The region under study
Besides the entitling of “natural park”, in 2007 the area was included in the European network „The nature 2000”, both as SCI and SPA, and as a habitat protection area under European Council Directive 92/43 EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna, as well as bird protection area under European Council Directive 79/409 EEC on the conservation of wild birds. Also, the protected area has been designated a RAMSAR site (wetland of international importance) in 2006.
The Lower Meadow of Mureș is an area with high biodiversity, the most representative groups of species for the protected area are birds with 206 species identified and fishes with 50 species identified. Of these, 42 species of birds and 12 species of fish are protected at European level and national legislation.
Locating the region under study
The project Halting the expansion of invasive plant species on Mureş Floodplain Natural Park targets the administrative area of Arad and Timiș counties, the meadow bottom of the Mureș River, across localities Arad, Pecica, Semlac, Șeitin, Nădlac, Zădăreni, Felnac, Secusigiu, Periam, Saravale, Sânnicolau Mare and Cenad.
Description of the region under study
The Mureș Floodplain Natural Park is located in southwestern Romania, in Arad and Timiș counties, bordering the Arad city area (it’s center is 4 km from the eastern border of the area) with a population of 173,000 inhabitants. The Mureș Floodplain Natural Park stretches from Arad up to the Hungarian border, along the Mureș river. It has an area of 17 455 ha and includes the dike area of Mureș; It is a floodplain (flood every three years) lying between the dams built on each side of the river between high terraces of the same river. Low Meadow of Mureș is a typical wetland ecosystem with rivers and lakes, alluvial forests, willow and poplar galleries , as well as traces of water meadows and plains, and an important place for nesting and passage for about 200 species of birds, many of them under a strict international protection.
Description of the protected area
To establish the protected area regime first steps were made in the 1970s when some studies were made at Prundul Mare area by an enthusiastic group that included, among others, Ioan Moldovan, Andras Libus and Aurel Ardelean. So in those years was declared an area of 91.2 hectares of the natural reservation Prundul Mare, aiming to protect the gray herons that nest there. Then in 1988, 12,000 ha of this area have been declared as an Important Bird Area. The initiative of protection was continued by representatives from Environmental Protection Agencies from Arad and Timișoara and from the Forestry Department from Arad and culminated in 2005 when the government decided to declare the Mureș Floodplain Natural Park. Since 2006 the protected area “Meadow of Mureș” is the fourth area in Romania that has been designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Since 2008 the same area forms part of the Natura 2000 network, being both a site of Community importance (RO SCI 0108) to protect certain species (30) and habitats (12) and Special Protection Area Bird (RO SPA 0069) to protect 41 species of birds.
A strong incentive was also the financing from the National Forest – Romsilva, respectively the Forestry Department from Arad of the European Community through the PHARE CBC. Through the project “Protecting and developing the Mureș River floodplain” could achieve the protected area infrastructure (visitor center, two tourist information points). From financing to its own National Forest – Romsilva or the European Union were acquired numerous research and monitoring equipment (620,000 euros) and were conducted numerous activities to promote environmental education and ecotourism. From November 2005 the protected area has an administration subordinated to the National Forest – Romsilva, made up of 12 people and operates with an annual budget of approximately 150.000 euros. Within Mureș Floodplain Natural Park there are four areas of full protection Prundul Mare (717.9 ha), Cenad Forest (310.5 ha), Cenad Big Island (2.1 ha) and Igriş Islands (7.0 ha). These areas are strictly protected, being prohibited the exploitation of the natural resources.
The geographical coordinates of the park are:
North(46°19’01” Lat. / 20°50’05” Long. )
East ( 46°18’89” Lat. / 20°49’94” Long. )
South ( 46°07’15” Lat. / 20°91’89” Long. )
West ( 46°16’82” Lat. / 21°27’72” Long. )
The average elevation: 100m
Minimum altitude: 82,5m
Maximum altitude: 135m
Area: 17.455 ha