The Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (BBF) presented the concept of a Green Corridor - a systematic approach that uses the public and natural function of the territory. Inspired by the previous meeting of the Council, when in working groups the participants examined the social, ecological, economic and aesthetic aspects of NATURA 2000 area Atanasovsko Lake, BBF proposes to integrate this potential in the development plans of Burgas Municipality.
The Green corridor will provide access to a healthy natural environment, the opportunity to create value-added products and services, recreation and outdoor SPA. BBF proposes directing the tourist flow inland, not only along the coast and more active integration of the new districts of Burgas - Cherno more, Vetren and Rudnik, because the lake is increasingly becoming part of the urban environment. Opportunities to use this green system in the surrounding neighbourhoods is the 30-km bike route established last year around the entire lake.
During the discussion on the challenges and opportunities for Atanasovsko Lake, Chernomorski Solnitsi AD requested urgent measures to prevent the risk of an ecological catastrophe related to the lagoon. According to them, its ecosystem and its salinity are endangered due to the large outflow of fresh water in the bypass channel of the lake, which collects water from a catchment area of 250 sq. km, and with urbanization and construction, their volume continues to increase. The risk increases significantly with the launch of the Northern Bypass of Burgas, whose waters will also be discharged into the protection channel of the lake.
"The waters from the entire catchment area of Atanasovsko Lake practically flow into a DRAINLESS channel, which overflows into the technological channel of Chernomorski Solnitsi AD and reaches a pumping station, which is unable to pump the increased volume of water. We demand that the discharge of this drainage canal is carried out directly in the sea area or that an option is implemented without engaging a private company to perform activities in the public interest-free of charge. The continuing neglect of the problem by the relevant state and municipal institutions will lead to the destruction of the maintained Atanasovsko Lake Reserve, will stop the salt mining activity and in practice will lead to the liquidation of the traditional salt mining, which is carried out here." - said the people from the Salinas.
Deputy District Governor Asen Bondzhev promised assistance in meeting with the Minister of Regional Development to resolve this serious issue. RIEW Burgas did not participate in the meeting of the Council, which has never happened before.
Another potential problem was discussed - the upcoming construction of a boat dock in the area of the Municipality parking lot near the Salinas and near the canal that brings saltwater into Atanasovsko Lake. Again, there are not enough surveys and the hydrodynamics of the area is not taken into account, which creates risks similar to those in Sarafovo. It was decided to closely monitor this process and to create a wider public interest in the topic.
BBF is currently working on the development of the Atanasovsko Lake Fund with value-added products and services to support not large conservation maintenance measures, which are the responsibility of the state and the saltworks operator, but for the promotion of the lake, policy monitoring, investment plans and projects, a mediator between the various stakeholders, educational activities.
The Public Advisory Council is an informal structure with an advisory role for the sustainable development of Atanasovsko Lake, which meets once a year and builds on the successful work of the Public Council established March 2013. Council members are representatives of state and local authorities such as Burgas Municipality, Burgas District Administration, RIEW Burgas, scientific, public and ecological organizations, fishing and hunting companies such as the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BSPB, Zelena Strandzha, etc., as well as business structures such as Chernomorski Solnitsi AD, Burgas Airport and others.