Reclaiming the hydraulic public domain affected by the Valls fire

  • The CHJ carries out the work which includes the felling of trees, the consolidation of the land and the analysis of the water quality, as well as the construction of fajinas to prevent erosion.

The Hydrographic Confederation of Júcar (CHJ) OA has been working since the end of October to recover the public hydraulic domain affected by the serious fires that occurred this summer in the regions of Vall d’Ebo and Bejís. This involves clearing the beds of rivers, boulevards and ravines with the aim of removing all burnt plant material, as well as repairing erosions and damage caused by these.

Both actions were declared emergency works this autumn, have a budget of 1.2 million euros and it is estimated that they can be completed during the month of June next year. Both in Les Valls (the fire that originated in Vall d’Ebo) and in Bejís, the Confederation is working jointly and in coordination with the General Directorate for Forest Fire Prevention of the Generalitat Valenciana (GVA). “It was our duty to collaborate in all the actions that have been put in place to recover such important natural spaces”, underlines the water commissioner, Marc García.

The restoration works are carried out manually by different forestry teams from Tragsa, a public company in charge of carrying out the emergency works promoted by the Hydrographic Confederation of Júcar and the Generalitat Valenciana. Marc García puts forward an “almost artisanal” work which has a double objective. On the one hand, to rid the hydraulic public domain of any burned tree material and on the other hand, to reuse the waste generated by these actions. “We first knock down the tree, if it hasn’t already fallen, then we cut it into manageable pieces. These logs are put in several fields so that neighbors can take advantage of them to heat their homes this winter” .

Felling trees, reinforcing the ground and analyzing water quality

The actions for the recovery and restoration of the river promoted by the Júcar Hydrographic Confederation have as their main objective the elimination of the burnt vegetation that affects the public hydraulic area, although it should not be forgotten that other works have also launched to repair damage to the ground and assess the effect the fires have had on water quality.

The removal of burnt trees will prevent possible obstructions in the waterways and damage to the hydraulic infrastructures of the beds, boulevards and ravines. A river restoration that, at the same time, eliminates invasive species and preserves native ones. “We carry out a selective removal and pruning, tree by tree, which allows us to ensure the survival of riparian species, and to achieve an overall improvement of these spaces”, explains Ignacio Ezpeleta, director of emergency works.

In addition to reserving some of the burned trees for neighborhood use, the Confederacy uses the logs to build a series of fajinas that will prevent future erosion and secure fire-affected land from rain events and large avenues. . A formula which, according to Marc García, “reduces the possibility that sediments are carried into the river and that the soil loses its fertility”.

Finally, the Water Commission of the Basin Agency has undertaken to carry out periodic measurements of the state of water quality, both surface and underground, to assess whether the ashes and remains of burnt plants have impact on these water bodies.

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