one of the Park's main
Flamingoes at the Ebro Delta
It is estimated that more than half of the delta will be lost
within the next 50 years. Approximately 47% lies only 50 centimetres above sea
level with several cultivated areas lying below the level of the sea. Damming of
the upper reaches of the Ebro has caused sediment loss and erosion of the delta
(of up to 15 metres a year) is now a serious problem. The level of the sea is
estimated to be rising at approximately 1.5 millimetres per year and the delta
is currently sinking due to the weight of sediment by between 1 and 8
millimetres a year.
Ebro Delta: eutrophication
Eutrophication of lagoons caused by the use of fertilizers and
pesticides is also a serious problems as is human trampling during the summer
The area was threatened by the National Hydrological Plan (NHP)
which envisaged the building of 120 new dams on the river as well as huge water
transfers to Barcelona and the south-east of Spain.
Mediterranean wetland management and issues, including threats
caused by increased urbanisation, tourist developments, fish farming, river
management and the National Hydrological Plan. The Visitors' Centre can provide
an audio-visual presentation upon arrival. A boat excursion to the mouth of the
delta forms one of the highlights of the day.