The invasive species "harm biodiversity, insofar as where they enter they become hegemonic and end up harming other species that exist in these ecosystems," said João Paulo Catarino, at the end of the presentation session of the Management of Aquatic Invasive Plants in the Coimbra Region CIM project.

Stressing that, at the beginning, the invasive plants are "easy to control", the governor stressed that the "reconversions are not made from one year to the other and take almost a decade", so it is "so important to attack this problem at the beginning and to do it with a technical qualification".

"After a few years we have difficulty eradicating them, besides the investment that needs to be made", said the Secretary of State for Nature Conservation, Forests and Spatial Planning.

To mitigate this problem, which affects more the north and centre of Portugal, there are some tenders underway, "some being executed, others under analysis, of more than 20 million Euros specifically for the control and eradication of aquatic and terrestrial invasive species", stresses João Paulo Catarino.

The Management of Aquatic Invasive Plants project in the Coimbra Region CIM includes the municipalities of Mira, Figueira da Foz, Montemor-o-Velho, Soure and Cantanhede, and was presented on 18 March at the Montemor-o-Velho High Performance Centre.

The initiative, budgeted at €600,000, with 85 percent funding from the Operational Programme for Sustainability and Efficiency in the Use of Resources (POSEUR), aims to control and prevent invasive species in these municipalities, such as, for example, "water hyacinths", as well as a "new invasive species that thrives both in aquatic and dry environments".

It included the acquisition of a multifunctional amphibious vehicle, amounting to 300 thousand Euros, intended for the control of invasive species in aquatic and terrestrial environments, near water lines and lakes, whose use was protocolled on 18 March between the Coimbra Region CIM and the five municipalities.

Its acquisition aims to "empower the region and these five municipalities with means and resources for continuous intervention throughout the year in the areas most affected by this problem," stressed the president of the CIM RC, José Carlos Alexandrino.

In 2020, communication and awareness-raising actions were carried out, training of operators, preliminary interventions, installation of floating barriers, as happened in the Mondego River, in Montemor-o-Velho, to save the yellow water lily, and also the first interventions using the amphibious vehicle.

The project provides for interventions in Lagoa da Vela (Figueira da Foz), Rio Mondego, Barrinha de Mira, Lagoa da Salgueira (Cantanhede) and Paul da Madriz (Soure).

The project has the support of the Portuguese Environment Agency (APA), the Alqueva Development and Infrastructure Company (EDIA) and the collaboration of the Coimbra Agricultural College (ESAC).