Bulgaria has updated the Ramsar Information Sheets and maps for two Ramsar Sites on the River Danube, significantly extending their extent and taking the total national area of Wetlands of International Importance to almost 50,000 hectares.
Belene Islands Complex in Pleven Province (Ramsar Site no. 1226) has been extended by 11,432 ha with the inclusion of additional islands and agricultural lands on the river banks. The Site is formed by a complex of one big island (Belene) and nine smaller islands, characterized by freshwater marshes, seasonally-flooded riverine forests, and agricultural and semi-natural land cut by drainage channels. It is exceptionally biodiverse and hosts several rare species of plants including white waterlily Nymphaea alba and water shamrock Marsilea quadrifolia, as well as globally threatened species of birds such as the Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus, great bustard Otis tarda and aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola. Large-scale wetland restoration projects have been successfully completed, a visitor’s centre has been built and a new management plan for the Site has been approved and implemented.
Further upstream, Ibisha Island in Montana Province (Ramsar Site no. 1227) has been extended by 2,993 ha. The Site now includes additional islands and agricultural and semi-natural lands. It is of international importance for the conservation of mammals, amphibians and threatened species of waterbirds such as the pygmy cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmeus, lesser white-fronted goose Anser erythropus, red-breasted goose Branta ruficollis and the Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus. Ibisha Island itself is covered with seasonally flooded riverine forest of Alnus spp., Salix spp. and Populus spp.
The Ramsar Secretariat acknowledges the efforts of the Bulgarian authorities to comply with Resolution VI.13, which urges Contracting Parties to review the data provided in the RIS at least every six years. For more information on the Ramsar Sites in Bulgaria, see the Ramsar Sites Information Service for the country.