Birds threatened by the late flooding of the Loire

A late flood of the Loire, whose peak was reached on Sunday July 3, submerged 58 km of sandbanks between Montsoreau (Maine-et-Loire), east of Saumur, and Les Ponts-de-Cé , near Angers, a Natura 2000 classified area. Results: three species of protected birds, emblematic of the river – terns, small plovers and stone curlews – are threatened because they nest on the ground. Eleven of their thirteen breeding sites may have been drowned.

“In three days, the water level has risen 1.10 m, explains Damien Rochier, one of the leaders of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) Anjou. The chicks, which have just been born, had to be carried away, even if they are old enough to move to reach a lens of sand placed higher up. »

A brutal phenomenon

The suddenness of the phenomenon may have surprised them. “The decline is as fast as the flood. Their sequence creates a gutter effect whose violence is formidable,” insists Damien Rochier. “The gradual disappearance of wetlands, which absorb this water, makes the situation even more complicated,” says Damien Rochier. The “wave” may have destroyed half of the populations. A first assessment will be established in the middle of the week.

This late flood is explained by heavy rainfall in the Massif Central. A phenomenon known but formerly spaced out in time. “But, for three years, it has been repeated regularly, laments Damien Rochier. And we are helpless. »

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