Meriç Delta

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
The delta is situated on the Turkish-Greek border where the Meriç river flows into the Aegean Sea (adjacent to Greek site 006). The IBA comprises a complex of freshwater lakes, extensive reedbeds (Phragmites), lagoons and 3,400 ha of former flood-plain that has largely been converted to farmland. The lakes and marshes are surrounded by irrigated rice-fields. Sheep- and cattle-grazing is widespread.

Key biodiversity
An important site for both breeding and wintering waterbirds. Large numbers of Pelecanus onocrotalus roost on the lakes during migration.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
A large-scale DSÝ irrigation and flood-control initiative (the Lower Ýpsala Project) includes provisions to prevent pollution and further loss of wetland habitats in the area. The Meriç river is heavily polluted by industrial waste, untreated sewage and agricultural run-off. Lake water is used for irrigation during periods of drought, leading to drops in water-levels, seawater incursion and mass fish-kills. In recent years the fishing industry in the lakes and lagoons has collapsed, with pollution, over-fishing, changes in water regime, and silting-up of the river mouth quoted as the main causal factors.

Protected areas
National High International None2,369 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Meriç/Evros deltasý, 2,369 ha). 7,000 ha of IBA covered by SÝT (Meriç Deltasý, 7,000 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Meriç Delta. Downloaded from on 02/04/2020.