Apavatn and Laugarvatn lakes and their surrounding marshes/mires lie about 20 km east of Lake Thingvallavatn, in the north-west part of the southern lowlands of Iceland. Marshes are dominated by sedges (Carex, Eriophorum). There is a wetland with hot-springs at Hjálmstadaengjar. Holiday-homes are present.
Notable numbers of Bucephala clangula (some tens)and Mergus merganser (18 in 1988, 46 in 1989) also occur in winter. A wide variety of waterbirds breed, including Histrionicus histrionicus, and hundreds of staging Aythya marila, A. fuligula and Mergus serrator use the area on passage.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The area is threatened by drainage, and birds are disturbed by traffic, tourists, owners of holiday-homes, boat-traffic on the lakes, windsurfing on Laugarvatn, and by horses. The area is on the list of sites of conservation interest in the Nature Conservation Register.