Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas

Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas.

With the integration in Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA) of the Management Body of Amvrakikos Gulf – Lefkada island, the Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas operates under N.E.C.C.A.’s Protected Areas Management Directorate (Sector A), based in Salaora (Arta).

Its spatial area of jurisdiction includes the following Natura 2000 sites:

GR2110001 AMVRAKIKOS KOLPOS, DELTA LOUROU KAI ARACHTHOU (PETRA, MYTIKAS, EVRYTERI PERIOCHI, KATO POUS ARACHTHOU, KAMPI FILIPPIADAS)
GR2110004 AMVRAKIKOS KOLPOS, LIMNOTHALASSA KATAFOURKO KAI KORAKONISIA
GR2110006 KOILADA ACHELOOU KAI ORI VALTOU
GR2310006 LIMNES VOULKARIA KAI SALTINI
GR2310007 LIMNI AMVRAKIA
GR2310008 LIMNI OZEROS
GR2310011 OROS TSEREKAS (AKARNANIKA)
GR2310014 LIMNI VOULKARIA
GR2310016 LIMNI AMVRAKIA

General description


Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park

Amvrakikos attracts strong interest in National and International level, as one of the most important wetlands of Greece with high ecological value. Important habitats, protected bird species, along with an abundance of plants, animals and fish compose an image of unique diversity and beauty. More than 295 bird species have been recorded in Amvrakikos, out of a total of about 450 species of the Hellenic avifauna. Moreover, the bottlenose dolphins well known as “dolphins of Amvrakikos” and the sea turtle, are examples of rare and endangered fauna.

In addition to the aforementioned, the priority habitats of 20 large and small lagoons, the highly developed outflow systems of the rivers Arachthos and Louros, the covered with shells barrier-island lagoons, the wealth of fish fauna of the bay, the endemic fish species, the existence of few of the remaining riparian forests  and the distinctive geomorphology of the largest semi-closed bay of the country, enable us to understand the wealth of biodiversity, which is hidden in the Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park.

The position and shape of the bay, which create a large (400 sq. Km) and protected sea with rich and diverse coastal zone have attracted human activities since ancient times.

 

Acheron Straits- Estuaries

West of this area, in the northwestern coastal part of the Prefecture of Preveza, are the estuaries of the river. The river Acheron flows into the Ionian Sea, in Ormos Fanari (Ammoudia). It is an area with special natural features, such as marshy lands, coves with sand dunes and beautiful coastal ecosystems, with steep rock formations covered with pine forest, which give the area special biological and aesthetic value.

The area of Acheron Straits and Estuaries is one of the 18 natural areas that have been recognized as the most remarkable in the whole of Epirus. The area occupies a total surface of 4,630 hectares and is important both at European level (it is a SAC, with code GR2140001 and the part that belongs to the Straits, is part of the SPA with code GR2120008, together with Paramythia Mountains and the Straits of the river Kalamas) as well as at National level, due to its special characteristics and its biodiversity.

The minimum altitude of the area is 0m (lowland part) and the maximum goes up to 1,276m (mountainous part). The Acheron Delta belongs to the morphodynamic type of loboid deltas and from a rheomorphological point of view, is considered as a tectonic basin which is joined by a layer of alluvial deposits, through the “action” of the Acheron River. The whole area of the estuarine ecosystem is flat or has a very small slope. The plant communities that compose the vegetation of the Acheron Delta and the surrounding hills belong to the following types: Sandphile-ammonitrophile, vegetation of saline swamps and of freshwater swamps, riparian forests, aquatic, maquis and phrygana and remnant stands of Quercus ithaburensis ssp. macrolepis. In the parts of the abandoned fields, the natural vegetation penetrates dynamically. Several species of birds are nested there, which are protected by the Berne Convention and Directive 2009/147/EC. This coastal habitat is an important part of the chain of wetlands in Western Greece. The combination of the above natural elements with important archeological sites (Necromantion, Acropolis of Efyra, etc) give the area a bold ecotourism character.

** Note that the national legal reference for the SPAs is the Joint Ministerial Decision (JMD) 37338/1807/Ε103/01-09-2010 (Government Gazette 1495/Β’) while for the SACs is the Law 3937/29-03-2011 (Government Gazette 60/Α’).

Swamp of Rodia (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
Swamp of Rodia (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
Lagoon of Rodia (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
Lagoon of Rodia (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)

Legal Framework

 

Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park

The Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park was founded on March 21, 2008 by Joint Ministerial Decree 11989/2008 (Government Gazette 123/D‘/21-03-2008). The declaration of the area as a National Park and the definition of uses, conditions and limitations, has been the result of a long effort, in connection with the environmental protection of the region on a national level. The establishment of the National Park aims at the conservation and management of nature and landscape, as a natural heritage and a valuable national natural resource of the land and water parts of the wider area of the Amvrakikos Gulf, that are distinguished for their great biological, ecological, aesthetic, scientific, geomorphological and pedagogical value.

More specifically, the aim is to preserve and manage rare habitats and species of flora and fauna, especially the avifauna, which is composed of several important species. With the designation of the area as a National Park, four (4) Protection Zones are demarcated in which the measures for the protection of the Natural Environment are escalated according to the following order:

Environmental Control Zone which occupies 177,990 ha, which concerns the wider protection area and in which the mildest management measures are taken

Zone B’ Areas of Special Arrangements of a total area of 10,522 ha, in which specific measures and management conditions are provided, while at the same time for each human activity, the consent of the relevant Management Unit is required

Zone A1′ Special Water Management of an area of 457 ha, which provides for specific conditions for the operation of existing land-based aquaculture units, after the agreement of the relevant Management Unit

Zone A’ Nature Protection Areas, of a total area of 18,246 ha, which include land, sea and lagoon sections, as well as any permanent or seasonally flooded area, within the above areas and which provide for stricter provisions and restrictions of the permitted activities and always after the consent of the relevant Management Unit

The importance of the area for the conservation of biodiversity has been internationally recognized with its inclusion in the Wetlands of International Importance of the Ramsar Treaty (2/2/1971), as well as by the Bern Conventions (19/9/1979) on the “Conservation of Wildlife and Natural Environment of Europe”, Bonn (23/6/1979) on the “Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Fauna” and Barcelona (16/2/1976) on the “Protected Areas of the Mediterranean”.

In addition, the Amvrakikos National Wetlands Park is included in the European Network of Protected Areas NATURA 2000 with the demarcation of four (4) areas, in which the terms and provisions of the European Directives 92/43 on the “Conservation of natural habitats, as well as of wild fauna and flora” and 2009/147 on the “Conservation of wild birds” apply. In detail, the 4 areas of the Natura 2000 Network are the following:

– GR2110001: “Amvrakikos Gulf, Louros and Arachthos delta (Petra, Mytikas, wider area, lower Arachthos, Kampi Filippiada), total area 60,103.56 ha

– GR2110004: “Amvrakikos Gulf, Kafourko lagoon and Korakonisia”, total area 23,010.75 ha

– GR2310006: “Lakes Voulkaria and Saltini”, total area 3.122,62 ha

– GR2310014: “Voulkaria Lake”, total area 3,272.70 ha

Natural Environment

 

Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park

NATURAL HABITATS

Amvrakikos is one of the most complex wetlands mosaic in Greece. The  Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park includes sixteen natural habitats types, according to the evaluation criteria of Directive 92/43/EEC. Most lagoons are cited in the northern part of the Amvrakikos gulf, formed by the action of the alluvial rivers Arachthos and Louros.

Other impressive natural formations of the area are the barrier-islets, that have been created among the lagoons of the Amvrakikos gulf. The lagoon Saltini and Voulkaria Lake have a significant role, as they are spread boundaries of the protected species Carexacuta (Carexpanormitana Guss).

The largest pure reed bed of the Balkans, Rodia, along with the salt water marshes of Arachthos and the fresh water marshes of Louros, are some of the major and most important habitat types.

 

FLORA

A great variety of vegetation can be found, across the hills of the extended region (Mavrovouni, Salaora, Prophet Elias, Saint Ekaterini), that consists of thermophilic deciduous species of oak, such as downy oak (Quercus pubescens), broadleaved oak (Quercus frainetto), holm oak (Quercus coccifera), wild olive (Olea oleaster), ostrya (Ostrya caprinifolia), Asfaka (Flomis fruticosa) and Paliouri (Paliurus spina cristi).

Finally, one of the last remaining riparian forests of our country, called Saint Varnavas, is preserved near the village Louros. It is composed of clusters of Nerofraxon (Fraxinus angustifolia) and other hydrophilic broadleaf species.

 

FAUNA

AVIFAUNA

The wide area of Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park is well-known for its outstanding importance for birdlife. It is the main hub in a migratory path of many species. About 300 species can be observed in the area of the National Park. Six of them are significant for the region. These are:

Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus) one of the heaviest birds they can fly. It creates its nests inside the lagoons, on isolated and well-protected natural islands.

The (Eurasian) bittern (Botaurus stellaris) is acryptic species, which lives among the reeds with perfect cover-up. It nourishes legends and fairytales, and it’s called the “beast of the Swamp”. His call is a low frequency sound, which can be heard over long distances and sounds like a ship horn. Two eagles, alternate visitors of the region; the Spotted eagle (Aquila clanga) and the Lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina). A rare species of duck, the Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) live within the area of Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park. It is a species with hig hecological requirements in specific habitat and sensitive to disturbance. Few species are hosted and breed mainly in the reeds of Rodia. The reed bed Rodia is the largest purereed bed in Greece and it’s an important habitat for several species, especially birds. Finally, the Pygmy Cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus) which is a small piscivorous bird. Many people still confuse it with cormorants, but it is smaller in size and has a finer silhouette. Furthermore, a great variety of birds can be found such as Grey Herons, egrets, squacco herons, night herons, spoonbills, glossy ibis, black-winged stilts, grebes, coots and many other species depending on the type of wetland.

FISH FAUNA

About 85 fish species have been recorded in Amvrakikos waters as well as in the coastal lagoons, most of which are considerable fisheries resource. A lot of young fish feed and grow in the eutrophic waters of the lagoons, where they find ideal conditions for their growth. Because of the gulf’s great productivity in fish, a lot of locals are fishermen. Sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), sea bream (Sparus auratus), common sole (Solea vulgaris), ells (Anguilla Anguilla), mullet (Mugil cephalus) etc. are fished in the Amvrakikos and the nearby lagoons. Bortargo, best known as caviar, comes from the female mullet, which the local fishermen call bafa. Amvrakikos gulf is also known for its sardine (Sardina pilchardus), but also for its shrimp, the famous «gabari» (Melikertus kerathurus) which is a traditional product with high market value. An endangered species that visits the area is the sea turtle (Caretta caretta), which is under protection. The wider area of Amvrakikos gulf is an important nutritional place for the turtles. All year round one can find hundreds of young and adult turtles, which feed and breed here, but build their nests in other Mediterranean areas.

The most typical sea mammal of the gulf is the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). There are about 150 such dolphins in groups of 20-30 individuals. What is special about them is that they live in Amvrakikos all year long, without coming in contact with the population of the Ionian Sea and that is why they have a unique behavior and ecology.

 

 

ACHERON STRAITS- ESTUARIES

NATURAL HABITATS

MAES ecosystems types Habitat type codes of the Natura 2000 network found in the above areas
Major ecosystem category Ecosystem type for mapping and assessment
Terrestrial Urban 1011 Villages and settlements

1024, 1025 Country roads

Cropland 1021 Human-affected communities: rich in annual herbaceous species of Stellarietea mediae and arid, rich in perennial and thorny species of Artemisetea vulgaris

1050 Non irrigable-arable land

1056 Permanently irrigated land

1057 Permanently irrigated mixed land

1066 Fruit trees & mixed plantations

1068 Pure olive groves

Grassland
Forest and woodlands 9340 Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests

9350 Quercus macrolepis forests

92A0 Salix alba και Populus alba galleries

92C0 Platanus orientalis και Liquidambar orientalis (Platanion orientalis) forests

92D0 Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea and Securinegion tinctoriae)

9540 Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines 

Heathland and shrub 1420 Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs (Sarcocornetea fruticosi)

2250* Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp

5210 Arborescent matorral with Juniperus spp
5340 Garrigues of Eastern Mediterranean

Sparsely vegetated land 1210 Annual vegetation of drift lines

1240 Vegetated Sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp

1410 Mediterranean salt meadows (Juncetalia maritimi)

2110 Embryonic shifting dunes

2220 Dunes with Euphorbia terracina

8210 Calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation

Wetlands 7210* Calcareous fens with Cladium mariscus and species of the Caricion davallianae

72A0 Reeds

Freshwater River and lakes 3150 Natural eutrophic lakes with Magnopotamion or Hydrocharition -type vegetation
Marine Marine inlets and transitional waters 1110 Sandbanks which are slightly covered by sea water all the time

1120* Posidonia beds (Posidonion oceanicae)

1160 Large shallow inlets and bays

1170 Reefs

1310 Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand

Coastal 1130 Estuaries

1150*Coastal lagoons

*: priority habitats

 

FLORA

The plant communities that exist in the vegetation complex of the Acheron Delta and the wider hilly area belong to the following types: Sand-friendly vegetation, saline, freshwater and brackish swamps vegetation, aquatic vegetation, riparian forests, deciduous oak forests ssp. macrolepis, and shrubs.

The area of Acheron Straits is located at a higher altitude in relation to the coastal wetland of the Acheron delta where evergreen sclerophillous shrubs (maquis shrubland) with kermes oak shrublands (Quercus coccifera), Phillyrea latifolra, etc. are found, also occurrences of deciduous trees such as Quercus frainetto, Quercus pubescens and Quercus ilex in more humid zones with clusters of excellent structure. A very characteristic aspect of the protected site is the chasmophytic vegetation that grows on the limestone rocks (eg Campanula versicolor, Scabiosa epirota, Moltkia petraea).

The well-structured riparian vegetation consists of the following dominant species: Platanus orientalis, Salix alba and Alnus glutinosa. It should be noted that the species Platanus orientalis is highly threatened by the introduction of the pathogen Ceratocystis fimbriata f.sp. platani, which has affected a large number of trees especially near the settlement of Glyki. At the highest altitudes of the area, we observe the appearance of large clusters of deciduous oaks (91M0 and 9350 habitat types).

Other plant species are Scabiosa epirota which is a Balkan endemic distributed in Greece and Albania and belongs to category R of the IUCN Red Data Book (R: rare), Cotula coronopifolia is a xerophyte plant species with a very limited appearance that is today known in Greece only from western Central Greece to the coastal area of Strofilia (NW coast of the Peloponnese) and Lippia nodiflora which is a species with a very limited range in Greece and rare in this location.

 

FAUNA

The Acheron Delta is a heterogeneous wetland with little spatial variation, which is a particularly suitable habitat for many species of vertebrates (especially birds, amphibians and mammals). The Mediterranean water shrew (Neomys anomalus), is of great importance for the area as it is included in the Greek Red Book, as almost endangered (NT). Another mammal of the mountain area is the wolf, recorded as a Vulnerable species according to the Greek Red Book, but in limited numbers.

The following species are protected by Greek law (Presidential Decree 67/1981): the anura amphibians B. bufo, B. viridis, Hyla arborea, lizards and snakes Lacerta trilineata, Anguis fragilis, Malpolon insignitus, N. natrix, N. tessellata, the mammals Crocidura suaveolens, Neomys anomalus, the Beech Marten (Martes foina) and the Least weasel (Mustela nivalis). Also, the aquatic invertebrate Agabus bipustulatus is under protection.

AVIFAUNA

However, the special features given by the natural landscape are of high ecological importance for the bird fauna as well. Dozens of migratory predatory species rest on the steep slopes of the straits, including the Greater Spotted Eagle (Clanga clanga), an endangered species at European level and vulnerable worldwide, according to the IUCN, while in the formed swamps of Ammoudia and Keretza herons, anseriformes and wading birds find food and shelter (roosting site). Also,

FISH FAUNA

Also noteworthy is the fish fauna of the area with the critically endangered and rare species Valencia letourneuxi (Corfu toothcarp), the near endangered Pelasgus thesproticus (Thesprotian minnow) and the endemic Acheron spring goby (Knipowitschia milleri) at risk according to the IUCN, in need of immediate protection and efficient management.

Other species of fish fauna are: The Mediterranean Banded Killifish (Aphanius fasciatus), the Epiros riffle dace (Telestes pleurobipunctatus), the Mediterranean prickly (Gasterosteus gymnurus) and the European carp (Cyprinus carpio) a Vulnerable (VU) fish according to the IUCN.

In Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EU and in annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC are referred some mammals from the area of Parga to Cape Agios Thomas, such as the otter (Lutra lutra) in the river section, a near endangered species (NT) according to the IUCN, the wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the Common Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), marine species, a Vulnerable (VU) one according to the Greek Red Book. The Common Bottlenose Dolphin is listed in Annex II to Directive 92/43/EEC and is protected by the Berne Convention and CITES, as well as by Greek Presidential Decree 67/1981. Also interesting is the presence of the fish Syngnatus abaster (Black-striped pipefish) which is included in the lists of the Berne Convention.

Also important is the presence of small populations of the largest bivalve in the Mediterranean, Pinna nobilis, a critically endangered species (CR) according to the IUCN but also classified as Vulnerable according to the Greek Red Book, a species which is unfortunately on the verge of extinction.

 

GEOLOGY

The Acheron Strait area is located at a higher altitude compared to the coastal wetland of the Acheron Delta and the geological formations are limestones of various types, with crystalline dolomites predominating. Viglas limestones, white solid limestones, sublittoral limestones, etc. but also flysch zones are also present. The Acheron Delta belongs to the lobular morphodynamic delta type and is considered to be a tectonic basin with an extensive layer of alluvial deposits carried by the Acheron River. These are alluvial deposits that come mainly from hard limestones and dolomites. The entire extent of the estuary is flat or with a very low slope.

 

CLIMATE

In the area of the Straits of Acheron the climate is relatively harsh, with abundant rainfall, a wide range of temperatures in winter and cool summer. In the lowlands, in the Acheron Delta region, the climate is more Mediterranean with mild winters, following by a relatively small annual temperature range with abundant rainfall and hot summers.

Dalmatian pelican (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
Dalmatian pelican (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
CARETTA CARETTA
CARETTA CARETTA
Little egret (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)
Little egret (Credit: Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Areas)

Actions

 

Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park

SUBMISSION – IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMS

Projects implemented are the following:

-ProAct Natura2000, INTERREG Greece-Italy 2007-13

-Identification, consequences and management of the anoxic zone of Amvrakikos gulf (NW Greece), Financial mechanism 2009-14 of European Economic Area (EEA)

-Tune Up, Interreg Med 2014-20

-Subsidy of the Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Area for management actions of protected areas, species and habitats, Operational Program Transport Infrastructure, Environment and Sustainable Development 2014-20

-Smart digital applications and tools for promoting effectively the biodiversity of the Ionian Islands, Operational Program of Ionian Islands 2014-20

-Management of human activities, compatible with the protection and promotion of species and habitats in the wider sea area of Lefkada, Operational Program of Ionian Islands 2014-20

-Operation of an Environmental Interpretation and Interactive Digital Information Center, Operational Program of Epirus 2014-20

-Life Transfer, “Seagrass transplantation for transitional Ecosystem Recovery”, 2020-2025

-Investments for the Protection of Nationally Protected Areas covered by the ADP of the Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf, Operational Program “Western Greece 2014-2020”

 

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING

The aim of the environmental monitoring carried out by the staff of the Management Unit is the assessment of the state of the natural environment in the area of its responsibility and the optimal planning of the management measures of the area. The Management Unit is actively involved in actions for the monitoring of the Dalmatian Pelicans, the Herons, the Cormorants and the White Stork. It also systematically monitors priority habitats. Monitoring is based on random sampling. Time (season) and sampling/monitoring conditions differ in each habitat type. Therefore, the critical period for the monitoring of the habitat types that exist in the Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park is the flowering season, important for the identification and registration, for most species, which we should monitor. The summer months are also important, due to the fact that coastal and halophytic habitat types are monitored when the aquifer is at its lowest level and we can have access to sampling areas covered with water. In the saline soils of the region there are halophytes (plants with special adaptations to saline soils) such as Salicornia europaea, Arthrocnemum fruticosum, Jungus acutus. We also find nitrophilic vegetation, such as Cakile maritime and sand-loving vegetation such as Euphorbia paralias.

 

OPINION/SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

The responsibilities of the Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Area include the provision of opinions on projects and activities carried out within its area of responsibility.

 

PUBLIC INFORMATION-AWARENESS

Within the protected are of the Park, residents develop numerous productive activities (livestock, agriculture, fishery, arboriculture, industrial production, tourism services), which should be consistent with the protection of nature and landscape.

Consequently, the action of information-awareness is necessary for the residents and visitors of the protected area, in order to become familiar with the regulations and conditions which govern them and to establish moral values and concepts that are harmonized with the natural environment.

In this context, awareness programs are implemented in the protected area, as well as themed events and workshops, which are targeted to specific audiences. The aim is for the new generation to be environmentally educated through audio visual material, volunteer cleanups, tree planting, bicycle races, bird watching, which are aimed for the students to experience the rich flora and fauna of the National Park and pass on values that will lead to new perceptions and attitudes.

 

SUPERVISION / GUARDING

The Management Unit of Acheloos Valley and Amvrakikos Gulf Protected Area assists the competent services in the control and observance of the current legislation for the protection of the Natural Environment. The large human presence and the diversity of activities carried out in the protected area, makes it imperative to have a mechanism for monitoring and recording any activity that degrades the ecosystem. Nevertheless, the human presence and the diversity of activities which are carried out in the protected area require the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring and recording every activity that degrades the ecosystem.

Using this approach, there are 8 supervisors – guards, who are responsible to monitor illegal activities, that may harm the local ecosystem (poaching, illegal construction projects – road construction, waste deposition and disposal of debris, illegal logging, overgrazing, etc.). This effort focuses on prevention and dissuasion of any event, that could lead to the degradation of the natural environment. In some cases the presence of guards is sufficient to prevent any illegal action but in other cases, the information of the local authorities (Police, Coast Guard, Forest Service, and other relevant departments) is necessary.

 

Acheron Straits- Estuaries

SUBMISSION – IMPLEMENTATION OF PROGRAMS

The Act “Actions for the management and promotion of the protected areas of Acheron and Kalamas” (MIS 5026224), with a total budget of €75,280.00, has been included in the Operational Program “Ipeiros 2014-2020”.

 

OPINION/SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

The Management Unit issues its opinion on projects and activities that fall within the protected area, regardless of whether they are subject to an environmental licensing process as well as on projects and activities whose effects directly or indirectly affect the protected object. In addition, it issues its opinion on any other matter on which the competent authorities seek it.

 

PUBLIC INFORMATION-AWARENESS

In the context of informing – awareness raising of the population, individual activities are implemented, as follows:

  1. Operation of the Acheron Information Center in Ammoudia (PA of Acheron Delta) on a daily basis at 9:00 am – 14:00 pm, while on Saturday and Sunday by appointment.

Guests have the opportunity to:

– Be informed in the specially designed exhibition rooms, about the role and responsibilities of the MBPAKAC, the rich biodiversity of the protected areas, as well as about its protection status

– Attend thematic presentations, with an emphasis on rare and endangered species of flora, fauna and habitat types

– Participate in educational activities aimed at getting to know nature and observing the rich birdlife of the area

  1. Organization of visits to schools in collaboration with the Directorate of Primary Education of Preveza Prefecture
  2. Organization of annual events to highlight World Days (Migratory Birds, Environment Day, etc.), the Pan-European Bird Festival, the arrival of swallows festival, voluntary cleaning actions (eg Let’s do it Greece)
  3. Participation and organization of information events (workshops, conferences) and/or training and educational programs
  4. Production of informative material in printed and electronic form (4-monthly magazine “Platalea”, three-leaflet brochures concerning the areas of responsibility, the competences of the Body and local products of the areas and printed issues containing information about the areas of the Straits and Estuaries of the Rivers Acheron and Kalamas)
  5. Maintenance of an archive containing digital material (videos and photos)

 

COLLABORATIONS

The Management Unit develops collaborations, as the case may be, with research centers, Universities, non-governmental organizations, local government organizations, local bodies, etc., as well as with the respective co-competent services, both at local and central level, for the needs of effective management of the protected areas.

 

SUPERVISION / GUARDING

The surveillance – guarding of the protected area is done according to the Guarding Plan.During surveillance, the patrol routes concerning the area are followed as recorded in detail, in the Guarding Plan. The plan also includes the distribution of guard shifts per area, as well as the criteria taken into account in order to achieve the best terms of guarding possible for the protected area, for the existing facilities (human resources and material and technical infrastructure).

The scheduling is organized on a weekly basis, intensifying guarding in each area during the period when it receives more intense pressures (e.g. hunting season, summer with intense tourist activity, firefighting, etc.) with the possibility of adjustments in each emergency case. The guarding schedule, protocols and movement notes are all contained in the Guarding Plan.

Whenever deemed necessary, we cooperate with co-competent bodies, such as the Forest Service, the Police, the Coast Guard, etc. for the implementation of joint patrols or with mixed units.

Human activities

 

Amvrakikos Wetlands National Park

The main pressures concern the existence of agricultural activities, the construction of hydroelectric dams on the rivers Louros and Arachthos, the land and sea fish farms, the wastewater treatment units, the land reclamation works of the plain of the prefectures of Arta and Preveza and in addition the technical works in the wider area of the port of Preveza.The livestock and agriculture sector is highly developed in the prefectures of Arta and Preveza, since it has been an integral part of the local economy for many years. In particular, the livestock sector is a driving force of the economy throughout the region of Epirus. Most of the pig, poultry and cattle farms are located in the lowland part of the prefectures of Arta and Preveza.Moreover, within the National Park of Wetlands of Amvrakikos, there are tourist enterprises and accommodation that host the visitors of the area.

 

Acheron Straits- Estuaries

RESIDENTIAL – CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT

Both the settlements of Parga and Preveza, as residential centers of greater scope with a possible perspective in the context of tourism development, affect the aforementioned areas.

Acheron is characterized, together with the tributaries of Kokytos and Vouvopotamos, as a Historic Site and Landscape of Particular Natural Beauty (Ministerial Decision no ΥΠΠΕ/ΑΡΧ/Α/Φ31/37633/74/22.12.1976 – GG 7/Β’/13.01.1977). On its shores there are a total of 10 declared archeological sites. It is a place of special historical and cultural value, as it hosts a variety of monuments, most famously related to the worship of Hades, such as the Nekromanteion and the Gates of Hades, but also the recent history of Souli, including Kugi and the Castle of Kiafa, Souliotochoria, Koutseki tou Aga in Koroni. Ancient Elea (Kastri Veliani), the fortified settlement located on the hill “Kastri” (ancient Pandosia) as well as the Mycenaean acropolis of Efyra north of the Nekromanteion are important archaeological sites in the area. Also, there are important monuments of religious interest such as the cross-roofed church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Megali Panagia or Megali Ekklisia), the Monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos Lykourezis in the central area of the Nekromanteio complex, the church of the Assumption of Theotokos Alepochori Mpotsari etc.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES

The activities developed by the Management Unit for the promotion and protection of the environment concern events in the context of world days (for the environment, water, migratory birds, Pan-European Bird Festival, European Car Free Day, etc) as well as voluntary cleaning (Let’s do it Greece).

Similar voluntary actions are developed in the area by associations or groups of citizens (cleaning of areas, recycling events, etc).

Also, in the context of environmental education, the schools of the area implement programs with activities such as voluntary cleaning, educational trips to the natural environment, participation in events organized by the Management Unit etc.

 

ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES

In the area of Acheron Straits, the activities of the primary sector are dominative (agriculture, livestock farming – mainly sheep and goats and less cattle – and to a lesser extent forestry). The main cultivated species are maize, olives and citrus fruits in the wider area of Gliki. In the area of the Acheron Estuaries, in addition to the above, the inhabitants are also engaged in fishing while the crops concern plants such as maize, cotton and alfalfa.

The tourist activity is increasing in recent years, both in Gliki and Vouvopotamos (Acheron Straits), as well as in Ammoudia, in the area of Acheron Estuaries.

 

ACCESS – TOURISM

Egnatia Odos, the port of Igoumenitsa, the Old National Road from Igoumenitsa to Ioannina, the National Road from Igoumenitsa to Preveza as well as the Ionian Road, ensure unimpeded access to the wider area of the Prefecture of Preveza and contribute to attracting visitors and businessmen to develop economic activities.

The Protected Areas can be approached through the asphalt road network of the Prefecture, which connects the settlements to the largest residential centers of the wider geographical and administrative region (Preveza, Parga, Paramythia). In addition, the internal access to the protected areas is facilitated by a network of rural and forest roads that also serves the productive activities of the area.

The coastal settlement of Ammoudia in the area of the Acheron Estuaries has infrastructure such as hotels, rooms to let and restaurants and thus, shows increasing tourist traffic. The area of Acheron Straits, in recent years, is an emerging tourist destination and an important pole of attraction for a large number of visitors (Greeks and foreigners) especially in the summer. In the settlement of Gliki there are rooms for rent, a hotel and restaurants, while relatively recently small businesses of alternative tourism such as horse riding, cycling, rafting, archery etc, have emerged.

The easy access and the rich natural environment in combination with the historical cultural heritage of the area compose a unique destination for the visitor and for the development of the mild forms of ecotourism during all the seasons of the year.

For more information and for the time being, please visit the Management Body’s website :

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