“Urgent Measures to Restore and Secure Long-term Preservation of the Atanasovsko Lake Coastal Lagoon” Project, short name “The Salt of Life” is financed by EU, LIFE+ Programme LIFE11 NAT/BG/000362. It is 6-years long project – from 01.07.2012 till 31.08.2018.
The project will be implemented by the Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation, in partnership with the Black Sea Salinas Ltd. and Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. It is a good example of successful partnership between nature conservation organizations and business and example of pro biodiversity business which not disturbs, but supports the life of the inhabitants of the lake.
The main objectives of the projects are:
• To establish a functional, efficient and sustainable infrastructure for water management and control of the coastal lagoon in Atanasovsko lake. This will provide long-term improvements to habitat conditions and enable adaptation to the effects of climate change including changing rainfall patterns and rises in sea-level.
• To reduce the impact of direct and indirect threats on Atanasovsko Lake lagoon and its priority bird species by securing sustainable habitat management including improvements to existing and creation of new breeding sites for priority bird species.
• To monitor and evaluate the effects of the proposed habitat restoration measures on the lagoon, other significant habitats, and Annex 1 bird species during the project and to feed this information into future site management plans.
• To improve the visitor experience at the site and to disseminate the project results to a wide European audience of site managers, ecologists and the general public.
• To enhance public understanding of the ecological, economic and social values of the coastal lagoons and raise support for the conservation of priority coastal habitats and bird species.
The project is worth € 2,013,027, of which 75% is provided by the European Union through the LIFE + Nature program. Through this financing 23-km freshwater canal that surrounds the lake and collect rainwater from settlements and fields around will be repaired. We will restore habitats, roosting and breeding sites by dykes and barriers repair, destroyed during the great flood in 2010, to provide appropriate nesting sites of rare bird species that inhabit the lagoon. Four new islands for nesting terns and Avocets will be built in the south.
Great attention will be paid to monitoring the lagoon to determine exactly how the measures taken by the project will adversely affect the conservation status of threatened and rare habitat.
Citizens of Burgas and lake visitors know very little about the vulnerability of the lagoon and its biodiversity, so in the course of the project attention will be paid to information and interpretation of the lagoon, its inhabitants and salt production. In the southern part of the lake two special trails will be built - a Trail of Avocet and a Trail of salt. Festival of salt, many exhibitions and events will be just some of the things that will happen in Burgas citizens and guests of the city during the project.
The "Salt of Life" project is a great recognition of Burgas and its natural values, because this is the first area in Bulgaria which receives funding under LIFE + Programme of the EU for the second time.