Indigenous species at Wied il-Qlejgħa, better known as Chadwick Lakes, are once again beginning to thrive following interventions to remove alien species.
In a joint statement, the Energy and Water Agency - responsible for rehabilitation works at the valley, and Nature Trust Malta - which manages the site, said that the rehabilitation process currently under way is, however, severely impacted by human activity upon the valley bed.
They urged visitors, the number of whom was increasing significantly, to play their part in protecting this natural area and not discard litter along the footpath but to use the bins that are being provided at each end of the walk.
The organisations said that the agency has endeavoured to ensure a sensitive and appropriate rehabilitation of the site and in addition to the protection of local species, the rehabilitation of the valley system saw a catchment capacity of 35 million litres of rainwater being restored through ongoing works.
They reminded the public that the release of non-indigenous species into the valley system is strictly prohibited. Such releases in the past, they said, have included freshwater fish and ducks, which caused significant harm to the ecological balance within the valley.
The ecological impact is further compounded when non-indigenous species released are also invasive, making their eradication logistically and financially challenging.
Multiple releases have led to the establishment of crayfish populations, resulting in pressures on native frog populations. The strain on the existing frog populations is exacerbated by the capture of tadpoles and their removal from the valley.
The organisations said that the valley’s flora and fauna are protected and the picking and uprooting of native flora and fauna constituted a criminal offence.
Off-roading, including by motorcycles is prohibited at the site, and access by vehicles and bicycles is only allowed on the existing hard surfaces.
For visitors enjoying the site on foot, a clearly marked walking trail is being established and keeping to the clearly marked pathway allows visitors to interact with the valley in a way that is respectful of its ecological importance and agricultural activity.
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