Romania names seven new sites

11/02/2013

The necessary paperwork has been completed for seven new Wetlands of International Importance in Romania, designated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests with several different designation dates. All of them are closely related to the Danube River meadows and the river's older arms, and all of them have very high biodiversity values. Ramsar's Laura Máiz-Tomé has prepared brief summaries of the new sites for the Annotated Ramsar List, and those can be found below.

Romania now has 19 Ramsar Sites, covering an area of 1,156,448 hectares; globally, the Convention has 2,094 sites totaling 205,035,960 hectares. The full Ramsar Information Sheet and maps will be soon available on Wetlands International's Ramsar Sites Information Service (http://ramsar.wetlands.org), and the new sites can be searched on the Critical Site Network Tool (http://dev.unep-wcmc.org/csn/default.html) developed by Wetlands International, BirdLife International, and UNEP-WCMC as part of the Wings Over Wetlands (WOW) project.

The WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme and WWF's International Freshwater Programme substantially assisted in the preparation of the new designations.

Blahnita. 30/08/2012; Dolj County; 45,286 ha; 44°25'31"N 022°38'17"E. Nature Reserves; Natura 2000 Network (SPA, SCI). The landscape of this site is represented by swamps, permanent lakes and sand dunes covered with acacias, poplars, oak forests and grasslands, inhabited by a rich and diverse fauna which finds exceptional conditions for nesting and breeding in the area. The site has been designated as a special protection area (SPA) under the Birds Directive for the protection of 16 bird species listed in Annex I, such as the Himantopus himantopus, the Chlidonias hybrida and the Egretta garzetta. The site is also important for the protection of many migratory species listed under the Bonn Convention as for example the Coracias garrulous, the Ixobrychus minutus and the Phalacrocorax pygmeus. Within the Ramsar Site most of human activities are related to agriculture, fishing and forestry, which bring with them potential threats of water pollution, poaching, overfishing and dumping affecting the ecological character of th wetland. In order to avoid these impacts, a management plan is to be developed by the Romanian Ornithological Society. The village of Hinova within the site has been inhabited since the Roman era. Ramsar Site no: 2110. Most Recent RIS information: 2012.

Borcea Arm (Bratul Borcea). 08/02/2012; Calarasi, Ialomita Counties; 21,529 ha; 44°17'12"N 027°40'03"E. Nature Reserve, Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI). Located along a major migratory route, the Danube meadow site represents an important area for resting and feeding of a great variety of bird species. It contains many breeding populations of Accipiter brevipes, Acrocephalus melanopogon, Alcedo atthis and Ardea purpurea among others. During migration, the site is also important as a resting area for populations of Aythya nyroca, Ciconia ciconia, Haliaeetus albicilla and Pandion haliaetus in their way from Russia to the Mediterranean and African countries. The Danube meadow shapes the landscape with lakes between sand dunes, marshes, fishponds, islands, canals and drainage channels, transforming the site into a cradle of biodiversity richness. The vegetation is represented by aquatic macrophytes (Phragmites, Typha sp., etc.), poplars, shrubs and oak forests. The site provides a regulatory ecosystem service, reducing the Danube floods in the area. Within the site, Popina Bordusani contains historical and archaeological ruins which belong to one of the most ancient prehistoric settlements in Ialomita County, dated to 7,000 years old. A management plan has been developed but it is still pending approval. Ramsar Site no.: 2111. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Calafat-Ciuperceni-Danube. 25/08/2012; Dolj County; 29,206 ha; 43°50'46"N 022°57'09"E. Natura 2000 (SPA, SCI); Nature Reserve. The site, situated in the southwestern part of the Oltenia Plain, very close to the Danube River, comprises three Nature Reserves for the protection of migratory and water birds under the Bonn Convention and the Birds Directive. Some of these species find ideal conditions for nesting, such as the Haliaetus albicilla, Ciconia ciconia and Burhinus oedicnemus. During the migration seasons, the site is also important for the Tringa glareola, Pelecanus crispus, the Platalea leucorodia and Plecadis falcinellus. Furthermore, the site represents habitats of community importance as natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion, rivers with muddy banks and Chenopodion rubri and Bidention vegetation, dunes with Hippophaë rhamnoides and humid dune slacks. The site plays a very important role in mitigating Danube flood damages. The area was very wild in the past; after years of draining, however, and the construction of dykes and channels, the biodiversity has been reduced. The forests have been cut and many of the lakes have been dried and transformed into arable land. A management plan has been developed but not yet implemented. Ramsar Site no. 2112. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Canaralele de la Harsova. 25/08/2012; Ialomita, Constanta Counties; 7,406 ha; 44°40'37"N 027°55'28"E. Important Bird Area; 2 Nature Reserves; Natura 2000 Network (SPA, SCI). Situated in the confluence of two Danube branches, Dunarea Veche and Bratul Borcea, on a major migratory route, the site represents an important area for resting and feeding of rare bird species. It provides shelter to important populations of protected birds catalogued under Annex I of the Birds Directive, as for example Accipiter brevipes, Circus macrourus and Pelecanus onocrotalus. The land situated in the surroundings of the Danube branches is covered by temporary lakes which also represent an important space for breeding and nesting of many other birds like Accipiter brevipes, Alcedo atthis and Botaurus stellaris. The site plays an important role in reducing and regulating the effects of Danube floods. Within its boundaries, the most important human activities are forestry, navigation and agriculture. A management plan is going to be developed under the framework of an environmental project approved in 2011. In Harsova at the edge of the site are the remains of the 2nd century Roman Carsium Fortress. Ramsar site no. 2113. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Danube Islands-Bugeac-Iortmac (Ostroavele Dunarii-Bugeac-Iortmac). 22/08/2012; Calarasi, Constanta counties; 82,832 ha; 44°13'32"N 027°45'48"E. Natural Monuments; Natural Reserves; Natura 2000 Network (SPA, SCI). The site is a part of the Danube's floodplain, where it has the largest width because the Danube splits into two branches which formerly enclosed large lakes. The site is situated on the route of an important migration corridor, so it is important as a breeding and resting place for several rare bird species. The landscape is specific to the meadows, with lakes between the sand dunes, marshes, shrub-dominated wetlands, fishponds and islands providing appropriate conditions for a great biodiversity. Endemic flora like the Hedysarum grandiflorum grow within the site. There is a LIFE project financed by the European Union for the protection of these islands, which are considered very important for bird species such as the Falco cherrug, Haliaetus albicilla and Pelecanus crispus. During wintering and migration, the site is also important for many other threatened species such as the Ardea purpurea, Branta ruficollis, and Ciconia nigra. Human activities which may affect the ecological character of this site are navigation, fishing, poaching, hunting, tourism, urbanisation and wind turbines. The site plays has an important hydrological value as it regulates Danube water fluctuation and floods. Ramsar Site no. 2114. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Jiu-Danube Confluence (Confluenta Jiu-Dunare). 25/09/2012; Dolj County; 19,800 ha; 43°59'38"N 023°53'48"E. Natura 2000 (SPA). The site covers an important part of the Jiu river, which springs in the Southern Carpathians and flows into the Danube. A small part of the Danube meadow is also included in the site. Due to its length (over 60 km north-south), the site includes a great variety of ecosystems: oak forests, poplar forests, small lakes, old branches of the river, sand islands, dunes, marshes, channels, arable lands, etc. The complexity of these ecosystems provides favourable conditions for the presence of a high biodiversity. The site is also an Important Bird Area for many migratory birds, and it was declared a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the Birds Directive in 2007. Some of the species which find ideal conditions for nesting are Crex crex, Haliaetus albicilla, Ciconia ciconia, and Burhinus oedicnemus, and during the migration period, the site is also important for the Tringa glareola, Pelecanus crispus, Platalea leucorodia and Plecadis falcinellus. In terms of its hydrological value, the site plays a very important role in groundwater level regulation. Fishing is a traditional occupation within the site, and it offers recreational and touristic possibilities, along with several important archaeological sites. The management plan is in development. Ramsar Site no. 2115. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

Old Danube-Macin Arm (Dunarea Veche-Bratul Macin). 25/08/2012; Braila, Tulcea, Constanta Counties; 26,792 ha; 44°59'01"N 028°09'14"E. Nature Reserve; SAC; SCI. The site is part of the Danube meadow and is situated in an important migration corridor, providing breeding, resting and feeding shelter for many IUCN Red Listed bird species. The landscape is characterized by lakes between sand dunes, marshes, shrub wetlands, fishponds, islands, canals and drainage channels all very rich in biodiversity. The site is also important for conservation of tree galleries of Populus alba and Salix alba. Some of the factors adversely affecting its ecological status are drainages, wind turbines, urbanization, grazing, hunting and poaching. In terms of ecosystem services, the site plays a very important hydrological regulatory role in reducing the effects of the Danube floods. Within the site the most important human activities are agriculture, forestry and fishing. Ramsar Site no. 2116. Most recent RIS information: 2012.

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