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Natura 2000 site Ivailovgrad Reservoir


Surface – 19 662 hectares.

The site covers almost the entire water body of Ivailovgrad reservoir on the Arda river and the adjacent mountain slopes from the villages of Borislavtsi and Senoclass on the west to the state border on the east and from the villages of Malki Voden and Dabovets on the north to Pokrovan, Huhla, Ivailovgrad and Slaveevo on the south. Ivailovgrad dam is located in the narrow valley of the Arda. The bigger part of the area is covered by xerothermal shrub and xero-mesophyte grass formations, interspersed with single vertical rocks and cliff walls. The farmlands are located around the reservoir and on the flat areas of the mountain slopes. In the sections periodically flooded by the reservoirs and around them there are clay-sandy patches and meadows. Half of the area is covered by mixed oak forests of Quercus cerris and Q. frainetto with Mediterranean elements.

The region of Ivailovgrad reservoir supports 163 bird species. Of the birds occurring there 73 species are of European conservation concern (SPEC), 5 of them being listed in category SPEC 1 as globally threatened, 20 in SPEC 2 and 48 in SPEC 3 as species threatened in Europe. The area provides suitable habitats for 56 species, included in Annex 2 of the Biodiversity Act, which need special conservation measures, of which 51 are listed also in Annex I of the Birds Directive. The site one of the most important in the country on a European Union scale for the conservation of habitats and breeding population of Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus. It holds also representative breeding populations of Black Stork and the Honey Buzzard. The Masked Shrike and the Olive-tree Warbler also breed in the area. The reservoir is one of the important wetlands in the Eastern Rhodopes for wintering of waterfowl. The Great White Egret and the Smew regularly overwinter there.

Only 0.1% of the site is in protected areas. Ivailovgrad Reservoir is part of the CORINE Site “Arda River Valley”, designated in 1998 because of its European value for rare and threatened habitats, plant and animal species, including birds. In 2005 the area was designated as Important Bird Area by BirdLife International. The IBA is approved as SPA under Bird Directive.

One of the potential threats both to the habitats and to the birds in the area is the development of wind turbine farms. During recent decades tourism has started to develop more intensively, which could cause negative impact on birds and habitats if the process is not regulated.


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