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Еxample 1: Irakli – the protected exception on the Bulgarian Black Sea

Environmentalists and public' initiatives against the concreting of protected areas on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast

Irakli ("Heracles") is a seaside resort situated in the middle part of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, south of Obzor, Nesebar municipality. Irakli beach is part of the Bulgarian sites included in "Natura 2000" and is a protected area. There are some bungalows of different institutions at the end of the beach, the rest of coast is known for its virgin nature and clean environment, which can be seen almost anywhere along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. There grow unique plants that are listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria and are protected by the Biodiversity Act.



Main issues:
Although Irakli is an officially protected area, it is a good example of problems that are typical for the development of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The nature reserve is under threat of being destroyed by illegal building activities. Near the beach was planned to build a holiday village with restaurants, gym, swimming pools and many apartments that threaten the unique nature of one of the last Bulgarian virgin  beaches protected by the Biodiversity Act.

Only public protests (“Save Irakli Campaign”, initiated by a large group of citizens) have saved Irakli from destruction till now. Almost six years after the start of the massive public campaign “Let’s Save Irakli”, Burgas Appellate Court rejected the decision of the Director of the Regional Inspectorate of Environment and Water - Burgas  to allow investor’s intention and the investor was stopped for now at least the first instance.

Lessons Learnt
Public participation could lead into correct directions

Further information 
Organization “Let’s Save Irakli” -

Еxample 2: International conservation volunteers save the habitats of rare and endangered bird species in the Lake Pomorie

Lake Pomorie is ovet salty lagoon to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Wetland offers a rare combination of living conditions that allow the development of a very rare set of vegetation. The lake is separated from the Black sea by an artificial embankment and only its southern part has a connecting channel. From January 2001 was declared a protected area under the Protected Areas Act. The highest value for the region has its ornithological diversity.
In the area are established 215 bird species, 4 of them are globally threatened: curly pelican, pygmy cormorant, ruddy duck, Ferruginous Duck, Corncrake. The lake is one of the most important nesting sites of Recurvirostra avosetta and Himantopus himantopus. Reservoirs is of international importance as a wintering mute swan. On the lake exerted a strong anthropogenic impact: built salt violate the hydrological regime; traffic on the road (passage in the western part of the lake) worried residents, convalescent, bungalows and neighborhood (the south end of lake) pollution coasts; claims for restitution are also potential. Direct threat to birds is hunting and uncontrolled movement of people across the region.




Main issues:
In recent years, Lake Pomorie is an attractive place for many tourists coming from around the world organized to monitor bird richness of the wetland. Unfortunately, in recent years the Lake Pomorie is under an exclusive human pressure - along with concerns by poachers, each year growing construction pollute the shores of the lake with tons of household and construction waste. Moreover, the huge appetite for new construction sites leads to absorption of natural areas, drainage and construction of small adjacent wetlands around the lake, which has a strong negative effect on its biodiversity. Severely limiting factors on the biodiversity of wetland violations are hydrological and salt balance of the lagoon and the lack of suitable nesting habitats of rare and endangered bird species around the lake.

Since 1996 „Green Balkans Association” implementing a program for conservation and restoration of biodiversity of the lake. Annually together with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) they make an international conservation working teams, aimed at improving breeding habitats of rare and endangered species. Over the past 15 years, the Association draws support of various donors and international institutions to protect the wetland and its natural heritage.

In 1998 volunteers from the "Green Balkans Association" funded by the BSBCP build a large floating platform and help complete the construction of a concrete island with a useful area of ​​40 square meters for nesting. Marking is carried out and placed signs. In the protected area is prohibited destruction of marsh vegetation, water pollution, hunting and disturbance of birds building. But salt production is allowed by the "Pomorie salt" EAD, restocking with species typical for the lake fauna, recreational fishing in certain areas.

The Lake Pomorie is a good example of coexistence of traditional human activities such as salt production and rich biodiversity through active public participation.


Further information about other public campaigns and actions:


Region and country links and sources

“Nature Fund” Association

BALKANI Wildlife Soceity

Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds/BirdLife Partner

Bulgarian “Biodiversity” Foundation

“GREEN BALKANS' Federation

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Oceanology “Fridtjof Nansen” – Varna