Candidate – Portugal
Submission by: Municipality of Coruche
Project name: Sorraia River Beach Creation
The village of Coruche is situated on the alluvial plain, in an area of Ribatejo near to Alentejo, alongside the Sorraia River. The vast areas of cork oaks , from which the cork is extrated, has made Coruche one of the biggest producers in Portugal. The Sorraia River is one of the main tributaries of the Tagus River. One of the benefits of the river for the population is the connection with nature. The pedestrian/cicle path along the river is used daily for walkers and outdoors sports practitioners. The main objetive of this project was to bring people closer to the river, throught the contact with is natural values.
Sorraia River is a place of connection between the population as well as its elements. The main objective of this project was to provide a good acess to the river and his biodiversity for all living and visiting Coruche. This project is making the people of Coruche proud of their village. Now, they can experience of the beauty and the nature of the river. We can say that this project increase the population’s quality of live, without a doubt.
The banks of the Sorraia River were dominated by riparian galleries of willows, ash trees, alders and poplars. Riparian galleries are linear structures that interface between the terrestrial and aquatic systems. They are of a great importance in promoting biological diversity, bank river stabilization and retention of nutrients and poluents. They are also of agreat importance as habitats and corridors for differente groups of fauna – birds, mammals (otters) and migratory fish (ell and lamprey), for example. The project made it possible to improve and preserve the riparian gallerie’s and the river water quality.
One of the objective of the rehabilitation of the river banks and the creation of the river beach was the Coruche village acquire one place with potencial like travel destination and a factor of tourist and economic attractiveness. In addition to the econimic values, the population of Coruche also benefits from the river as an element of connection with the nature.
The Sorraia river is the central theme throughout the project. The rehabilitation of the river banks enhance both landscape and the environmental by improving the river water quality and preventing downstreem erosin. Native trees and local riparian vegetation were used because they are adapted to the Coruche climate.
Wellbeing of visitors/users
This project is important because it allowed citiziens to have access to nature and the Sorraia river. The rehabilitation of the banks of the river allows the practice of sports such as running, walking, canoeing, cycling or just enjoying nature with the family.
Selection, origin and quality of the products and materials
The riverside area was converted into the river beach of Sorraia, in a simple process, which consisted only of modeling the terrain. In the bathing area, some support equipment such as parasols, waste containers and a lookout post with a lifeguard were placed. In the surroundings there are bathrooms, shower, children’s playground, cafe and restaurant. Upstream from the location of the river beach there is a tributary, where a small dam was built that allowed the creation of a lagoon area with ripicola vegetation. On the left bank of the Sorraia river, it is part of the protection, promotion and development of the natural heritage, support infrastructures, natural resource conservation areas, trails and observation structures were created and upgraded, allowing activities along the bank, such as such as fishing, running, cycling, mountain biking and bird watching. The intervention focused mainly on the regularization of paths and the creation of routes along about 2 km of the Sorraia River bank.
The overall design
Making the Sorraia river an integral part of the village of Coruche, and in its surroundings there were already several leisure areas, it became important to integrate the riverside area into the village space, so that it could be used by everyone (local population and tourists). The project has a simple design as it was based on natural engineering and architecture that allowed the improvement of the landscape of the river banks and the creation of the river beach.
The impact on the environment
The impact on the environmental is positive because the implementation of this project complied with all environmental regulations.Furthermore, a natural place was created, where the protection of local biodiversity was a priority, as well as the protection of the aquatic system with the creation of the river beach and the improvement of the quality of the river’s water.
Innovative value of the project
The Sorraia river is very important for the citiziens of Coruche, as it has a very great socioeconomic value for the agriculture and fishing activity.