This predominantly saltwater lake lies 18 km from Constanþa; it is separated from the Black Sea by a 200 m sand-spit. The high salt concentrations in the south-eastern part of the lake prevent it from freezing during winter. Narrow reedbeds (Phragmites) are found in the western part of the lake. Surrounding slopes support fragmented steppic vegetation and arable land.
This is a very important site for wintering and passage waterbirdssometimes holding more than 20,000 wintering individuals. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Anser erythropus (2-10 wintering birds) and Circus macrourus (passage).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threat is posed by decreasing salt-levels in the lake due to the irrigation of surrounding agricultural land and inflow from freshwater springs. In the western third of the lake two dams have been built to prevent the invasion of freshwater. Ducks and geese are hunted in winter.