On 27 January 2011, a report on the state of conservation of the property was submitted by the State Party. This report provides detailed information on the State Party’s response to the recommendations made by the 2009 joint reactive monitoring mission, such as the activities undertaken to monitor and safeguard the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, including the Posidonia prairies. The report contains nearly 1000 pages of annexes, which are currently under review by the Advisory Bodies.
a) Management, including visitor management and site presentation
The State Party reports that the Technical Commission of the Ibiza World Heritage Consortium, which consists of representatives from all institutions with direct authority over the property, will prepare an integrated management plan during 2011. It also reports that the Visitor Interpretation Centre at Ses Salines Nature Park is about to be opened and that the presentation of Ses Feixes has been improved through a variety of measures including interpretation related to World Heritage status.
The State Party further reports that the Consell d’Eivissa intends to invest 1.9 million Euros this year in the recovery of the landscape of Ses Feixes and its integration into the landscape context of the town, as well as to raise the population’s awareness of its values. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider positively these developments and recognise the significant investment in the Ses Feixes wetlands.
IUCN has received reports that the high number of recreational boats operating in the marine component of the property is having a negative impact on its Posidonia prairies, due to the cumulative impacts of waste water discharged directly into the sea, as well as the direct physical damage caused by anchors. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies therefore suggest that the State Party develops and implements an effective control mechanism for recreational boating, based on a careful assessment of its capacity.
b) Natural heritage issues related to the port expansion
The State Party provided a detailed report on the progress of the port expansion and associated activities, including dredging, as well as the mitigation and monitoring measures implemented to avoid any significant negative impacts on the OUV of the property. The State Party reports that the dredging works and the disposal of the dredged material in the designated marine area are expected to be finished by March 2011. It notes that a containment boom and silt curtain were installed to prevent pollution outside of the working area, and outlines its monitoring strategy in considerable detail, including a range of sophisticated techniques used and the modelling undertaken to avoid risks from disposal of dredgings. In line with the 2009 mission recommendation, the State Party investigated the possibility of using a pipe to discharge the dredged material directly onto the sea floor, but found this technique not to be feasible.
The State Party further reports that the quality of the dredged material was verified and the concentrations of heavy metals in the sediment were found to be below the limit values established by the Centre for Study and Experiments for Public Work (CEDEX). However, the State Party neither reports on the possible presence and levels of organic pollutants, nor on the procedures followed to monitor the contamination of the sediment throughout post-dredging phases of work. The State Party concludes that the discharged material is not affecting the property, including the Posidonia prairies that form part of its OUV.
The World Heritage Centre has continued to receive complaints from local NGOs expressing concern about the necessity and impact of the port expansion, as well as the ongoing dredging and disposal works. It was suggested that the size of the expansion could still be reduced, and that a study on the visual impact of planned buildings and other structures on the surrounding neighbourhoods be carried out, as well as a study on the impact of the port expansion on traffic in these neighbourhoods. NGOs further observed that dredging and disposal works are not suspended during unfavourable weather conditions, which increase the risk of dispersal of the disposed material to the property and could negatively impact its Posidonia prairies.
The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies welcome the State Party’s efforts to monitor and control the impact of the discharged material. They urge the State Party to monitor the quality of the dredged material throughout all phases of work, to include testing for organic pollutants, and to suspend dredging and disposal activities during unfavourable weather conditions. There is a need to increase the monitoring of the invasive Caulerpa racemosa algae, which the State Party confirms to be present in the property, and to take appropriate action to eliminate this species and prevent its further growth and potential impacts on the property.
c) Cultural heritage issues related to the port expansion
In its report the State Party notes that no archaeological site has been identified in the area of the planned new esplanade and transverse docks at Botafoc, but remains (particularly weaponry) relating to a possible 16th-17th c. shipwreck were found opposite Illa Grossa so that dredging works were suspended in this area to permit detailed investigation when visibility improves. The archaeological monitoring on board the dredging ships is reported to be carried out by a team of archaeologists that is permanently on site. Recovered woodwork is being desalinated for later transfer to the Ibiza Archaeological Museum.
The State Party further reports that measures have been taken to minimize impact of light pollution during night time port operation works, respecting the existing regulations.
In view of the port activities, it is stated that the future Ferry Terminal building would respect height limits defined by “technical and functional conditions” as well as the previously established “aesthetic and landscape integration criteria”. The built structures of the extended port would not have any negative visual impact on the setting of the property of Dalt Vila and its buffer zone (Ses Feixes). The Infrastructure Master Plan has determined the minimum necessary capacity of the Port’s infrastructure to serve port operations, in accordance with projections of near zero annual growth. Further studies on load capacity for each constituent property are being carried out. The port activities are thus not expected to increase significantly after the port expansion; with respect to the marine property, the port re-organisation is not aimed at increasing the number of ships accessing the port but increasing the quality, efficiency and safety of their access.
d) Other conservation issues
The State Party notes that the competent authorities have responded positively to the other recommendations of the 2009 mission. It confirms its current priority is the development and implementation of the integrated management plan, and that any extension of the property would be a medium-term project. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note the State Party’s positive response to these recommendations, and suggest that it also considers the inclusion of the Archipelago de Cabrera National Park in a serial extension of the property, in order to achieve a more complete representation of the variety of Western Mediterranean marine ecosystems, as was recommended by IUCN at the time of the property’s inscription.
IUCN has received reports that the conservation status of Posidonia prairies in the property appears to have continually declined since the property’s inscription. IUCN has received reports that besides the threat from Caulerpa racemosa, an invasive red alga Lophocladia lallemandii, is threatening the property’s Posidonia prairies. Furthermore, there have been reports that the waste water treatment facilities of Ibiza and Platja d’en Bossa have insufficient capacity to handle the flow of waste water during the peak tourist season, resulting in the discharge of insufficiently treated waste water in the sea, which has the potential to negatively affect the Posidonia prairies within the property. The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recall the 2009 mission recommendation that an integrated monitoring system for the natural values of the property should be developed and implemented, and consider that there is a need for the State Party to improve the control of invasive species. They also consider that the State Party should upgrade and improve the waste water treatment facilities of Ibiza and Platja d’en Bossa, and reuse treated waste water in the restoration of Ses Feixes wetlands.
Furthermore, the State Party reports that a tourism sustainability study is planned for review by the citizens of Ibiza and Formentera. It is also stated that the walled city currently does not have any overload problems, and that access to the archaeological sites is controlled.