In November 2009 I made a promise that we would update you on the campaign mounted by the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR – BirdLife Romania) to establish proper protection for the world-famous Danube Delta.  The news, then, was that the Romanian parliament had chucked out a draft law that would have put in place just such protection.

The Danube Delta - a magical and special place. Photo by Daniel Petrescu

So I'm delighted to bring you the news from SOR’s Marina Cazacu that, at last, after nearly five years of campaigning, the Romanian president has just announced the adoption of a new law!

This law brings the protection of the Delta in line with European Union (EU) legislation.  It gives strict protection to 18 areas within the Biosphere Reserve where the only permitted activities will be research, education and eco-tourism.  It also requires the adoption of a management plan to ensure that the species that the site is designated for achieve or remain at ‘favourable conservation status’. 

The dry legalese of the formal protection scarcely gives an indication of the richness of the Delta.  It is one of the EU’s most important wetlands.  It hosts 320 bird species, 30 different ecosystems, and over 5000 species of flora and fauna.  It is designated as a Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance under the European Birds and Habitats Directives, and is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

And the wildlife – Imperial eagles, Dalmatian pelicans and great snipe; red-breasted geese, pallid harriers and European rollers, a stellar line up indeed!

The Delta administration now has powers to regulate fish stocks sustainably, and the law gives them a remit to facilitate the restoration of 60,000 ha of unused agricultural polders and fishponds.

Marina says ‘Its really exciting that we have at last got a fit-for-purpose law to protect and manage this fantastic site of world importance.  It took a lot of perseverance and false-starts, but now we’re really looking forward to working with the Delta administration to make sure that this magical wetland is managed properly and restored for future generations.’

The RSPB has been supporting the work of SOR - and we're delighted that this is the outcome of a long campaign.

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