LTSER MONDEGO ESTUARY - Portugal
LTSER MONDEGO ESTUARY
Parent Site Name
3M_RECITAL - MINHO, MONDEGO, AND MIRA ESTUARIES observatory: Long term vaRiation of ECOLOGICAL sTAtus as a response to naturaL and human induced changes. Implications for management and restoration. Mondego estuary site: The Mondego River drains a basin of approximately 6670 Km2 and its valley is considerably steep in upstream sections, forming a large alluvial plain consisting of good agricultural land in downstream areas. Since the 1960s, the Mondego catchment area underwent a large scale morphological modification, involving the construction of stone walls, to regulate the river water flow and enlarge harbor facilities, and water reservoirs to control floods, improve the uses of water resources, and produce electric power, which modified the riverbed topography and changed the system hydrodynamics. The river contributes presently with a high anthropogenic loading of nutrients and several chemicals into its relatively small estuary (1600 ha, splitting in two arms separated by an island in the terminal part), causing eutrophication. Besides, the estuary - Western coast of Portugal - North Atlantic Ocean Eco-region - supports industrial activities, salt-works, and aquaculture farms, and is the location of Figueira da Foz, a harbour and a centre of seasonal touristic activity. A comprehensive study on the Mondego estuary environmental quality has been carried out during the last two decades, focusing on water quality, hydraulics and sediments dynamics, plankton communities (phyto, zoo, and ichtyoplankton), the term evolution of the benthic communities (intertidal and subtidal), and the changes in macrophytes’ beds (Zostera noltei) and green macroalgae distribution in relation to morphological alterations.
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