The management agreement concerning the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul
Each National Nature Reserve (NNR) must have an identified managing authority, whose role is defined in a management agreement. The first management agreement was drawn up by the Town Council of Saint-Paul, the directing body of the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul during the period from 2009 to 2015.
Since 21st December 2015, a four-sided agreement between the French State, the Departmental Council of Reunion, the Town Council of Saint-Paul and the RNNESP governing body has entrusted the management of the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul to the RNNESP for the period 2015-2020.
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The RNNESP governing body
What is a personalised autonomous governing body?
A governing body is a public establishment that is a legal entity having financial autonomy and in charge either of a public administrative department or a public industrial and commercial department. It is administrated by a board appointed by the relevant local government body. The board of administration elects its president and appoints a director.
The RNNESP governing body is a personalised autonomous governing body in charge of a public administrative department and its functioning and staff come under public law.
The roles of the RNNESP governing body
The RNNESP governing body is responsible for the conservation and, if necessary, the restoration of the natural heritage of the reserve, in application of the regulations and taking account of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee and the Scientific Committee of the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul. The governing body is, notably, responsible for the following:
- The management, conservation and rehabilitation of animal or plant populations and natural habitats and notably: the control of invasive species, the management of the wetland, including, notably, drawing up rules concerning management of the water levels, in consultation with the residents and local government bodies;
- The setting up and maintenance of equipment necessary for the management of the reserve, such as equipment aimed at welcoming the public (footpaths, observatories etc.) and the information boards indicating the limits and regulations of the reserve;
- Surveillance of the reserve (looking out for and recording breaches of the regulations concerning the reserve) and prevention of hazards (surveillance of natural hazards, preventing fire), in collaboration with the departmental rangers (see article 2-2), officers responsible for controlling fishing and the Public River Zone and other police forces concerned with the environment;
- Scientific observation and ecological monitoring of natural habitats and animal and plant populations (population dynamics, behaviour, interaction with habitats etc.), drawing up and application of monitoring protocols;
- Improving knowledge of the natural environment, the geological and fossiliferous heritage and scientific study of ecosystems;
- Drawing up recommendations concerning conservation of the natural environment and biological diversity;
- Organisation of activities within the reserve, welcome and information for the public;
- Management, monitoring of declarations and authorisations to occupy or use space, granted by the Prefect (agricultural activities, grazing agreements, sport or cultural events etc.)
- Development of sustainable tourism around the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul, the Cave of the first French settlers (Grotte des Premiers Français) in Savanna, the Tour des Roches, on the banks upstream of the Pond of Saint-Paul and along the canals of Saint Charles and Chaussée Royale.
- Support for associations and collective bodies working within the zone and focusing on the coherence of public actions;
- Sustainable day-to-day management of the waters of the Pond of Saint-Paul and connecting canals (outside exceptional climatic events), within the framework of the protection of ecosystems. The Town Council of Saint-Paul remains responsible for protecting goods and persons;
- For optimum protection of the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul, decrees have been issued by the Prefect and Town Council concerning fishing, fire, traffic and leisure activities.
The operational organisation of the RNNESP governing body is structured around three departments.
- The conservation and biodiversity department (SCB) applies the management actions defined by the annual program and is responsible for the coordination of management actions and the conservation of the natural environment.
- The communication and tourist department (SCT) has the role of organising awareness actions for different groups of the public concerning the challenges of protecting the fauna and flora of the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul. It is also responsible for managing projects for the development of eco-tourism. Finally, the department draws up the internal and external communication strategy for the RNNESP governing body.
- The main role of the agricultural department (SAA) is to set up technical solutions aimed at the ecological transition of agricultural production processes for authorised agricultural structures within the NNR of the Pond of Saint-Paul, in collaboration with the farmers concerned.
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The financial partners
The average operating budget of the RNNESP governing body is approximately one million Euros. Several donors contribute actively to funding, through annual subsidies. The main donors are the Town Council of Saint-Paul, contributing €400,000, the Departmental Council of Reunion, contributing €250,000, the DEAL (Department of the Environment, Planning and Housing) contributing €140,000 and the DIECCTE (Regional Department for Companies, Competition, Consumption, Work and Employment in Reunion), contributing €80,000.