The unique ecosystems of the Danube Delta, consisting of a labyrinthine network of river channels, shallow bays and hundreds of lakes, interspersed with extensive marshes, reed-beds, islands and floodplains, form a valuable natural buffer zone, filtering out pollutants from the River Danube, and helping to improve water quality in the vulnerable waters of the north-western Black Sea.
Ecological changes in the Delta itself, including the creation of a network of canals through the delta to improve access and water circulation, and the reduction of the wetland area by the construction of agricultural polders and fishponds have reduced biodiversity, altered natural flow and sedimentation patterns, and diminished the ability of the delta to retain nutrients. This is because more of the nutrient-rich water are now washed directly through the main canals rather than being distributed through the wetlands and reed beds.
Did you know?
- Most of the delta lies within Romania, but some of its northern fringes, and most recently formed areas are in Ukraine.
- A total area of 679,000 ha of the delta is under legal protection including floodplains and marine areas. The core of the reserve (312,400 ha) was designated as a “World Natural Heritage Site” in 1991.
- Up to 75 different species of fish can be found in the delta, while several globally threatened bird species, including the red-breasted goose, the Dalmatian pelican and the pygmy cormorant, either breed or winter in the delta.
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