The IBA is situated on the northern mountainside of the Turkestan range. Daganasay and Kattasay Reservoirs are located on the same altitude 50-60 km from each other.
Daganasay Reservoir is situated in Cagdiyskiy region 9 km to the south of the district centre, Gonchi. The Dagana river and Mangytsay and Koganisay tributaries flow into it. The total volume of the reservoir is 42 million m3. The maximum area is 280 hectares, depth – 18m. Towards the end of the irrigation season its area reduces to 35-40 hectares and the depth to 3 m. The reservoir is oligotrophic. The soil of the bottom is formed as a result of the accumulation of alluvial silt. 132 species of algae are known.
Migrating waterbirds use the site from October and Anseriformes, Charadriformes and Falconiformes winter.
Kattasay Reservoir is situated at the foot of the northern mountainside of the Turkestan range. When full its area is 2.9 km2 and the volume is 55 million m3. The depth near the dam is 45-48m, when the water level is low this falls to 18m. This reservoir is situated in the Istravshanskaya depression at an altitude of 1,165 m above sea level. The main source of water is the small river Kattasay which rises in the Turkestan range. This waterbody is oligotrophic. An abundance of spring rains with mudflows is typical for this area. This area has a damp climate, warm summers and mild winter. The average annual temperature is not more than 11oC. Precipitation reaches 400 mm a year. Soils are typically sierozems.
Daganasay and Kattasay Reservoirs are located on a flyway of birds which use the reservoirs for resting and feeding during spring and autumn. The ecological conditions (absence of disturbance, plenty of food, mild climate) attract waterfowl, sandpipers, waders, herons and allies for wintering.
The avifauna of the region includes species typical for the semi-desert, foothills and low-mountains zones of the Turkestan range.
Breeding birds: 52 species nest in the IBA. Typical species include Circus aeruginosus, Buteo rufinus, Hieraaetus pennatus, Falco tinnunculus, Falco subbuteo, Alectoris chukar, Coturnix coturnix, Gallinula chloropus, Fulica atra, Charadrius dubius, Tringa hypoleucos, Sterna hirundo, Columba livia, Streptopelia decaocto, Streptopelia turtur, Streptopelia senegalensis, Cuculus canorus, Otus scops, Bubo bubo, Athene noctua, Caprimulgus europaeus, Apus apus, Alcedo atthis, Upupa epops, Dendrocopos leucopterus, Galerida cristata, Alauda arvensis, Riparia rupestris, Hirundo rustica, Hirundo daurica, Anthus campestris, Motacilla cinerea, Motacilla alba, Cinclus cinclus, Luscinia megarhynchos, Luscinia svecica, Phoenicurus caeruleocephalus, Phoenicurus ochruros, Saxicola torquata, Oenanthe isabellina, Oenanthe pleschanka, Turdus merula, Myophonus caeruleus, Acrocephalus arundinaceus, Hippolais rama, Sylvia curruca, Sylvia communis, Tersiphone paradisi, Parus bokharensis, Lanius schach, Pica pica, Passer indicus, Passer hispaniolensis, Passer montanus, Caprodacus rhodochlamys, Emberiza cia and Emberiza bruniceps.
Migrants. 70-80 species pass through Kattasay and Daganasay Reservoirs, crossing the area on a wide front.
Wintering birds: Typical wintering species include Tachybaptus ruficollis, Podiceps cristatus, Phalacrocorax carbo, Phalacrocorax pygmaeus, Egretta alba, Tadorna ferruginea, Anas strepera, Anas platyrhynchos, Anas querquedula, Mergus merganser, Fulica atra, Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Accipiter nisus, Falco columbarius, Falco cherrug, appearing from the middle of October. Numerous wintering species are: Turdus atrogularis, Corvus monedula, Corvus frugilegus, Corvus corone, Corvus corax and Sturnus vulgaris. 1,500-2,000 waterfowl regularly winter on the IBA.
There are 8 globally threatened species of birds recorded from the site: Haliaeetus leucoryphus, Aegypius monachus, Circus macrourus, Aquila heliaca, Falco vespertinus, Falco naumannii, Falco cherrug and Coracias garrulus.
Non-bird biodiversity: Amphibia are Ranа ridibunda and Bufo viridis.
Reptilia: there are Testudo horsfieldi, Gymnodactylus fedtschenkovi, Agama lehmanni, Varanus griseus, Ophisaurus apodus, Ablepharus alaicus, Ablepharus deserti, Eremias velox, Eremias regeli, Lacerta strigata, Typhlops vermicularis and Eryx tataricus in the semi-desert zone of the foothills of the Turkestan range. Natrix tesselata, Coluber rhodorhachis, Coluber ravergieri, Naja oxiana and Vipera lebetina can be found in water-logged ground or near waterbodies. 21 of 44 species of Reptilia are included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.
Mammals: Sorex bucharensis, Rhinolophus bocharicus, Myotis mystacinus, Myotis frater, Barbastella leucomelas, Pipistrellus pipistrellus, Hystrix leucura, Dryomys nitedula, Apodemus sylvaticus, Mus musculus, Rattus turkestanicus, Ellobius talpinus, Canis lupus, Vulpes vulpes, Ursus arctos, Martes foina, Mustela erminea, Mustela nivalis, Meles meles and Felis lynx. 42 of 84 species of mammals are included in the Red Data Book of Tajikistan.
Semidesert vegetation consists of dwarf bushes: Rоsa maracandica, Rosa beggeriana, species of Ephedra, Lanicera nummulariifolia, Cotoneaster nummularius, Cerasus verrucosa and Amygdalus bucharica. There are permanent and annual grasses: Poa bulbosa, Carex pachystylis, Taeniatherum crinitum and others.
Habitat and land use
The IBA belongs to the state and is used as summer pastures. During the last 8-10 years, livestock numbers have increased noticeably.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Over-grazing has negatively affected the semi-desert vegetation and breeding, migrating and wintering birds.
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
The scientific background for the creation of the Shahristan nature reserve, elaborated in 2004, was for the conservation of the complex of unique Juniperus forests on the northern mountainside of the Turkestan range. The Government of the Republic of Tajikistan supported this proposal and enacted a decree about the creation of the nature reserve in 2005. Organizational issues have now been resolved and Shahristan nature reserve will start to function in the near future.