After a very long, difficult gestation, a new law has been born! On 4 July 2011 the Romanian President confirmed a new law for the protection and management of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.
This announcement follows a long campaign, started in 2007, by the Romanian Ornithological Society (SOR – BirdLife Romania), Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration (DDBRA), together with many other nature organisations.
The original law governing the Delta did not conform with European Union (EU) nature legislation, which all Romanian law should have complied with since Romania’s accession to the EU in 2007.
The new law imposes strict protection on 18 areas within the Biosphere Reserve, where the only permitted activities will be for research, education and eco-tourism, governed by a management plan. The management plan will aim to achieve favourable conservation status for all the species for which the site is designated, quantified through ‘Favourable Reference Values’. The management plan will have primacy over other development plans in the region, and eventually they will have to be harmonised.
Also under the law, the DDBRA will sustainably manage the fish resource within the reserve and facilitate the ecological restoration of around 60,000 ha of unused agricultural polders and fishponds.
Marina Cazacu, SOR’s Danube Delta Casework Officer said ‘We’re delighted that at last we have a fit-for-purpose law governing the EU’s largest wetland. We look forward to working with the Delta administration to implement the management plan that will protect, manage and restore this fantastic place.’
The Danube Delta is the second largest delta in Europe, and one of its most important wetlands. It hosts 320 bird species and 30 different ecosystems. It is designated as a Special Protection Area and Site of Community Importance under the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.