1000 km2 of new Ramsar sites for Romania

Posted on 07 July 2012  | 
Close to 1,000 km2 of newly designated Ramsar sites were announced by the host country Romania at the Ramsar Convention on wetlands taking place in Bucharest 6-13 July. During a special presentation on wetland conservation in Romania delivered by Dr. Grigore Baboianu, Executive Director of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, the four new sites, designated with the help of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme and Birdlife Romania, were named as Confluence of the Olt-Danube rivers (466.23 km2), Bistreț Lake (274.82 km2), Iezerul Călărași Lake (50.0 km2) and Suhaia Lake (195.9 km2).

Romania, which ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1991 and designated the Danube Delta as its first Ramsar site, now has a total of over 9,000 km2 of Ramsar sites. A further 2,000 km2 are in the process of receiving a Ramsar designation, delegates heard.

Dr. Grigore Baboianu told the conference that the main threats and pressures on wetlands in Romania come from damming upstream the Danube Delta, land reclamation for urban development and development of navigation.

The actions that Romania is taking to respond to the threats and pressures on wetlands are wetland restoration works in the Danube Delta and the floodplains of the Danube River and its tributaries, restoration of habitats and ecosystems, waste waters management, development of protected areas network and organic agriculture.

“Some of the best news the Ramsar delegates hear are indeed coming from Romania and the broader Danube basin”, said Andreas Beckmann, Director of the WWF Danube-Carpathian Programme. “In the past twenty years since the fall of the Iron Curtain, a veritable revolution has taken place in the way that wetland areas are seen and treated across the Danube basin. High level commitments have been made to promote wetland conservation and restoration, at EU, regional and national levels. And the results are becoming increasingly evident – not just in high-level meetings, but also on the ground”.

However, some EU and government plans anticipate diking and dredging up to 1000 km of the river, with potentially massive impacts on valuable wetland areas.

“The Joint Statement on navigation developed under the leadership of the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, Sava and Danube Commissions has created guidelines for mediating conflicts between navigation development and environmental protection - it is a promising start, but must now be fully applied”, Beckmann said.

Another cause for concern are current plans to install hundreds of hydropower plants along all of the Danube’s tributaries, with potentially massive impacts on wetland areas.
15 experts took part in the expedition, including WWF biologists and scientists working for the Bulgarian Academy of Science and the Romanian Ornithological Society.
Romania, which ratified the Ramsar Convention in 1991 and designated the Danube Delta as its first Ramsar site, now has a total of over 9,000 m2 of Ramsar sites.
© Milen Enchev Enlarge

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