The management of the Estany de Sils for its conservation has gone through different stages.


In 1998 a first initiative of planning and restoration actions of the Estany was carried out. This project was part of the LIFE project, and was developed by Acció Natura together with the City Council of Sils. The European project managed to overcome the first obstacle for the recovery of the area: they managed to gather the land that formed the Estany de Sils, which were distributed among several owners. Once the natural space was unified, they recovered the permanent lagoon we know today.


Despite the success of this first step in the conservation of the area, the LIFE project ended in 2002 and, since then, the space has been degraded. Later, in 2018, the restoration project of this natural area was recovered and, since then, strategies have been implemented to improve the state of the lagoon.

Learn about the three pillars of the current conservation project of the Estany de Sils:

1- Conservation

Estany de Sils

The Estany de Sils is a protected natural area included in the Plan of Areas of Natural Interest of Catalonia. It is part of the European Network of Natural Areas Natura 2000 (XN 2000), which is the core of European biodiversity policies. Within the XN 2000 it is considered a Special Area of Conservation with the code ES5120017 and Special Protection Area for Birds with the code ES5120017. For these reasons and for its emblematic character in the surroundings of The Selva center, it is essential to conserve this area and preserve its natural values.

The main threat for the Estany de Sils throughout history has been the human will to desiccate it. Since the Middle Ages, actions have been carried out to drain the lagoon to take advantage of its land for cultivation and livestock farming, as well as to avoid diseases such as malaria. Through the construction of irrigating canals it was possible to drain the lagoon and convert the land into crop fields.

To this threat have been added others more recently, such as the introduction of invasive species, industrial and urban discharges and the presence of nitrates and pesticides in the soil, due to agricultural uses. 

To mitigate the impacts of all these threats, the Estany de Sils requires particularly active management and maintenance to conserve and improve ecological values and biodiversity.

2- Fluvial custody

Pla de gestió Estany de Sils

River stewardship aims to make users and owners linked to a wetland responsible, as well as the competent administrations, in order to promote the conservation of the area, the improvement of biodiversity and a better ecological status. 

From 2018 to 2022, the custody of the Estany and the Irrigating canal of Sils is in the hands of Fundació Emys and Fundació Catalunya La Pedrera, with the collaboration of the City Council of Sils and the support of the Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Generalitat de Catalunya (the current Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda) and the Catalan Water Agency. In December 2019, these actors approved a management plan to recover this protected natural area and the good conservation of its diversity of habitats, so that it welcomes and favors the development of potential biodiversity, making it also compatible with the use of its resources and accessibility for people.

If you want to know more about river custody of this wetland, you can consult the details of the agreement.

3- Transparency

Since 2018, the management of this area has been resumed thanks to the signing of a river stewardship agreement. The current management is guided by a management plan, approved in December 2019, which determines the necessary actions to ensure that the Estany de Sils is preserved in the long term, with the minimum necessary interventions.

Through the management plan it is intended to carry out an active management of the Estany de Sils that ensures its conservation in the short, medium and long term. The objectives set by the plan encompass the different ecosystems of the natural area. On this matter, work is being done in three directions. In the first place, actions are made so that the permanent lagoon maintains a humid surface of 1 hectare and depths greater than one meter (on average), in addition to improving water quality in the coming years. Secondly, the plan foresees that by 2022 the environment of the Estany will have the different typologies of meadows and grassland habitats (reedbed, meadows, rushes and halophilic meadows and dry meadows) and that the oaks and holm oaks will be preserved, without invasive species. Finally, one of the objectives, set for 2027, is that 25% of the land contemplated in the agreement has riparian forest.

In addition to the comprehensive protection of ecosystems, the plan also provides for concrete actions for the conservation of the populations of the European pond turtle, as well as other species of amphibians and birds.

The actions that will be carried out in the coming years will be updated in the calendar of this website to keep you informed of the management and conservation actions in progress.

Managing and collaborating bodies