Lower Prut Floodplain - Ecological restoration of the Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park LIFE05 NAT/RO/000155

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1 Lower Prut Floodplain - Ecological restoration of the Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park LIFE05 NAT/RO/ Project description Environmental issues Beneficiaries Administrative data Read more Contact details: Project Manager: Fica BOLDEA Tel: Fax: Project description: Background The Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park is the entrance of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. It lies on the flyway route of hundreds of migratory birds. It is the nesting site for more than a hundred bird species, and also a resting/wintering place for many of the passing migratory birds. More than 50 of these birds are listed in the EU Birds Directive and in the Bern Convention. The target area of the project furthermore comprises three priority habitats under the Habitats Directive. The ecological importance of the park is recognised nationally and internationally. For example, it is included in the Lower Danube Green Corridor programme, which was developed with the support of WWF and signed by representatives of Romania, Bulgaria, Moldavia and Ukraine in In a PHARE scheme project to rehabilitate nature and manage international wetlands was implemented in the park. The natural park is home to a few small rural settlements whose populations are declining. Local economic is mostly related to fishing and agriculture. Objectives The project objective was to improve the conservation status of 13 priority and more than 50 non-priority bird species listed in the Birds Directive and present in the Lower Prut Floodplain Natural Park. A main aim was to resolve the environmental problems caused by human activities such as agriculture,

2 environmental problems caused by human activities such as agriculture, pasturage, pisciculture and tourism in and around the park. To deal with the degradation of hydrological structures, the project also aimed to re-establish the ecological balance of the lakes, including improvement of the water level and its maintenance. The project planned a series of strategic interventions involving scientific inventory, monitoring activities, site restoration, awareness raising activities, implementation of a park management plan and the designation of four Special Protected Areas (SPAs). These SPAs would be part of the Romanian Natura 2000 sites when Romania entered the EU. The first phase of the project focused on the establishment of park administrative structures and the preparation of an integrated management plan to be approved by the local authorities. This plan would guide the conservation activities to be implemented and would consider the protection needs of target habitats and species of the project. A number of actions were also foreseen to address and engage the local community. These included information dissemination, consultation of every village in the area and their active participation in the production of educational materials. The project would take into account that there is a relatively high illiteracy in the area and will address stakeholders in a wide variety of ways, including picture books, nature trails, six annual environment days with expeditions into the area, children's exhibitions and birdwatching towers. Results The Lower Prut Floodplain project improved the conservation status of the aquatic species in the natural park by carrying out a series of strategic interventions: scientific inventory, monitoring activities, site restoration, awareness raising and the designation of Natura 2000 sites. The implementation of the park management plan was partly achieved. Despite experiencing unfavourable weather and governmental and legislative problems, the project carried out all the foreseen actions, though some were delayed or reduced in scale. The achievements of the project include: Seven bird watching facilities for monitoring of birds populations, education of different visitors, tourists and wardens of the natural park; A dynamic GIS system that fully integrates GIS analysis with a database management system for storing digital data; Inventory of the ecological potential of the natural park and socio-economic evaluation that provides detailed up-to-date information; Ecological restoration of channels at two sites Prut River to Vlăscuţa Lake, and Prut River to Pochina in order to ensure the water balance of the lake, re-establish habitats for aquatic birds and improve the trophic status and the water oxygenation of the lakes through the input of the water from the Prut River; Rebuilding of dykes in Mata lakes area; and Public awareness work, such as the wide distribution of dissemination products.

3 At the end of the project, the establishment of a park administration was pending approval by the Romanian environment ministry. However, national legislation has declared the designated Natura 2000 sites as protected areas. Tourism and other such activities could bring economic and social benefits to local communities near the park. Long-term monitoring will continue to evaluate the biodiversity of the sites, especially changes in quantity and quality of species, habitats and the bioaccumulation of organochlorine pesticides in birds. Water quality and quantity will also be regularly monitored along with land use and public awareness through questionnaires. Environmental issues addressed: Themes Habitats - Freshwater Keywords endangered species environmental impact of agriculture environmental impact of tourism protected area public awareness campaign integrated management wetland Target EU Legislation Nature protection and Biodiversity Directive 79/409 - Conservation of wild birds ( ) Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv... Target species Bombina bombina Callimorpha quadripunctaria Emys orbicularis Lutra lutra Mustela lutreola Testudo graeca Triturus dobrogicus Target Habitat types Boreal Baltic coastal meadows Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition - type vegetation Rivers with muddy banks with Chenopodion rubri p.p. and Bidention

4 p.p. vegetation Sub-Pannonic steppic grasslands 91E0 - "Alluvial forests with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior (Alno-Padion, Alnion incanae, Salicion albae)" 92A0 - Salix alba and Populus alba galleries Natura 2000 sites Not applicable Beneficiaries: Coordinator Type of organisation Description Partners Regional Environmental Protection Agency Galati Regional authority The Regional Environmental Protection Agency - Galati County (REPA GL) represents the Ministry of Environment and Water Management at regional level. Its overall aim is to lead and support the development of regional environmental policy. It is in its mandate to undertake environmental planning, to undertake regulatory functions for environmental protection, to provide technical assistance and to develop, review and manage projects and programmes for environmental protection in the region. REPA GL provides assistance to the national centre in the designation and management of sites that are not within national or natural parks. University of Bucharest Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, Romania Romanian Ornithological Society, Romania Galaţi Forestry District, Romania Administrative data: Project reference LIFE05 NAT/RO/ Duration 01-NOV-2005 to 30-OCT Total budget 824, EU contribution 412,355.00

5 Project location Associated Romania(Romania) Read more: Project web site Project's website Project description Environmental issues Beneficiaries Administrative data Read more

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