- Ghadajjar ta' l-ilma helu fil-Qaliet (l/ta' San Gi

This site is located on the coast and supports a saltmarsh. The transitional wetland dominated by Juncus acutus is designated as a Level 1 Area of Ecological Importance (AEI) and a Level 1 Site of Scientific Importance (SSI), a buffer area is included which is scheduled as a Level 3 AEI. Part of the area scheduled as a Level 3 AEI has since been developed. The coastline is part of the locality of St Julian’s, a highly touristic area. The site is easily accessible to members of the public through an entrance at Triq il-Wilga, as there are no gates or barriers limiting access to the site. It is also accessible from a footpath along the Portomaso breakwater, however, few people use this route to reach the site. The coastline is particularly popular as a daytime bathing destination in summer, and the coast is also popular with anglers. It is also frequented in the evenings, especially during the weekend. The saltmarsh habitat type occupies natural depressions a few metres inland from the coastal edge. The habitat is dominated by rushes belonging to the species Juncus acutus (Sharp-pointed Rush) which constitutes over 90% of the vegetation cover. The remainder is made up of Limbarda crithmoides (Golden Samphire) and a combination of various ruderals and coastal species including Euphorbia pinea (Pine spurge), Cichorium spinosum (Spiny Chicory), Dittrichia viscosa (Sticky Fleabane), Daucus carota (Wild Carrot), Capparis orientalis (Caper Plant), Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum (Lesser Crystal Ice Plant), Lagurus ovatus (Hare’s Tail Grass) and Plantago lagopus (Mediterranean Plantain). This habitat type is classified as Natura 2000 Annex I habitat 1410, or the Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi), for which reason the site was originally scheduled in 1995. The rush community is relatively dense with a total vegetation cover of over 80% and an average height of around 1m. Ruderal species recorded are largely found at the edge of the habitat, and their presence is a result of the disturbance generated on site from trampling and a high footfall of visitors. Litter and a large quantity of broken glass were also observed throughout the saltmarsh. Despite the disturbance and abundance of litter, the saltmarsh is well structured, constituting one of the best conserved coastal marshes in the country. The core of the habitat is almost entirely composed of characteristic species, with ruderals being restricted to the edge of the habitat and to the footpath crossing through the habitat. The conservation of habitat function was relatively stable, and the structure of the habitat is unlikely to deteriorate in the short term, despite the large number of visitors. This is most likely because bathers avoid the marsh in view of the spiny nature of the dominant species.The saltmarsh habitat is absent from higher ground that rises above 0.5 m and is instead replaced by a coastal garrigue dominated by Limbarda crithmoides.

Wetland data

Basic information
Wetland location: Marine/Coastal
Wetland type: Natural
Wetland area: 0.50 Ha
Hydrological interaction: -  
Water salinity: Salty (> 18.0 g/l)
Type of fresh water input: Catchment area (precipitation)
Surface water runoff Other
Open water area (%): < 5
Hydroperiod: Seasonal
Geographic information
Census district: Northern Harbour
Island: Malta
Local council: San Giljan
Longitude: 14.493960 East
Latitude: 35.923300 North
Wetland condition
Wetland status (MEDWET): 2 - Original habitats/landform still predominant (>50%)
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 Ghadajjar ta' l-ilma helu fil-Qaliet (l/ta' San Giljan) 14780 100 Development Planning Act (Act VII of 2016)
CDDA protection status
CDDA code CDDA category
MT02 Area of Ecological Importance/Site of Scientific Importance
Wetland values
110 Wildlife habitat
Activities on wetland
Activity Intensity
010 = Habitat conservation Medium
020 = Resource conservation Medium
030 = Species conservation Medium
040 = Land restoration Low
090 = Other conservation activities Low
720 = Trampling overuse High
790 = Other pollution/human impacts/activities High
954 = invasion by a species Low
Activities on catchment area
Activity Intensity
010 = Habitat conservation Low
020 = Resource conservation Low
030 = Species conservation Low
040 = Land restoration Low
090 = Other conservation activities Low
401 = continuous urbanisation High
690 = Other leisure and tourism impacts High
720 = Trampling overuse High
790 = Other pollution/human impacts/activities High
954 = invasion by a species Medium
Impact Intensity
VCD = Loss of floral diversity Medium
Habitat types
Type Coverage (%)
1410 Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi) 76 - 95
Vegetation types
Type Coverage (%)
Wet meadow 76 - 95
Species Presence status References
Allium commutatum
Aloe vera
Arthrocnemum macrostachyum
Asparagus aphyllus
Avena barbata
Beta vulgare subsp. Maritima
Capparis orientalis
Carthamus lanatus
Cichorium intybus
Cichorium spinosum
Crithmum maritimum
Crucianella rupestris
Daucus carota
Dittrichia viscosa
Ecbalium elaterium
Euphorbia pinea
Frankenia pulverulenta
Glebionis coronaria
Hedypnois rhagadioloides
Jacobaea crithmoides
Jacobaea maritima ssp. Sicula
Juncus acutus
Lagurus ovatus
Lavatera arborea
Limonium virgatum
Mesembryanthemum nodiflorum
Piptatherum miliaceum
Pittosporum tobira
Plantago lagopus
Raphanus landra
Spergularia sp.