A Ramsar project in Armenia on the "Implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan in the management of wetlands in Sevan National Park" has been finalised. It was carried out by Orientation (the Professional and Entrepreneurial Orientation Union) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Nature Protection and with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The project was a follow-up of the SGF 1997 project "Inventory of Armenian Ramsar Sites", with focus on the Sevan National Park Ramsar Site. During the SGF97 project, the threats and values of Armenia’s main wetlands were assessed. Based on these findings, six draft management plans were elaborated for wetlands in Sevan National park. The plans were elaborated in close cooperation with major stakeholders and according to the Ramsar guidelines for management planning. The draft management plans contain information about the physical, biological and cultural features and nature resource users.
The important wetlands in Sevan Lake National Park are:
Lchashen Cove (3100 ha). One of three coves of Lake Sevan, which supports spawning and nursing of a number of endemic fish species and with great historical and recreational value;
Gull Islets (10 ha) which support the second largest colony after Lake Arpi Ramsar site (Armenia), and the only in the basin of Lake Sevan of the endemic Armenian Gull (Larus armenicus) during the breeding period – around 1/3 of the world population;
Noradus Fish Ponds (30 ha). A wetland site of scientific importance for a better understanding of the natural development and succession processes in the newly created high-mountain wetlands;
Lake Lichk (30 ha). The the most important breeding site for a dozen species of ducks, grebes and coots in the basin of Lake Sevan, which needs to be restored;
Madina Valley Floodplain (1000 ha). A unique example of a natural high-mountain (2200 m a. s. l.) flood meadow, which supports populations of relict plant species important for maintaining the biological diversity of the Caucasus biogeographic region, an important breeding area for many species of waders;
Lake Gilli (600-800 ha). Historically the most important inland wetland between the Caspian and Black seas for a dozen species of breeding and migrating birds, which needs to be restored.
As part of the project, the Second National Training Course on Wetland Management was conducted in Sevan, 9-21 October 2000. 12 participants increased their knowledge and skills in different disciplines of wetland valuation techniques.
The First National Training Course on Wetland Management, funded by the Ramsar Evian Programme, had been held in the same place on 11-23 October 1999.
-- reported by Inga Racinska, Ramsar.