The most extensive wetland in Europe after the Volga delta, comprising three arms of the Danube (Chilia, Sulina and Sf. Gheorghe) interspersed with marine and river sandbanks, fields, marshes, lakes and canals. Reedbeds (Phragmites) cover large areas (totalling 160,000 ha), and include a type of floating reed habitat known as `plauri'. Two forests, Letea and Caraorman, cover 22,700 ha, and Salix is widespread. Also present are sand-dunes and beaches, wet and dry grassland, salt vegetation (in the south), agricultural lands (some abandoned), fish-ponds and human settlements. The Razim-Sinoe lagoon complex is situated to the south of the delta. Formally brackish, the lagoons have become fresh following the closure of the link to the sea. Reed-harvesting takes place (`Other' land-use).
This is one of Europe's most important sites for breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds, particularly wintering Anatidae. It is also an important site for breeding and passage raptors and passerines. The site regularly holds more than 20,000 waterbirds breeding, on passage and in winter. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Anser erythropus (wintering), Haliaeetus albicilla (breeding), Falco naumanni (passage), Gallinago media (passage) and Acrocephalus paludicola (passage).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are from drainage, canalization and dredging, wetland infilling and pollution (`Other' threat). Additional threats include overfishing, disturbance from boat traffic, reedbed fires, grazing and other agricultural practices. Hunting is permitted in several areas, including buffer zones. The Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Authority (DDBRA) is responsible for conservation and protection projects, and the Danube Delta Institute undertakes research and management work. The DDBRA management plan covers biodiversity conservation, bird monitoring and public awareness. The recent restoration of 3,680 ha of former agricultural land has been successfully completed.
National High International HighIBA overlaps with 16 strictly protected (or core) areas (totalling 50,600 ha). 442,000 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Danube Delta, 580,000 ha). IBA overlaps with Ramsar Site (Danube Delta). IBA overlaps with World Heritage Site (Danube Delta).