Romania Designates Four Ramsar Sites
1 August 2012: The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) has reported that the Government of Romania has designated four new sites for the List of Wetlands of International Importance. All four new sites are associated with the Danube River, and all are exceptionally important for waterbirds, according to Ramsar.
The first site, Bistret, includes the Bistret Lake, the Danube river, fishery and lagoon complexes, islands, meadows, agricultural land and forests. It supports a diversity of species, especially birds. Activities carried out on the site include agriculture, fishing and recreation. Operation of a fish farm, poaching and solid waste disposal pose threats to the site.
The second site, Lake Calarasi, only contains a small part of the former lake, which has been preserved following the Danube's embankment. It supports 271 species of sedentary and migratory waterbirds, as well as several species of fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals, including species threatened on national, European and global levels. Activities carried out on the site, which is important for flood control and groundwater recharge, include fishing, aquaculture and agriculture. Potential threats include uncontrolled tourism and over-fishing.
The third site, Olt-Danube Confluence, contains natural stretches of the Olt and Danube Rivers, alluvial meadows and forests, riparian mixed forests, sand islands, oxbow and temporary lakes. It provides the habitat for many species of waterbirds and for different species of fish, amphibians and mammals. Activities carried out on the site include agriculture, forestry, fishing, recreation and hydropower production. The site, which plays an important role in flood protection and sediment trapping, is threatened by the construction of hydropower plants, solid waste disposal, and poaching.
The fourth site, Suhaia, comprises Suhaia Lake, the Danube river, connecting channels, fishing ponds, reed beds, swamps and rice fields. It provides the habitat for threatened species of birds and several threatened species of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. Activities carried out on the site, which plays a significant role in groundwater replenishment, include aquaculture, agriculture, forestry and recreational activities. Threats to the site include illegal burning of vegetation, poaching and the overuse of fertilizers.
Ramsar notes that the preparations for all four designations were supported by WWF International through its Danube Carpathian Programme.
Romania's designations contribute to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]