|Date||19 Jul 2005|
Wetlands in Bulgaria have been altered, degraded or lost through a wide range of human activities. The loss of lowland wetlands, dike construction and deforestation nave strongly increased the significance of the headwater wetlands for the surrounding environment. Such wetlands are found mostly on the mountains, hills and landslide areas in Bulgaria – regions not suitable for agriculture or with restricted exploitation. Although not deliberately, such wetlands have been altered by shepherds, fishermen and tourists, resulting in lowering of the water level and further reduction of their size and depth due to overgrowth of the macrophyte communities. The project aims to restore three headwater wetlands, situated on the mountains around Sofia.
The biggest wetland site is situated on Lijulin Mt. and is a landslide system of 13 lakes, part of which occasionally dry up in the summer. The lakes are situated on the major migratory way “Via Aristotelis”, and are used as resting point by different bird species. A world endangered species as Crex crex is found on the slopes around the lakes. Rare species such as: Misgurnus fossilis; Emys orbicularis, Bombina variegate are found in the wetlands which are also used as a reproduction ground by Triturus vulgaris and Hyla arborea. Small ditches have been dug up on most of the lakes, which have further eroded by the out-flowing waters. Valuable habitats are strongly decreased and invasion of terrestrial species progresses.
The other two wetlands are “Boyansko Lake” situated in Vitosha Natural Park and “The Lake” on Lozenska Mt., they consist of only one basin and contrary to the first wetland are forest lakes. The outlets of the lakes are also eroded, and filling up with broken trees and brunches have speeded up the shrinkage of the open water. Both lakes are situated close to hiking-paths, as they are among the last natural lakes close to Sofia city, but so far measures have not been taken to restore and protect them.
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