A Baseline Inventory of Priority Wetlands in the Moldovan Part of the Danube River Basin
The Center for Strategic Environmental Studies ECOS in the Republic of Moldova carried out and successfully concluded an SGF project addressing a baseline inventory of priority wetlands in the Moldovan part of the Danube river basin which should be a part of the Danube River Basin Management Plan to achieve integrated management of water resources in line with EU Water Framework Directive.
The Ramsar SGF project allowed Moldova for the first time to make an inventory of all inland and human-made wetlands, including all designated as IBAs and a number of large water reservoirs in the Moldovan part of the Danube river basin. As a result of field studies and analysis of available information, an electronic wetland database was created and wetlands digital maps were designed. These products in a paper and electronic formats will be stored in the Environmental Informational Center of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.
The project identified two wetland areas to be included in the Danube River Basin Management Plan with a total area of 24,888 ha. These are theLower Prut Lakes Ramsar site (19,152 ha), which includes strict reserve Lower Prut (1,755 ha), and the strict reserve Lord’s Forest (5,736 ha). The project led to the realization that these wetlands suffer from disturbed natural hydrological regimes as aresult of pressure from a dam constructed on the Prut River for water flow regulation. The project also concludes that the ecological conditions in wetlands situated downstream of big dams are similar to those in wetlands laterally disconnected from rivers by dykes/dams. Consequently, these sites, identified by countries, should be reported to the Danube River basin management plan as wetlands where measures to improve their conditions can be taken within active floodplain. This is a significant recognition for the entire Danube River basin management plan in relation to wetlands because initially the impact of big dams on downstream wetlands was not considered. Other inland and human-made wetlands that should be included in the national and local river basin management plans were also identified by the project (16 inland wetlands with a total area of 11,723 ha and six human-made wetlands with a total area of 8,308 ha respectively). The strict reserve Lord’s Forest with adjacent territory is now proposed to become Moldova’s fourth Ramsar site, and four other wetlands were suggested as new protected areas.
In spring 2009, the wetland inventory results will be published in a book form. During the past year, a workshop on tools for integrated water resources management for national and local authorities, scientists and NGOs, as well as an educational seminar for students and ten consultation meetings with local stakeholders were held.
The project followed the Ramsar Framework for Wetland Inventory. Its resultscontribute to the implementation of the Ramsar Convention by initiation of comprehensive wetlands inventory in Moldova and the consolidated Ramsar Convention guidance on integration of wetlands into river basin management (Resolution X.19), as well as implementation of the Danube, Biodiversity, Migratory Species and other relevant conventions and international agreements ratified and signed by Moldova. This is also an important contribution to the National Development Strategy (2008-2011) and other national strategic documents that presume gradual transposing of the European environmental legislation, and particularly Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC), into the national legislation.
-- Nadezhda Alexeeva, Ramsar
Beleu Lake in the Lower Prut Lakes Ramsar site
Bujor Lake, oneof the proposed protected areas
Cahul fish ponds in the Lower Prut Lakes Ramsar site
Meadow in the Lord's Forest proposed Ramsar site
Oxbow of the Prut River Tiganca in the Lord's Forest proposed Ramsar site
Paicu Lake, one of the proposed protected areas
Zberoaia Lunca, one of the existing protected areas
Map of priority inland and human-made wetlands identified in the Moldovan part of the Danube river basin