The site is a reservoir created in 1967 by the completion of the Mohamed V dam on the Oued Moulouya in the north-east of the country. Up to 60 m deep, the reservoir is one of the largest freshwater wetlands in Morocco. The site boundaries include the lake and the surrounding hills, which rise to 385 m above sea-level from a water-level at 195 m. Average annual precipitation is 400 mm. The terrestrial vegetation includes steppes of Artemisia inculta and wooded stands of Tamarix, Salix and Eucalyptus.
See Box for key species. The reservoir is often host to nearly 100 Marmaronetta angustirostris and the species appears to both breed and overwinter. Another waterfowl species, Tadorna ferruginea, also breeds (197 adults and young seen on 21 July 1996). A total of almost 50 species are known to breed, many of them waterfowl, 40 overwinter and around 20 have been recorded on passage, including Falco naumanni and Aythya nyroca. Up to 438 Phoenicopterus ruber, 480 Grus grus and 893 Aythya ferina have been seen. In addition, five species of the Mediterranean North Africa biome occur (see Table 2).
Non-bird biodiversity: The endemic fish Alosa alosa (DD) may occur.
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barrage Mohamed V. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/09/2020.