Areas of activity
Pomorie Lake and Burgas Wetlands
The Pomorie Lake and the Burgas Wetlands are among the most significant wetlands in Bulgaria.
The Pomorie Lake is a hyper-saline lagoon, separated from the sea by a sand strip and a dike. Part of the lake has been turned into salt-pans. The lake is located along Via Pontica bird migratory route, which determines its great significance as a foraging and roosting site during the migratory period. 266 species of birds have been observed on the area of the lake, many of them rare and globally threatened species. Over 100 000 pelicans, storks, geese and birds of prey pass the lake every year on their way to Africa. The Lake is a protected site (since 2001), a CORINE site, and a wetland of international significance (site included in the Ramsar Convention lists in 2002). In 1989 the Lake was designated as an Important Bird Area, and after a Decision of the Council of Ministers of March 2nd, 2007, it became part of the NATURA 2000 network.
Our work for the conservation of the Pomorie Lake aims at restoring the natural state of the lake, protecting its biodiversity and adopting environmentally friendly economic practices.
Shabla, Durnakulak and NE Bulgaria
This is the region, where we are implementing our program for conservation of the Red-breasted Geese. The program aims at creating a “safety zone” to be used by birds while wintering in the country, when the region hosts almost 90% of the species’ global population.
The section of the Danube stretching between Romania and Bulgaria is called the Lower Danube. Together with the Danube Delta, it is one of the most significant fresh-water eco-regions in Europe and the rest of the world. It hosts more than 300 species of birds, such as White Pelicans, Dalmatian Pelicans, White-tailed Eagles, Red-breasted Geese, Pygmy Cormorants, Ferruginous Ducks, Herons, Spoonbills, Ibises, over 75 fish species, hundreds of mammals, as well as many rare plants and habitats of high conservation significance. The area is also included in the WWF Global 200 as being one of extreme conservation priority for protecting the last flood plains, wetlands and flood-plain forests.
Our activities in the Danube area are directed towards conserving the flood-plain forests on the Bulgarian Danube islands, the wetlands along the river bed, and their biodiversity.
The Martisa, Tundja and other inland rivers
The Maritsa and other inland rivers are important bio-corridors and provide habitats for numerous rare species. At the same time, they are exposed to tremendous human pressure – pollution, destruction of the riparian vegetation, correction of the river-beds, and extraction of inert materials. Our work for conserving rivers aims at limiting or eradicating these factors, restoring the riparian habitats, studying and monitoring their biodiversity.
The Konush and Panicheri micro-reservoirs
The Konush micro-reservoir is located in the immediate proximity to the village of Konush, some 15 km away from Assenovgrad. It preserves one of the last heron colonies in the Upper Thracian Lowland. It hosts about 150 breeding pairs of Night Herons and 100 breeding pairs of Little Egrets. The colony was designated a protected area. Our activities in the area cover regular guarding and monitoring of the colony, marking of the protected area, raising the awareness of the locals, etc. An information campaign and monitoring of a heron colony are also carried out near another village – Panicheri.
Micro-reservoirs, fish-ponds and dams in the inner parts of the country
The destruction of natural wetlands in the past century has determined the great significance of the remaining micro-reservoirs, dams and fisheries which have turned into last sanctuaries for wildlife. This is especially true for reservoirs such as Ovcharitsa and Rozov kladenets, Pyasuchnik, Koprinka, Jrebchevo, and others, which are among the most significant wetlands in the country /especially during the wintering period/. The fisheries are also very important as feeding and roosting sites during migration, as well as breeding and wintering sites for many bird species.
Our work there is related to monitoring of biodiversity and prevention of poaching.
Eastern Balkan Mountains
The Eastern Balkan Mountains is one of the priority areas identified for vulture reintroduction within the Balkan Vulture Action Plan.
Our activities there are directed towards studying the biodiversity of the area and identifying potential nesting sites for vultures and other birds of prey.
Together with the Sinite Kamani Nature Park Directorate we have established a feeding site, where regular feeding and monitoring take place.
Eastern Rhodope Mountains
The Eastern Rhodope Mountains are among the sites of highest biodiversity in Bulgaria. All 37 species of diurnal birds of prey found in Bulgaria could be observed here. Here is the only site where Griffon vultures breed in the country. The region is in direct proximity to the Greek Reserve of Dadia, where one of the last two Black Vulture colonies in Europe is located and therefore is found suitable for reintroducing the species back to the country.
Our activities in the area of the Eastern Rhodope Mountains started back in 1991, being focused on the conservation and studying of vulture species. We have set up an artificial feeding site for regular feeding and monitoring near the village of Pelevun. We also carry out regular radio-tracking / telemetry of vultures tagged in Dadia and work with the local people within a campaign against the use of poisonous baits for terrestrial predators (one of the limiting factors for vulture reintroduction indeed).
Sakar and the Dervent Heights
The area of Sakar and the Dervent Heights harbors almost 90% of the population of the Imperial Eagle in the country. Therefore it is of crucial importance for the survival of the species.
Western Rhodope Mountains
The harmonic combination of preserved nature and unique historic and cultural heritage of the Rhodope Mountains holds great magnetism and charm. The Western Rhodope Mountains is characterized by a unique diversity of flora and fauna species, many of which endemic, relict or endangered on a global or European scale. The area of the Western Rhodope Mountains has preserved a great variety of habitats of high conservation value and important, well-preserved natural landscape. It is among the very few areas in Europe where breaches in natural landscape are of point, island or linear character and cover less than 5% of the area.
The rich biodiversity of the Western Rhodope Mountains is represented by over 2,000 taxa of higher plants (excluding mosses), over 900 species of butterflies, 273 species of birds (140 of them nesting), 28 species of reptiles and amphibians, 44 species of mammals and 28 species of bats, as well as more than 108 types of habitats.
A total of 855 flora and fauna species are of prior conservation significance, 260 of them are of global conservation concern. The Western Rhodope Mountains is also among the most important karst regions in Bulgaria, holding 572 caves and rock phenomena. The mountain also preserves one of the greatest forest massifs in Europe.
Green Balkans’ work in the area aims at combining wildlife conservation with sustainable development of the Rhodope Mountains. In 2001, Green Balkans, together with the Union for Conservation of the Rhodope Mountains, submitted a proposal for designation of the Western Rhodope Nature Park, in order to secure institutional protection of the unique nature of the mountains. In 2003, Green Balkans prepared the documentation required for designating the Western Rhodope Nature Park. An extensive information campaign promoting the idea of establishing a Nature Park was organized covering 25 municipalities and over 110 settlements. Unfortunately, the Minister of Environment and Waters has not proceeded with the designation procedure since 2003.
The area is also of prior significance for vulture reintroduction in Bulgaria, proven by the studies on suitable nesting sites, food basis and potential threats taking place in the area.
Areas of activity map