A large, shallow tidal lagoon on the north Adriatic coast, fed by six rivers, 30 km in length and about 5 km in width, with six main connections with the open sea and a number of small islands and sandbars along the coast. The area is rich in tidal mudflats, sand-dunes and large reedbeds. The deeper parts of the lagoon are covered by eel-grass Zostera and sea lettuce Ulva; the mudflats have cord-grass Spartina and Ruppia; permanently exposed banks have Salicornia and the dunes are vegetated by grasses (Agropyron, Ammophila), etc. There are fringing stands of Scirpus, Phragmites and Salix around the freshwater channels and rivers which enter the lagoon. The site also includes the final stretch (and mouth of) the Stella river, a lowland woodland, some agricultural areas, and the sea up to 5 m depth. Fishing, fish-farming, hunting, tourism and agriculture are the main uses of the area.
A very important site for waterbirds in winter (more than 100,000) as well as when breeding and on passage, with internationally important numbers of a wide variety of species. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Aythya nyroca (max. 1, winter). A total of 280 species recorded, of which about 100 breed. Winter waterbird counts are from January, from the period 1992-1994 unless otherwise stated.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Grado and Marano lagoon. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/02/2023.