Kalimok Marsh (2000 ha) is located on the Bulgarian bank of the Danube, close to the town of Tutrakan. It is part of the larger, 6000 ha protected area “Kalimok – Brushlen”. Designated in 2001, “Kalimok – Brushlen” includes also Brushlen Marsh and a few Danube Islands. Kalimok Marsh is a part of a riverine wetlands area which was drained in the mid 1950’s by the communist government and converted into fields.
In recent years, as part of the Lower Danube Green Corridor, the Bulgarian government began the largest restoration project in the country, creating a protected area of about 6000 hectares and restoring about 1750 hectares of wetlands.
Kalimok Marsh was one of the pilot sites (Belene Island was the other) which was restored under the project “Wetlands restoration and pollution reduction” financed by GEF / World Bank. The project was executed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Waters. It cost more than 13 millions USD, started in 2001 and was successfully completed in late 2008. Under this project, Kalimok Marsh was reconnected to the Danube, enhancing the biodiversity of the area and offering new economic alternatives to the local communities (e.g. sustainable use of reed as biomass).
More than 190 bird species inhabit Kalimok Marsh, including the Pygmy Cormorant, the Glossy Ibis, the Little Egret and others. In terms of flora, most of the territory is covered by Reed (Typha angustifolia) and Bulrush (Shoenoplectus lacustris). Also abundant are Frogbit (Hydrocharis morsus ranae), Water Lilly (Nymphaea alba), Fringed Water-lily (Nymphoides peltata) and Water Caltrop (Trapa natans).
Under this project, the Danube dike was opened at three points and huge inlet structures (sluices) were built to ensure controlled water flow from the Danube into the wetlands. Also, additional protected dike and a drainage canal were constructed to protect adjacent private arable lands. All of the flooded territories (more than 1000 ha) are exclusive state property.
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