Short name: The Lagoon of Life
Main objectives of the Project:
- To ensure full-scale restoration of the ecological processes supporting the unique biodiversity of Atanasovsko Lake;
- To establish a self-sustaining and financially viable mechanism to allow for the long-term conservation management of Atanasovsko Lake;
- To promote the benefits generated by Natura 2000 site Atanasovsko Lake.
Duration of the project: 6 years till 30.09.2024
Project area: Natura 2000 area Atanasovsko Lake
Partners: Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (Coordinating Beneficiary) and Bulgarian Society for the protection of Birds/ BirdLife Bulgaria, Black Sea Salinas Ltd., Zaedno 2011 (Associated Beneficiaries)
A. Preparatory actions, elaboration of management plans and/or of action plans
- Modeling for integrated monitoring of habitat 1150
- Carry out preparatory work to enable the habitat restoration works
- Feasibility study for establishing sustainable and financially valuable mechanisms to secure the future conservation management of the Lagoon
- Marketing strategy to identify new products/services from the salt-pans that add value to the Atanasovsko Lake provisioning and cultural ecosystem services
- Develop and implement Project Communication Strategy and Yearly Actions Plans
C. Conservation actions
- Restoration of the optimal water regime in the habitat 1150
- Reduce fragmentation of Habitat 1150
- Develop and test a scheme for improving water quality involving Ruppia maritima
- Create feeding and roosting sites for Great Bittern and other species of conservation concern
- Create participatory Conservation Model to increase the profitability of the Atanasovsko Lake products/services
D. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions (obligatory)
- Monitoring of the impact of the project activities on hydrological and hydrochemical parameters from the conservation status of the lagoon
- Monitoring of the impact of the project activities on biodiversity (key plant and animal species, inhabiting the lagoon, breeding and roosting)
- Monitoring technical effectiveness
- Monitoring on project impact on the ecosystem function restoration
E. Public awareness and dissemination of results (obligatory)
- Project visibility actions
- Awareness-raising activities for the general public
- Replication, Networking & LIFE platform meeting
- Build Capacity for Integrated Management of the Wetlands
- Promoting the Atanasovsko Lake participatory Conservation Model
F. Project management (obligatory)
- Project management by BBF
- Establish and make operational a Project Steering Group and a Public Advisory Council
- Sign Partnership Agreements
- Project technical and financial reporting, and monitoring
- Develop an “After-Life Conservation Plan”
- To ensure full-scale restoration of the ecological processes of AL we intend to develop and deploy a system for active management of the water levels and salinity of AL and clear sediment-filled channels, build a sluice gate to restore the natural connectivity of water flow.
- 20 ha of the habitat 1150*, which is currently drained, will be recovered and over 720 ha will have restored physical-chemical characteristics.
- The habitat 1310 will increase by 5.8 ha and additionally 5 ha of it will be restored.
- We will test an innovative scheme for the biological purification of water through recovering the viability of the Ruppia maritima populations in five water basins (area 40 ha).
- The adequate implementation of the EU Aquis will result in insufficient cross-compliance of WFD and BD in the RBM Planning and Report on Article 17. We will develop an integrated model for wetland assessment, will test it in monitoring and will lobby the competent authorities to implement that model.
- A new course on wetland management will be incorporated into two university curricula and 80 students will be trained for practical work on wetland conservation.
- The project will restore the microhabitat mosaic by deepening of certain ponds and reduction of the reedbed masses. The enhanced water regime over 16 ha and newly created 5.5 ha feeding and roosting habitats for the Great Bittern will enable its natural recovery. The monitoring data will be analysed and processed to be published in a peer-reviewed journal.
- To establish a self-sustaining viable mechanism for the long-term conservation management of AL the project will test supporting market-oriented businesses with two main objectives:
- demonstrating the value of the AL through exposing the unknown provisioning ecosystem services;
- explore the establishment of special conservation management fund for the Lake engaging the businesses using the AL resources. With the lack of sufficient public support for the lagoon, we will engage a small local NGO Zaedno 2011, build its capacity and establish it as a guardian of the Lake. The sound and viable Marketing Strategy will facilitate diversification of the salinas products. Its implementation will ensure that three products/services are developed with predecessors from AL Natura 2000 area and they will serve as a benchmark for the future development of new products with added value.
Financing: The total budget of the project is 2,525,618 €, 75% of which is co-financing by LIFE programme of EC and 25% from the partners. The budget is divided between the partners as follows: Black Sea Salinas Ltd. – 1 718 418 € (68 %); BBF – 606 665 € (24 %), BSPB – 107 202 € (4%) and Zaedno 2011 – 93270 € (4 %).
The website of the project:http://www.lagoon.biodiversity.bg