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Calich lagoon pond

In the north-west of Sardinia lies the Calich (historically also Kalich, in Catalan estany del Càlic) a pond, lagoon and fishpond among the most important coastal wetlands of Alghero and Sardinia. It is part of the Porto Conte Regional Natural Park and overlooks the Alghero roadstead, extending from the outskirts of the city behind Maria Pia beach to the hamlet of Fertilia. Calich Pond communicates with the sea through the large Fertilia canal, 60 m wide and 2 m deep, where the greatest water depth values are recorded.

The ruins of a Roman bridge, later rebuilt in the Middle Ages, still stand. In the 1930s, ten of its original twenty-four arches were demolished as work was carried out to reclaim the area from malaria. The opening towards the sea, which effectively transformed the pond into a lagoon, also dates back to the same period.

The Calich lagoon is of great naturalistic importance as it represents a buffer zone between the sea and the hinterland and is a real vital lung for many species, which find refuge and food here. It is fed by several tributaries, the most important of which, the Rio Barca, flows in the eastern sector.

Il Calich e i ruderi del ponte di epoca romana

The vegetation closest to the water consists of halophytic plants, i.e. plants adapted to environments where the concentration of salts is high. These include various species belonging to the genus Salicornia (low fleshy plants). As one moves further away from the lagoon edge, the saline characteristics of the soil become less and less marked, resulting in vegetation variability. Thus, perennial plants made up of both shrub and herbaceous species such as Juncus maritimus, Limoniastrum monopetalum, Aster tripolium and Limonium vulgare take shape.

The Calich Lagoon is undoubtedly the area most inhabited by birdlife, as it represents an area where many species carry out important phases of their biological cycle, such as reproduction, plumage moulting, migratory stopovers and wintering. In fact, it is an ideal destination for birdwatchers, as it is possible to observe many wading birds, including the Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), which nests in all the wetlands of the Nurra in spring. Various herons, including the Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea), feed on small fish in the lagoon that they catch with their long beaks as they walk through the shallow water. Also present is the Pink Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), whose particular colouration derives from feeding on Artemia salina. 

The managing body is the Azienda Speciale Parco di Porto Conte.

Calich Lagoon is also a fishpond, where eels, mullet, crabs, mullet, gilthead bream, bream, sole and sea bass are farmed. As part of the regional protection programme, a bivalve (mollusc) breeding station has been added.

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