The fieldwork on the habitats survey along the rivers in Rusenski Lom Nature Park has started. The work is part of WWF’s Free Fish project which will continue four years and is funded by the LIFE programme of the European Union.
The tasks are:
• Survey of the existing barriers which hinder the natural movement of the species in order to select suitable barrages on Rusenkski Lom River to be removed.
• Survey of at least 200 meters of the bottom of Rusenkski Lom River of sites suitable for restoration with suitable gravel bottom substrate that will provide habitat necessary for Kessler's Gudgeon and Mediterranean Barbel.
• Survey of suitable locations to choose a place to build a fishway on Rusenkski Lom River connecting sections of at least 15 km downstream and 15 km upstream from the fishway.
To fulfill these tasks, the experts of WWF and Rusenski Lom Nature Park preliminary map and investigate the river habitats and riparian vegetation in Lomovete protected site and its adjacent areas. They collect information on migration barriers, riffles, typical river sections, riparian vegetation, depth and width of the river, bottom substrate, side arms, deposition landforms and more.
Within this project WWF uses innovative techniques and technologies for Bulgaria and the region which contribute to the conservation of several rivers in Danube basin’s Bulgarian part. The main project’s objective is to improve the conservation status of six protected and endangered small rheophilic fish species and one mollusc species of (mussel) in selected sections of the rivers in Natura 2000 sites from the Danube River Basin in northern Bulgaria.
To achieve its goal, WWF collects and classifies current and comprehensive scientific information from the project territory. Data on the status of the target species and their habitats cover populations of seven species of fish and invertebrates in 30 river basins at a total area of over 45 000 square meters in at least 14 Natura 2000 sites.
Donor of the project is LIFE programme, the financial instrument for the environment of the European Union. The total project cost is € 411 057, including € 205 528 co-financing from the EU and € 190 179 from WWF.