The Natural Park „Small Wetland of Braila”
The Natural Park „Small Wetland of Braila” is a complex reservation, placed in the West and South-West of Braila’s Pond, between Danube at West and Valciu branch at East, being an integrated part of lower Danube.
This site is a regional complex of ecological systems that includes: 2 eco-regions, 16 major types of components (local complexes), at least 67 ecosystems types and 35 non-biotic compartments that ensure living of over 1688 species of plants and 3735 species of animals.
The park integrates all 10 holms placed between Danube’s branches:
Vărsătura, Popa, Crăcănel (Chiciul), Orbul, Calia (Lupului), Fundu Mare, Arapu, and also side branches of Danube. It can be said that it’s an inner delta on lower course of Danube.
According to active legislation, this protected area (Small Wetland of Braila) occupies an area of 17.529 hectares. According to some late evaluation realized by LIFE 99 NAT/RO/006400 project, the area of the natural park is 24.123 hectares (including Danube’s branches). The area has various ownership forms. Despite the modifications that occurred, both in the structure of integrated ecological systems and its level, The Small Wetland of Braila preserves important ecological values, as an important part of Lower Danube System, placed upstream Danube Delta Biosphere Reservation.
It is the only area left in natural hydrologic state (floodable area), after damming the former Braila’s Pond on an area of 75% and creating the agricultural premises, Big Island of Braila.
Based on its attributes, that of a moist area in natural hydrologic state, complex of ecosystems in different succession stages and buffer area, The Small Wetland of Braila stands as a reference system of the former inner delta and the basis for ecological reconstruction in Lower Danube System. Of the total area, approx. 53,6% is populated by alluvial forests, 6% by pastures, 12,84% wet areas and 27,5% lakes (tarns, pools).
This area is well known for its ornithological importance because it is placed on the most important lane of bird migration from lower basin of Danube, at half distance of migration routes, among nesting places from Northern Europe and wintering refuges from Africa.
A large number of bird species has been recorded, of which 169 internationally protected species by Bern, Bonn and Ramsar Conventions. These are half of typical Romanian migrating birds species. Since a big number of these birds are aquatic species, in 2001, the area was declared Ramsar Site (position no. 1074 on Ramsar list), the second after the Danube Delta.