Collective decisions on the management of Prespa’s wetlands
26 Feb 2021
On 26th February the annual Wetland Management Committee (WMC) meeting was held; the WMC is an advisory committee which functions under the Management Body for the Prespa National Park (MBPNP). At this year’s meeting, the 14th such event, subjects such as wetland vegetation management, the fluctuation of the water level in Lesser Prespa Lake and developments in the waterbird populations were discussed, as well as other issues related to fisheries, such as the dates of the closed season for 2021.
The results of wetland management were presented, showing the positive impact and effectiveness of the co-operation between local organisations and the LIFE Prespa Waterbirds project, which apply measures such as mowing and grazing together. The operation of the firebreak zones as a means to stop wildfires in the reedbed was also stressed, as well as the fact that they have also operated as feeding grounds for waterbirds in a dry year with limited flooding of wet meadows along the lakeshore. At the same time, the problems that the extended drought and low lake water levels have created for bird species were also highlighted, with the fragmentation of colonies in the reedbeds of Lesser Prespa and the low breeding success being amongst the most important.
The vegetation management proposals for 2021 follow the general line of practices in previous years, including extensive mowing, enhancing grazing and maintaining the firebreak zones. Also, due to the negative impacts of the drought in the last two years, further measures were proposed, such as the extension of the exclusion zone in order to preserve the reedbeds around new waterbird colonies, as well as the evaluation of the management of the water level of Lesser Prespa Lake to date. This assessment aims to examine the possibility of reviewing the management guidelines, based on the impacts that prolonged droughts can have on the human and natural environment of the protected area.
Moreover, it was proposed to incorporate the results of management in recent years in the revised management plan for the MBPNP, which has already been assigned by the environment ministry and which is expected to be completed in the near future.
This meeting was particularly important, as the management measures planned for 2021 were presented and approved unanimously, confirming the catalytic role of the WMC in the decision-making process of for the management of wetlands in Lesser Prespa.