The Project


General information

Project title: Maintain the Man-Lake Symbiosis for the Benefit of Species and Habitats of EU conservation concern / LIFE17 NAT/BG/000558

Short name: The Lagoon of Life

Main objectives of the Project:

  1. To ensure full-scale restoration of the ecological processes supporting the unique biodiversity of Atanasovsko Lake;
  2. To establish a self-sustaining and financially viable mechanism to allow for the long-term conservation management of Atanasovsko Lake;
  3. To promote the benefits generated by Natura 2000 site Atanasovsko Lake.

Duration of the project: 6 years till 30.09.2024

Project area: Natura 2000 area Atanasovsko Lake

Partners: Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation (Coordinating Beneficiary) and Bulgarian Society for the protection of Birds/ BirdLife Bulgaria, Black Sea Salinas Ltd., Zaedno 2011 (Associated Beneficiaries)

Activities (in Our Work)


Financing: The total budget of the project is 2,525,618 €, 75% of which is co-financing by LIFE programme of EC and 25% from the partners. The budget is divided between the partners as follows: Black Sea Salinas Ltd. – 1 718 418 € (68 %); BBF – 606 665 € (24 %), BSPB – 107 202 € (4%) and Zaedno 2011 – 93270 € (4 %).

The website of the project:


“The Lagoon of LIFE” provides a new opportunity to preserve the symbiotic complex Man-Nature in the Atanassovsko Lake. The project represents one of the most ambitious and complex attempts to restore habitats and manage a coastal wetland at the European scale. The funding secured through the LIFE Programme of the European Commission is a proof for the high conservation value of the Lake and its European importance, as well as a recognition for the high quality of the work carried out so far by the project partnership.

The six-year project intends to endorse the ecosystem services provided by the Lake and the benefits provided by the Natura 2000 zone to both the people and the whole territory. We will encourage development of new products like the chocolate with salt, lye soap, natural salt from Atanasovsko Lake ‘Fleur of Salt’ that will reinforce the value of the Natura 2000 zone as an important economic asset for Burgas – as a salt producing facility and as one of the most valuable reservoirs of biodiversity in Bulgaria and as a key site for recreation and inspiration for the people. The project will develop sustainable financing mechanism that will allow for the long-term preservation of this natural territory also through the creation of value added product chains and the establishment of earmarked trust fund.

The work will be carried out at an entirely new level – the ecosystem leve with the intention to influence all processes and interconnections between the different natural communities, species and the whole complex of natural habitats to preserve the integrity of Atanasovsko Lake. Thus the health of the ecosystem could be secured in the long-run, because a healthy ecosystem is self-sustaining and can regulate the processes keeping the homeostasis needed.

For the first time a complete restoration of three large dykes that have existed over 40 years ago is planned to enhance the water circulation in the lagoon, to minimise the amplitudes of salinity and the water levels. The project will implement traditional technology used to build the dykes in the beginning of last century. A new nesting territory will be thus created covering 5 ha in the most favoured sites in the Lake.

A special focus of the project is the establishment of favourable conditions for the rare European Great bittern. This will become possible through restoring a retention dam, which is currently filled with sediments and increases the flooding risk for the Lake. A mosaic of microhabitats to support the Great bittern through its whole life cycle will be created; the water regime and favourable status of the waters will be secured.

The aquatic plant Ruppia maritima, which has disappeared in the past, will be recovered to be used as indicator for the enhancement of the water quality in Atanasovsko Lake. The minimizing of the negative processes in the ecosystem requires restoration of 14 km of internal canals and 17 km of small dykes, as well as the reconstruction of the northern gateway. This will maintain the vital connection with the sea and restore the natural circulation of water in the Lake to create conditions for the migration of aquatic organisms.

The project is expected to achieve significant socio-economic benefits through the creation of green jobs and marketing of high added value products obtained from raw materials from the Atanasovsko Lake, that will be more expensive and for which there is already high demand; parallel to this new services from the lake will be developed. The project will seek for solution to the problem with the low market value of the salt and the risk of abandoning the traditional salt production.

The successful partnership between business and not-for-profit organisations – the BBF, BSPB and Chernomorski Solnici JSC is further developed through the involvement of new local partner – the Zaedno 2011 NGO.

The project The Lagoon of LIFE is one of the three Bulgarian proposals approved for funding in 2018, together with one more in the Nature strand and one in the Information and Governance strand.

Salt factory
Together 21
Life programme
Natura 2000