Iron Gates Wetlands

Improving the conservation status for priority species and habitats in Iron Gates Wetlands

LIFE10 NAT/RO/740 (2011-2016)

Funding: European Commission

Webpage: www.cormoran.portiledefier.ro

Partners: Caras-Severin Environmental Protection Agency, Iron Gates Natural Park Administration, University of Bucharest, Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies, National Museum of Natural History “Grigore Antipa”

Aim: To provide a long term favorable conservation status for pygmy cormorant and ferruginous duck and their habitats in the ROSPA0026 Danube water course Bazias – Iron Gates, by implementing and disseminating efficient conservation measures. The project is implemented from 2011 to 2016.

Project objectives:

  • Improving the conservation status of priority bird species (especially Phalacrocorax pygmeus and Aythya nyroca) by restoring wintering, nesting and feeding habitats.
  • Improving the conservation status of priority habitats through demonstrative actions of removing aquatic and riverside invasive species.
  • Implementing an efficient early warning system for invasive alien species in the ROSPA0026 Danube water course Bazias – Iron Gates.
  • Increasing public awareness on the importance of biodiversity in the Natura 2000 site ROSPA0026 Danube water course Bazias – Iron Gates.

Expected results:

  • Long term action plan for stopping the loss of biodiversity within the Iron Gates wetlands. The plan will include a weed harvesting strategy and maintaining a minimum water depth strategy. The plan will be approved by local environmental agency and integrated in Iron Gates Natural Park management plan and the Danube river basin management plan.
  • Creating an up to date GIS database which will provide support to local environmental policies and to detect potential activities with a potential negative impact on the environment.
  • Purchase floating equipment for cutting the excessive macrophytes from the wetlands, especially invasive macrophytes. The equipment will be used in ROSPA0026 for demonstrative purposes and for the elimination invasive weed (eg: Eichhornia crassipes, Azolla filiculoides, Nymphoides peltata).
  • Restoring the 91E0* priority habitats (alluvial forests populated with Alnus glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior) and providing undisturbed habitats for the pygmy cormorant population  by creating 100 resting platforms in shallow waters along the Danube, mounting 200 pygmy cormorant decoys on natural and artificial resting platforms, planting 55 ha with Salix alba, eradication of invasive trees (Robinia pseudoaccacia, Rhus hirta and Alianthus altissima) from 55 ha and eradication of invasive American mink.
  • 60 ha wetlands cleaned of aquatic invasive species and excessive species and running two demonstrative weed harvesting field trips with Romanian SPAs managers and watershed management authorities.
  • An early detection system for aquatic invasions in the ROSPA0026.
  • An extensive public awareness campaign for project dissemination, a campaign for raising the public awareness on the birds and wetlands importance for tourists, local citizens and children.
  • The enforcement of a complex monitoring system for wetlands and priority species to assure the success of the project’s action and the formulation of small scale corrective actions.