Lake Kerkini photo

The beauty and the importance
One of the most essential hydrobiospheres is the one of Kerkini lake, which was created thanks to man's technical intervention on the natural characteristics of Strymon river. The water volume is useful in two ways: as a technical work of great agricultural utility and as a hydrobiosphere for waterfowl.

This wonderful biosphere is recouped by the International Convention of Ramsar. Thousands of birds, both rare and protected, riverside forests, water-lilies, a fish variety and a fantastic panoramic view from the mountains of Beles and Krousia. Actually the lake hosts 227 kinds of birds, specially non-migrants. 76 of them are recorded in the National Red Catalogue, while at least 31 of them are protected by EEC's Directive concerning wild life. The presence of buffalo herds in the area, plus the one of the jackelo in the area of Kerkini lake, are exceptional. In the surrounding area of Kerkini lake there are at least 10 amphibian species (frogs, salamanders, tritons), 5 snail species, 19 reptile species (lizards, snakes, turtles) and a great variety of insects which play an important part in the food chain and contribute towards the biological resources of the lake.

A dam was constructed near the village of Lithotopos, which started functioning in 1932. The main water provider of the lake is Strymon river. In addition, Kerkinitis river from Krousia flows in the lake. Following the construction of the dam, the form of the initial hydrobioshere changed completely. Kerkini lake is a rare example of positive human intervention.

The lake's capacity is reduced due to substances washed up by Strymon river. So the rising of the embankments and the construction of a new dam was necessary and started operating in 1982.

Its natural beauty, its high ecological significance and its contribution to the agricultural production of the valley of Serres, act as a main promoter of well-being and development. It is worth visiting as well as making any possible effort in order to preserve its wealth.

Kerkini is a combination of 3 wetland systems: lacustrine, palustrine and riverine, which interact seasonally according to the water regime of the lake. The systems are clearly separated during the low flooding period, while during high flooding, in spring and early summer, the lacustrine system expands to the area previously covered by the 2 others. Within these systems 5 water regime categories were recognised, varying in the duration and seasonality of flooding and 21 habitat types. Palustrine system includes habitats covered by the dominant vegetation forms (pleustophytes, trees and emergents) of the wetland. The riverine system, includes the rivers Strymon and Kerkinitis and the surrounding irrigation canals. The presence of 3 wetland systems and 21 habitat types in such a limited area result in increased habitat heterogeneity which enhances the biological diversity of Lake Kerkini.

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