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Small Prespa Lake

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Total site area 13,500 ha
Coordinates 40° 46' N and 21° 05' E
Ramsar wetland type dominant Permanent freshwater lakes
Maximum elevation 852 - 855 meters
Transboundary Yes

Site Profile

The Small Prespa Lake is situated in the Balkan Peninsula at the border triangle of Albania , Greece and F.Y.R.O.M. Albania is sharing Small Prespa Lake with Greece and Big Prespa Lake with F.Y.R.O.M. and Greece . The Prespa lakes region is about two lakes of a mountain drain basin that are split by a narrow land strip and are surrounded by mountains. The basin has no surface outflow, with Small Prespa flowing into Big Prespa, which in turn flows into the Ohrid Lake basin via subterranean channels and from there to the Adriatic Sea . The Lake is 45.39 km2 in size its higher for 3 m than the size of the Greek part of the Big Lake Prespa. Small Prespa Lake has several extended shallow zones with reedbeds and aquatic vegetation, wet meadows, pastures and agricultural land. The main human activities are agriculture, fishery and hunting. Of great ecological importance are the periodically flooded meadows located between the agricultural land and the northern reedbed, which serve as feeding sites for many waterbirds and as spawning areas for the lake’s fish populations.

Micro Prespa Lake in particular has been recognized as an important wetland ecosystems favoring breeding and feeding of rare water bird species. It is best known for hosting the largest breeding colony of the Dalmatian pelican in the world. The flora in the region is composed of more than 1,500 plant species of which 146 endemic species in the Lake Ohrid and 39 endemic species from the Prespa Lakes . Micro Prespa on the Greek side is a RAMSAR site.

At the beginning of 2002, on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day, the Prime Ministers of Albania, Greece and F.Y.R.O.M. jointly declared the establishment of Prespa Park , a new protected area including the large and small Prespa Lakes with the surrounding forests, which go across all three countries. This is the first ecologically protected area in the Balkans running across three different countries.

During 1970 significant amounts of water from the Devolli river was diverted into the lake with the intention to use it latter during the summer time for the irrigation purposes. Due to the high suspended solids in the river water significant siltation did occur on the Albanian side. The practice has recently stopped. The Albanian part of this lake has a surface of 420 hectares.

Socio-economic importance
Around 5,000 people in the Albanian part of the basin are engaged mainly in subsistence farming, the former collective agricultural system having been abandoned since the collapse of the totalitarian regime. Basic infrastructure has deteriorated and communities are under strong economic pressure to overexploit natural resources.


      More info at RAMSAR database: