Simeto Natural Reserve Oasis
Nature reserve managed by
"Provincia Regionale di Catania"
Straddling the provinces of Catania and Syracuse, the Oasis of the Simeto was established in 1984, coinciding with the reserve of Fiumefreddo in order to embank the building work of man, to allow wintering migratory birds, and to recover the original population of halophyte and Mediterranean flora.
The mouth of Simeto today is a wet area ideal for migratory birds, but also for those migratory species that move along the North South of Europe.
The horizontal landscape interspersed with sand dunes helps the growth of lake plants and reeds, but not only.
A long trail runs alongside the stream.
It shall be good to approach with discretion the bogs behind the dunes to avoid disturb the birds (marsh hawk, mallard, snipe, black tern, some heron, the knights of Italy and kingfishers, to name a few) and fauna. In water, mullet and freshwater fish swim undisturbed.
Tamarisk, reeds, willows, but also lemon and salicornia accompany us.
Along the banks, mastic, lily of the beaches, cornflowers.
There are foxes and weasels.
The reserve includes the stretch of the river Simeto that between the 50s and 60s of last century has been straightened and corrected.
The aforementioned works have separated from the new river course a large meandering river that the river itself formed just before the mouth.
This meander has nevertheless survived, being fed by the groundwater emergencies.
A half mile from the old mouth of the old loop flow come together two water streams: the channel Jungetto (an ancient drainage channel that currently receives the discharges of Catania) and the stream Buttaceto, whose waters reach the old main loop during the flood events.
The flooding caused by the river Buttaceto in flood do not alter significantly the parameters of salinity of the estuary of the old loop of Simeto, since the supply of fresh water is of limited duration, while those due to the artificial nature of Jungetto for quality, quantity and length they are altering the existent hydrobiological balance.
Between the old branch of the creek and Simeto Buttaceto there is a large reed bed, where they find shelter thousands of birds.
To the north of the old meander, there are some brackish water ponds behind the dunes, commonly referred to as "salatelle" whose delicate ecological balances are threatened and some have already been affected by the already cited floods of the channel Jungetto.
To the south of the mouth of Simeto there is a large brackish pond called Lake Gornalunga.
It is now fed by the channel Benante whilst once was the mouth of the river Gornalunga, today is an affluent of Simeto.
This pond welcomes a significant number of birds during all seasons and has around its shores a vast saltwort.
In various parts of the reserve in the winter there form, many seasonal wetlands, in those areas and around the brackish marshes are found extensive saltwort.
The natural interest in the reserve was increased by the last remnants of coastal sand dunes; this is a very peculiar environment for the presence of parallel bands by the river shore characterized by biotic communities adapted to the particular and severe environmental conditions.
The managing body is the Regional Province of Catania.
For visitors to the Regional Province of Catania
Centro Direzionale Nuovaluce
Palazzina C 2° piano
Via Nuovaluce n° 67/A
95030 Tremestieri Etneo (CT)
095-4012485 Fax: 095-4012816