last update: 6/12/2016

EXISTING STATUS & PROTECTION NECESSITY

Existing status & protection necessity of Limnothalassa Epanomi and its wider coastal-marine area

Over last decades, following increased coastal urbanisation and industrialisation, many coastal habitat types have disappeared or have been altered. Current main threats to the habitat are related to: water and sediment enrichment (eutrophication), the disruption of the sedimentation/erosion balance along the coast and direct destruction by human modifications of the coastline, degradation by boat trawling and anchoring, etc. The disappearance or even the degradation of the habitat types influences not only the characteristic plant species of the habitat, but the entire associated flora an fauna (birds, fishes, amphibians, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates).

In Epanomi lagoon and its wider coastal-marine area, human impacts/activities that consist conservation/biodiversity problems and threats for the species and habitat types directly targeted by the project and protected by national and European low, include cultivation (as well as modification of cultivation practices), grazing, aquacultures, professional fishing (fixed location fishing), hunting, dispersed and other patterns of human habitation, discharges, communication networks, leisure and tourism infrastructure, water pollution, drainage etc.

The major conservation / biodiversity problems and threats for this protected area, the habitats and the species, are:

Degradation of marine habitats, especially of Poseidonia beds (1120*). In particular, Posidonia meadows (1120*), are affected by above-mentioned pressures, both directly through physical damages to the meadows and indirectly through the impact of water quality and sediment dynamics. Due to these impacts, P. oceanica meadows have shown an alarming decline in many areas of the Mediterranean Sea. The main threats are: Fish and shell farming, trawl fishing and uncontrolled anchorage on sea grass beds, cause irreversible damage to these habitats, Coastal works, water contamination and/or erosion reduce water clarity and consequently lead to the decrease of Posidonia meadows and Introduction of exotic species.

Degradation of Epanomi Lagoon’s functions. The most common problems that Epanomi lagoon is facing are hydrological. In particular, the drainage / canalisation works conducted through the years in the greater area has altered dramatically the hydrological regime. That lead to the spatial and temporal confinement of the hydroperiod and consequently to the modification of the wetland habitats structure and composition. In addition, the existence of the drainage canals induced the alteration of ground water circulation resulting to the salinisation of the wetland

Pollution. Water discharges and litter in addition to other human activities (cultivation, aquacultures, human habitization, tourist/leisure activities, etc) in the area contribute to the pollution problems related to landscape aesthetics and vegetation and fauna conservation status occurring in marine environment, lagoons and land, as well.

Pressure on avifauna. The most important human impacts/activities in the area, consisting main threats towards habitats directly and bird species indirectly are, water pollution, fishing, illegal hunting, discharges, leisure and tourism, and noise nuisance. The rising human pressure in this area and the exponential increase in tourist activities in the last decades have exerted negative consequences on bird populations, many of which are important-of priority.

Uncontrolled touristic/leisure activities
. Several parts of this site are considered for touristic exploitation. However, the uncontrolled access into habitats (e.g. dunes) and near to birds nesting / resting habitats, which is happening in the area, is detrimental for the conservation and restoration success of habitats and species of high importance.

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