Restoration of wetlands was discussed at the public council for Atanasovsko Lake


The ninth meeting of the Public Council gathered in the Hall of Georgi Baev Gallery representatives of the District Administration, Burgas Municipality, RIEW Burgas, Bourgas Airport, BBF and others who discussed issues related to wetland restoration.

The council started with the interesting presentation of Stoyan Mihov, WWF's Nature Conservation Manager (he started his professional  career from Burgas Wetlands), who presented the experience of the Danube wetland restoration. In the 1930s they were drained by building dikes to provide arable land to the poor Danubian population to combat malaria and prevent floods. Until the 1980s, over 95% of the wetlands on the Danube were destroyed. After 2000, work began on their restoration for connection to the river and their periodic flooding. The expert presented the good experience of the restoration and maintenance of the swamps of Persin Island, which have improved the condition and increased their inhabitants.

What is the situation with Atanasovsko Lake? - today the lake is what we know only thanks to man. It is strongly altered for the needs of salt production and that is what makes it so rich and significant for the Bulgarian nature. It consists of two separate water bodies without a hydraulic connection between them and is a complex and dynamic system, constantly changing in time and space. The quality of water depends on the quality of surface, marine and groundwater and is influenced by the circulation of water in the lake.

The maintenance of Atanasovsko lake is accomplished through the restoration and construction of a system of dams and shafts and the provision of connection between the individual basins and the flooding of the habitats. This ensures the water circulation, which is key to the state of the Lagoon.

Activities under the Salt of Life Project, LIFE +, are aimed at providing conditions for improving this circulation. 17 of the 23km channel is cleaned, which surrounds the lake and prevents it from entering unwanted freshwaters that change the ecosystem. The canals collect the waters from the catchment of all the rivers that flow into the Atanasovsko Lake and through it lead to the sea. 15 km of dikes destroyed after the floods in recent years have been repaired, which are of great importance for the normal water flow through the 170 ponds of the lake. Each pool is a unique water world that is "restarted" several times during the season.

Elements of the salt-producing infrastructure help to effectively manage the water regime in Atanasovsko Lake. Otherwise, difficulty in circulation leads to increased sedimentation and a gradual loss of ecological and technological functions of non-maintained pools. And as the BBF team is already thinking about the future after the current LIFE project, funding will be sought to improve the state of the largest water basin in the Northern Salinas and to divide it into smaller parts by building 3 dykes.

Diyana Kostovska, head of Salt of Life, presented the current state of the lake and the work done by the team over the last 6 months. All members were invited to the upcoming Salt Festival, which this year will be on August 12, 2017 - all day, but on Saturday. The festival will coincide with the birthday of the Reserve and will be on the theme "Inspired by the Lake". Then will officially open the new space of ​​Atanasovsko Lake - "symBiotic".
Galina Baycheva, Head of Crisis Management Department, Burgas Municipality, demonstrated the new electronic flood risk management system, which has been effective since the beginning of the year.

The Public Council of Atanasovsko Lake is a successful tool for sharing experience and finding good solutions for the management of the lake and the Natura 2000 area Atanasovsko Lake. It was created in March 2013 as part of the "Salt of Life" project, LIFE +.