MAL015 - Qalet Marku


The saline marshland is designated as an Area of Ecological Importance (Level 1) and a Site of Scientific Importance (Level 2) (GN 288 of 1995) and is known as Qalet Marku (SSI).A part of the Qalet Marku coastline is of scientific importance as it is the only known locality for Elymus pycnanthus (Sea Couch) [RDB: E, Rest (MI)], an endangered grass, which has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands. The watercourse at Wied ta’ Kieli at Qalet Marku displays an interesting plant community consisting mainly of Phragmites australis (Common Reed) and Juncus acutus (Sharp Rush) with stands of Arundo donax on the sides. The watercourse retains its perennial species composition during the dry season. Carex divisa (Separated Sedge) has also been recorded at this site.Small embayments form at the mouth of the watercourse at Qalet Marku. These embayments accumulate pockets of sand and drift leaf litter of marine vegetation, mainly Posidonia oceanica (Neptune Seagrass) forming Posidonia banquettes, which support an interesting community of terrestrial and marine invertebrates.The existing Coast Road was widened in 2015, although during this process the footprint of the Qalet Marku marshland was not directly affected, the Coast Road itself introduces a barrier between the site and the sea. In the past the marshland was connected directly to the sea. Today the only connection to the seaward side is via a channel that passes beneath the road. The site does not retain water permanently.Further inland, the area is surrounded by agricultural land and a paddock for horses.

Wetland data

Basic information
Wetland location: Marine/Coastal
Wetland type: Natural
Wetland area: 0.80 Ha
Hydrological interaction: -  
Water salinity: Brackish (5.0-18.0 g/l)
Type of fresh water input: Catchment area (precipitation)
Surface water runoff Outflow controlled by pipeline
Open water area (%): < 5
Hydroperiod: Temporary/Intermittent
Geographic information
Census district: Northern
Island: Malta
Local council: In-Naxxar
Longitude: 14.450170 East
Latitude: 35.942630 North
Wetland condition
Wetland status (MEDWET): 4 - Original habitats/landform highly modified (<10% untouched)
Ramsar wetland type
Type Coverage (%)
H -- Intertidal marshes; includes salt marshes, salt meadows, saltings, raised salt marshes; includes tidal brackish and freshwater marshes
Property status
Protection statuses
Protection status category Protection status subcategory Area's name Code Coverage area (%) Legislation
National Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance Bur salmastru f' Qalet Marku (l/tan-Naxxar) 174751 99 Development Planning Act (Act VII of 2016)
CDDA protection status
CDDA code CDDA category
MT02 Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance
Ecosystem services
Type of ecosystem service Ecosystem service Scale of Βenefit (%) Importance
Supporting services Nutrient cycling
Cultural services Recreation and tourism
Activities on wetland
Activity Intensity
010 = Habitat conservation High
710 = Noise nuisance High
920 = Drying out High
Activities on catchment area
Activity Intensity
100 = Cultivation High
110 = Use of pesticides High
120 = Fertilisation High
130 = Irrigation High
230 = Hunting High
403 = dispersed habitation Medium
430 = Agricultural structures Low
502 = roads motorways High
622 = walking horseriding and non-motorised vehicles Medium
701 = water pollution High
702 = air pollution High
710 = Noise nuisance High
Impact Intensity
AN- = Increase in noise High
HC- = Loss of wildlife corridor(s) High
HF- = Habitat fragmentation High
HL- = Habitat loss
PF- = Fertilizer/Excess nutrient pollution
PM- = Heavy metal pollution
PP- = Pesticide pollution
VCD = Loss of floral diversity
VP- = Decrease in population of floral species
Habitat types
Type Coverage (%)
1410 Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) < 5
Vegetation types
Type Coverage (%)
Emergent 26 - 50
Wet meadow
Emergent > 95
Species Presence status References
Arundo donax
Elymus pycnanthus
Juncus acutus
Phragmites australis


Number of individuals


Circus cyaneus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Tadorna tadorna (Linnaeus, 1758)
Burhinus oedicnemus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Charadrius morinellus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Calandrella brachydactyla (Leisler, 1814)
Erithacus rubecula (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lanius senator (Linnaeus, 1758)
Oenanthe oenanthe (Linnaeus, 1758)
Phylloscopus collybita (Vieillot, 1817)
Phylloscopus sibilatrix (Bechstein, 1793)
Phylloscopus trochilus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Saxicola torquatus (Linnaeus, 1766)
Sylvia conspicillata (Temminck, 1820)
Sylvia melanocephala (J.F. Gmelin, 1789)
Asio flammeus (Pontopiddan, 1763)