On 8th May a meeting was held by technicians of DEMA, of the State Office of Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Heritage, and of the State Office of the Regional Government of Extremadura within the framework of Conservation Action C2 of the LIFE-ZEPAURBAN project. The architect contracted to draw up the project to be carried out on the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Purificación of Almendralejo was also present.
Within the framework of this Action C2 "Adaptation of nesting sites on buildings managed by the State Office of Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Heritage", part of the roof and the tower of the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Purificación de Almendralejo will be remodelled to avoid filtrations in the building and ensure the permanence of its important colony of lesser kestrels.
Currently 99% of the lesser kestrel pairs of this building nest on artificial sites to make this colony unique. There are 65 external nest boxes in the church tower and eaves and 77 nest boxes under the roof. The poor state of repair of the structure of the roof of the nave and the covering materials reveal the loss of watertightness and stability of some of its elements. This deficiencies are endangering a large proportion of the nesting sites installed on the roof and tower and hence the stability of the colony.
The State Office of Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Heritage is responsible for the drawing up of the project, for directing the work, and for the material execution and coordination of health and safety, guaranteeing conservation criteria for heritage buildings. For its part the State Office for the Environment will take charge of the follow-up of the works (planning and execution) to guarantee the integration of compatibility criteria with the lesser kestrel. In the specific case of the Church of la Purificación the organisation DEMA will be responsible for supervising the work.
Before work begins the necessary reports and licences will be obtained: the report of the effect on the Natura 2000 network, the Heritage Commission, the building permit of the Town Council, etc. So as to minimise delays this documentation will be requested as soon as the project has been drawn up so as to make use of the months when the work cannot be carried out as it would disturb the reproduction of the birds.
The participation in this action of technicians specialising in the restoration of buildings and experts in work to preserve the habitat of the lesser kestrel will ensure that the work is carried out correctly. This work executed by a multidisciplinary team will be the basis for the protocols of the maintenance work of heritage buildings holding lesser kestrel colonies.
For the future the State Office of Libraries, Museums, and Cultural Heritage anticipates action on the remainder of the roof that it will pay from its own funds with the commitment of carrying out the actions with the same compatibility criteria used in this LIFE project.