Summary of the LIFE - Nature 2002-2007: Conservation of priority bird species in Lake Mikri Prespa, Greece
Beneficiary: Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP)
Duration: 2002 - 2007*
Project funding: 60% European Commission (DG Environment) 40% Society for the Protection of Prespa
Supporting agencies: Municipality of Prespa, Regional Administration of Western Macedonia, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of the Environment Land Planning and Public Works, Co-operative of Fishermen of Psarades, Municipal Districts of Mikrolimni, Karyes, Lefkonas, Platy, Lemos and Agios Achillios.
*According to the initial proposal, the duration of the project was four years (ending in June 2006). However, the project was extended for one more (within the original budget line and with the addition of several new actions) and its new ending date is set for the 30th of June 2007.
Aim:The aim of the project is to ensure and improve the conservation status of the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and the Pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmeus) through the restoration and management of their habitats at Lake Mikri Prespa, Greece.
The activities of the LIFE project are as follows:
- Promotion of the effective water management of Lake Mikri Prespa in order to ensure the maintenance of a high water level during spring, favouring fish spawning and increasing the feeding grounds for P. crispus and P. pygmeus. This activity is based on the results of the Study on the optimum water level fluctuation of the Lake Mikri Prespa, which was produced by the the SPP in 2001 after its assignment by the Municipality of Prespa. The activity includes the completion of a technical study and the re-construction of the sluice connecting Mikri Prespa to Megali Prespa.
- Management of the wetland vegetation of the littoral zone. Interventions are organized and implemented according to the existing management plan, which was prepared by the SPP in 2001 and approved by the local and regional authorities.
- Monitoring of the ecological changes of the wetland vegetation, monitoring of the breeding colonies of the directly targeted bird species, as well as of the bird use of the managed sites.
- Launching of a public awareness campaign targeting local stakeholders, local authorities, public services, visitors and the media.
Management of wetland vegetation and effective water level management are complementary activities, both of which contribute decisively towards the protection of the ecological functions and the conservation of Lake Mikri Prespa. More specifically, these activities are:
- Increasing habitat diversity and, most importantly, triple the present wet meadows surface to the target of 100 ha around the lake. Wet meadows comprise the main feeding grounds for P. crispus and P. pygmeus, as well as other rare water birds such as A. nyroca, herons, the Great White Pelican etc.
- Contribute towards the protection of reedbeds and, therefore, the breeding colonies of the targeted species.
- Positively influence at least forty-two (42) rare water bird species of European and national importance that breed in the wetland or feed in the shallow water areas of Lake Mikri Prespa.
- Increase fish spawning grounds, which will lead to the increase of fish populations and hence produce economic benefits for the local community.
The scientific monitoring programme is a necessary activity in order to follow up the results of management interventions. The programme will be used as the basic component for the establishment of an operational monitoring scheme on the wetland.
Finally, public awareness activities are expected to increase sensitisation of local stakeholders, promote eco-touristic activities and hence have an indirect socioeconomic benefit to the area.
Actions (description and code numbers per action)
Α. PRELIMINARY ACTIONS
A1. Technical Study on the construction of a system to control the water level of Lake Mikri Prespa
A2. Production of a Guideline document on the Restoration and Maintenance of Wet Meadows in Lake Mikri Prespa
C. NON - RECURRING BIOTOPE MANAGEMENT
C1. Construction of a new sluice to efficiently control the water level of Lake Mikri Prespa
D. RECURRING BIOTOPE MANAGEMENT
D1. Management of the reedbed vegetation by grazing
D2. Summer and autumn reed cutting at the littoral zone of Lake Mikri Prespa
D3. Field monitoring activities (monitoring of the vegetation of the managed sites, monitoring bird use of managed sites, census of target species colonies, hydrometeorological monitoring)
Ε. PUBLIC AWARENESS AND DISSEMINATION OF THE PROJECT RESULTS
Ε1. Production of printed, photographic and electronic informative material
E2. Bird watching and provision of information to visitors on site
Ε3. Mass media
F. OVERALL PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND PROJECT MONITORING
F1. Project management
F2. Establishment and operation of the scientific committee of the project
F3. Networking with other LIFE projects
Total project duration: July 2002 - June 2007 *