About Project

TITLE: "Bird conservation in Lesser Prespa: benefiting local communities and building a climate change resilient ecosystem"

SHORT TITLE: LIFE Prespa Waterbirds - LIFE15 NAT/GR/000936

The aim of the project is to contribute to the conservation of nine rare water bird species which live in Lake of Lesser Prespa. The means through which this will be achieved will create benefits to the local community as well. The critical issue of climate change will be taken into consideration with the intention of the immediate adaptation of conservation activities in a way to account for their probable future effects.

Up to 500 acres of reeds are foreseen to be cut every year. Furthermore, the reeds that grow in certain drainage ditches will also be cut and two stream mouths of rivers will be cleaned (opened up) from the present thick vegetation, providing this way an easier passage for fish which would result in increased spawning locations and thus yielding additional feeding areas for the water birds. Research will be conducted on how to best utilize the cut reeds to strengthen the local economy.

The project, includes a study which will evaluate the impact of climate change not only on the lakes, but also on the local production and economy. This will allow for optimal design for the development of the area in the future. 

Likewise, the project comprises of informative activities which will help in supplying the local community with timely and up to date material in case of an avian flu outbreak amongst pelicans or other water birds.
Of course, due of the fact that the lakes are shared by three countries, the project foresees an enhancement in the transboundary cooperation, with several other institutions in Albania and FYROM on all the above issues.

Lastly, a number of informative, awareness, educational and networking activities have been scheduled, all of which will contribute both in the update of the wider audience as much in the active participation of the local community in the management of this valuable ecosystem. 

The expected results of the project are connected to the more specific aims; which are:

1. Increase and improvement of the feeding areas for the waterbirds
2. Increase of the number of fish through the creation of new spawning areas and improvement of the conditions in the ones that already exist
3. Elimination of wildfires in the reedbed. Increase of the knowledge and inform the local community about how to respond to disease outbreaks incidents in pelicans. 
4. Benefit local community by providing reed biomass for the improvement of agricultural fields
5. Enhance transboundary collaboration on wetland management and protection
6. Improvement of the knowledge of the academic community and to stakeholders, through the projection of the practices and the results of the project. 
7. Increase local community’s environmental awareness

DURATION: 1 October 2016 – 30 September 2021 (5 years)

FUNDING: ΤThe project is 60% co-funded by the Directorate of the Environment (LIFE) of the European Commission.

TOTAL AMOUNT: 1,768,906 Euro

CO-FINANCING FROM THE EU: 1,060,431 Euro

CO-ORDINATING BENEFICIARY: Society for the Protection of Prespa

PARTNER: Natonal Observatory of Athens / Fondation Tour du Valat

PROJECT AREA: Prespa Basin, Western Macedonia, Greece