it is the unofficial site about Nea Apollonia!update day by day!everything you want to know about!
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Nea Apollonia Thessaloniki Geographical data
summertime 2003
1 May 2003 holiday in N.Apollonia
children's hospitality from ex-jugoslavian countries
Municipality of Apollonia:actions and photos
byzantine thermal bathtub in own village
Nea Apollonia:daily moments
Personal photos and actions
easter 2004 with my friends
Old photos from Nea Apollonia
New photos from nea apollonia
Nea Apollonia:Landscapes
Nea Apolonia:progressive womens organization visiting europe
stivos cultural club
lake volvi
biologic farm and produce ioannis panagiotidhs plateia peristerona thessalonikh hellas
The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
Barely natural beauties!Altsali and Elati
polular market every saturday
prime minister karamanlis visit n.apollonia before 2 years,snapshots

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands

Expression of opinion on Greek Ramsar wetlands and possible removal from the Montreux Record, 1999 (Annexes)







Section One: Information for assessing possible inclusion of a listed site in the Montreux Record

Essential items

I 1. Name of site: Lake Volvi

II 2. Ramsar Criteria for listing the lake (together with lake Koronia) as internationally important. Which criteria are still valid.

1a | 2a, 2b, 2c | 3a, 3b, 3c | 4a, 4b

All the above criteria are still valid.

I 3. Nature of the change in ecological character/ potential for adverse change

  1. Interruption of communication with the sea via River Rihios
  2. Damage to the Apollonia forest
  3. Increased inflow of nutrients and solid particles
  4. Decrease or change in the fish population
  5. Changes in avifauna

I 4. Reasons for adverse change, or potential adverse change, in ecological character

(Reference is made to the corresponding numbering of answers to question I 3).

  1. Due to the fall in the water level. Reduced rainfall during the period 1988-1993 and thereafter is certainly a reason. We believe that water pumping for irrigation played a much less important role. Other probable causes related to the hydrogeology of the hydrological basin cannot be documented without long-term observation and study.
  2. Due to illegal grazing and traffic.
  3. Despite the lack of measurements, we assume that the denudation of the soil in a highland area due to fire must have caused this phenomenon. The inflow of nutrients originating from agro-ecosystems in the hydrological basin is also a possible cause. The inflow of pollutants from point sources cannot be very important.
  4. Primary cause is the drop in the water level. Other secondary causes, whose degree of impact is difficult to establish, are overfishing (probably worsened by the arrival of fishermen from lake Koronia which faces severe problems) and the periodical interruption of the communication of Volvi with the sea through Rihios river. The fish kills reported could be due to a rise in the concentration of salt and other substances and to a decrease in oxygen. These phenomena have perhaps been caused by the decrease in the lakes water volume.
  5. According to Sakoulis and Bourdakis (1998) there has been an approximately 25% decrease in the number of waterfowl wintering in Volvi during the last years. The same authors mention that "I. Tsougrakis saw a tree (Apollonia forest) on which two thirds of the breeding potential of forest herons nested, being thrown down by the wind,. The reduction in bird populations in the Volvi area is probably due to both human-induced and natural causes. Illegal hunting and disturbance of avifauna has not yet ceased completely. It is not certain whether these constitute the most important human-induced causes".

Additional items which may be included

I 5. Date Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands submitted

I 6. Date and source of Information Sheet updates

I 7. Benefits and values derived from the site

We assume that Lake Volvi performs the following functions:


Probable Degree of Performance

Food web support

Nutrient removal / transformation

Trapping of sediments and toxic substances

Modification of flood phenomena

Groundwater recharge

Storage and release of heat

Regulation of salt balance








Our comments concerning the values of lake Volvi are as follows:

Drinking water supply: High value (after water treatment). It had been partially used before 1950. According to unconfirmed information, the possibility of considering the use of the water for supplying Thessaloniki after the year 2025 cannot be excluded.

Irrigation: Remarkable both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Fishing: Medium to high according to the type of wetland with which it is compared.

Animal farming: Medium.

Hunting: Rather low due to a long period of illegal and excessive hunting.

Wood/fibre production: Low. The largest part of the riparian forest was cleared many years ago.

Sand extraction: Complaints have been expressed with regard to illegal sand extraction. Therefore, sand must be accumulating but at a very slow rate.

Salt extraction: No possibility.

Scientific: Medium value. Few research projects. The hydrogeology and seismology of the area and the thermal springs located on the southern shoreline of the lake are particularly interesting.

Educational: Medium but increasing due to the operation of the Information Centre and the educational material produced.

Recreational: Medium but expected to rise due to various infrastructure projects for the accommodation of visitors.

Flood control: Human settlements are not in danger.

Improvement of water quality: Medium to high.

Topoclimatic: Very high due to the size of the lake and the characteristics of the hydrological basin.

Therapeutic: Very high if one judges by the presence of thermal springs and the infrastructure for visitors who appreciate the therapeutic properties of the spas.

Biological: The fauna can be summarised as follows (Kazantzidis, personal communication 1998)

  • Fish: 29 species, one of which is endemic. There is an endemic subspecies. The rare Aspius aspius is also present.

  • Amphibians: at least 5 species

  • Reptiles: 14 species

  • Birds: over 200 species

  • Mammals: 34 species.

Many of the above species are considered rare and are included in lists of protected species (such as Community Directive 79/409 on the protection of birds and their habitats, Community Directive 92/43 and the Red Data Book on endangered vertebrates of Greece).

There is also remarkable plant diversity.

The riparian forest of Apollonia is one of the very few of its kind still existing in Greece.

I 8. Extent to which values and benefits derived from the site have decreased or changed.

Decrease in the fishing value of Volvi as compared with the pre-1985 period. Increase in educational and recreational value and perhaps, in the future, the scientific value. As for biological value, it is assumed that the diversity of flora remains unchanged and that, according to counts, diversity and populations of birds have decreased.

I 9. Monitoring programme in place at the site

  1. Various government services measure meteorological parameters and water quality parameters but not systematically. Few data on these parameters have been collected.
  2. Every January, the Hellenic Ornithological Society organises counts of wintering waterfowl.
  3. From time to time, short-term surveys concerning the abiotic and biotic parameters of Lake Volvi and its hydrological basin were carried out.

I 10. Assessment procedures in place

Assessment differs according to the project, the funding agency and the implementation body. The results of bird counts are accessible at national and international level.

I 11. Ameliorative and restoration measures in place or planned

Measures concerning Lake Koronia only are listed below because some of these are likely to affect Lake Volvi. Actually, it is estimated that one of the projects for Koronia (diversion of torrents from Volvi to Koronia), if implemented according to the initial proposal, will have adverse effects on Volvi. We note that certain scientists doubt whether certain of the proposals in the recent Master Plan for the preservation of Koronia are economically and technically feasible and environmentally sound.

  1. During 1994-95, the Ministry of Environment and EKBY carried out a public information and awareness campaign for the lakes Koronia and Volvi within the framework of MedWet.
  2. Hunting is prohibited in the area.
  3. The Prefecture of Thessaloniki has set prohibitions on: a) new drilling around lake Koronia, b) any type of surface water extraction from Koronia and c) the cultivation of recently exposed areas along the shoreline. Furthermore, fines have been imposed on industries and farmers. Agricultural land neighbouring with the Apollonia forest (north and east of the forest) were abandoned after other land was accorded to its owners.
  4. The project for the on-site sign-posting of the boundaries of Koronia was completed recently.
  5. The Joint Ministerial Decision for the definition of zones and the application of protection measures is ready to be signed by the competent Ministers.
  6. The Special Environmental Study (SES) has reached its final stage.
  7. The area has been proposed for inclusion in the NATURA 2000 network, in accordance with Community Directive 92/43 and part of it has been qualified as a Special Protection Area in accordance with Community Directive 79/409.
  8. The Programme Agreement for the protection and enhancement of the area is in operation. It includes the creation of a preliminary management scheme for the entire Ramsar site and the implementation of projects and actions for its protection and the promotion of its values.
  9. Studies for saving lake Koronia have been carried out.
  10. The Ministry of Environment has carried out infrastructure projects (an Information Centre, observation towers and guardhouses) for the protection and promotion of the area.
  11. Various public information and awareness actions are being carried out or will be carried out within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see II 8).
  12. Projects for the surveillance - wardening of the area are being carried out within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see I 11.8).
  13. A study of fish fauna and the delimitation of fishing zones is being carried out within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see I 11.8).
  14. Projects for the protection and the promotion of the riparian forests of Apollonia and of Rendina are being carried out within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see I 11.8).
  15. An environmental quality monitoring project will be carried out within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see I 11.8).
  16. The installation of a hydrological monitoring network in the Mygdonia basin, in order to measure quantitative and qualitative parameters, has been planned within the framework of the Programme Agreement (see I 11.8).
  17. Recently, the Master Plan for saving Lake Koronia was completed within the framework of I 11.10.
  18. Within the framework of the Master Plan for Koronia (I 11.18) a proposal from the Prefecture of Thessaloniki was submitted to the Cohesion Fund for the financing of a project to transport water from river Aliakmon to Koronia.
  19. Within the framework of the Master Plan for Koronia (I 11.18) a proposal from the Prefecture of Thessaloniki was submitted to the Cohesion Fund for the financing of urgent measures. The following are included in these measures: a) provision of technical assistance to the Prefecture, b) environmental monitoring, c) public information campaign, d) study for the treatment and disposal of industrial and agricultural waste, e) diversion of Langadikia and Sholario torrents, f) hydrogeological study to document the feasibility of short term exploitation of the underground aquifer and implementation of the proposals of the study, g) feasibility study and planning for the repair and extension of irrigation networks.
  20. Within the framework of the Master Plan for Koronia (I 11.18) a proposal from the Prefecture of Thessaloniki was submitted to the Cohesion Fund for the financing, planning and construction of a sewage treatment plant, a sedimentation tank and a sewerage network for the town of Langadas.
  21. The Ministry of Agriculture has drafted a project proposal (in co-operation with EKBY) which has been submitted to Directorate General VI of the European Commission within the framework of the agri-environmental Regulation 2078/92. The objective of the project is to support farmers who will use various sustainable agricultural production practices in lakeside areas of northern Greece including Volvi and Koronia.

I 11. List of attachments provided by the Contracting Party

I 12. List of attachments provided by the Ramsar Bureau

Section Two : Information for assessing possible removal of a listed site from the Montreux Record

II 1. Success of ameliorative, restoration or maintenance measures

  1. Public information and awareness projects were successful especially the one carried out within the framework of MedWet because the project was based on the convergence of ideas expressed by staff of the local civil services involved in the management of the wetland. Further improvement is expected through the implementation of actions mentioned in I 11.12.

  2. Institutional and organisational efforts have succeeded in convincing the users of resources and the local inhabitants that there is political will to protect the area. Unfortunately, the signature of the Joint Ministerial Decision has been delayed. The Presidential Decree that will follow the Specific Environmental Study, if instituted promptly, will constitute a powerful legal protection tool.

  3. The prohibition on hunting, despite insufficient wardening, has reduced illegal hunting substantially.

  4. The various prohibitions and charges against violators have started to produce the first positive, although limited, results. Difficulties in the actual collection of fines constitute an obstacle.

  5. Voluntary set-aside of fields neighbouring with the Apollonia forest is a first step towards creating a buffer zone and will possibly give the forest an opportunity to expand. Communication of the organisms living in the forest with lake Volvi and the adjacent torrent is facilitated.

  6. Projects and actions included in the Programme Agreement have progressed at different rates. The organisation and operation of the preliminary management scheme had slow progress. This was expected because there is no experience with such forms of management. It might be proven that it was very ambitious and might need adaptations. What is important is that a significant co-ordination step has been made. Most positive projects can be implemented and are being implemented even if the scheme is not fully operating. Moreover, the progress that has been made in the information and awareness of local staff of civil services and the public is noticeable. The progress made regarding the users of wetland resources has, expectedly, been lesser. Future efforts should therefore be focused on users.

  7. The study of the fish fauna (I 11.14) of Volvi will contribute positively towards determining the causes of changes and undertaking remedial measures. If the assumption that fish fauna problems are due mainly to the reduction in rainfall proves correct, then it will be easier to understand the problems of other animal taxa.

  8. We share the reservations of scientists who are opposed to certain points of the Master Plan for Koronia and in particular the points that might adversely affect lake Volvi. It would be useful if the planners could provide further explanations.

  9. The Ministry of Agriculture project for the application of Community Regulation 2078/92 is pioneering for Greece, and may help rehabilitate wetland functions. We do not know whether all organisational prerequisites and know-how for the prompt application and implementation of its results have been ensured. It is most important that it starts to be implemented.

II 2. Proposed monitoring and assessment procedures

  1. A monitoring programme for environmental quality will be implemented within the framework of the Programme Agreement (I 11.16 & II 1.10).
  2. The installation of a network for measuring qualitative and quantitative hydrological parameters in the Mygdonia basin is being planned within the framework of the Programme Agreement (I 11.17 & II 1.10).

II 3. Extent to which the ecological character, benefits and values of the site have been restored or maintained.

The landscape of Volvi has not been altered and no new human activities threatening for lake ecosystems have been developed, except for the increase in the irrigated area.

Stabilisation or even increasing trends in most of the economic and social values of the lake are observed, except for the fishing value that has declined. A decrease in certain parameters of the biological value was also observed. The causes of these decreases are difficult to explain. We assume, however, that the most important cause is the fall in the lakes water level due to reduced rainfall.

II 4. Rationale for removing the site from the Montreux Record

We believe that if lakes Volvi and Koronia had been listed separately in the List of Wetlands of International Importance, lake Volvi would have been listed in the Montreux Record solely because of the failure to fulfil institutional requirements (Specific Environmental Study, maps etc.) We believe that the structural and functional characteristics of Lake Volvi have not changed much due to human interference during the past decades. Of course, problems do exist e.g. in management of irrigation water and fish populations.

Positive actions and projects for the lakes that have been carried out and are being carried out during the current decade are noteworthy and the first positive results have started to become evident. Most inhabitants are worried about the future of the lakes, they wish to preserve them in good condition and tolerate certain restrictive measures (e.g. restrictions regarding new drillings and hunting) even though there are no compensatory benefits. The introduction of compensatory measures e.g. through the application of Regulation 2078/92, will render the attitude of the inhabitants even more positive.


We propose the removal of Lake Volvi from the Montreux Record as long as procedural obstacles do not impede it. These obstacles are, firstly the incomplete issue of national regulatory acts (Joint Ministerial Decision, Presidential Decree) and secondly, the fact that the lake is registered in the List of Wetlands of International Importance together with lake Koronia.


Arapis, Th., G. Blionis, S. Chatzigiannakis, and . Koutrakis. 1995. Koronia- Volvi: Valuable and endangered water. Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre. Thermi. (In Greek)

Arapis, Th., V. Hatzirvarsanis, S. Farides, . Koutrakis, Maria Katsakiori, and G. Blionis 1995. Educational package for lake Koronia. Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre. Thermi. (In Greek)

Chatzigiannakis, S., G. Liponis et al. 1995. Proposals for sustainable management of agro-ecosystems neighbouring with Lakes Volvi and Koronia (unpublished documents). Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre. Thermi. (In Greek)

Economides, G. V. 1991. Bionomics study of the benthic macrofauna of Lake Volvi. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Biology, University of Thessaloniki. 211 pp. (In Greek)

Grammatikopoulou, Nina, D. Kechagias G. Economides. 1996. Environmental Report «Plan for the salvation of lake Koronia». Ministry for the Environment (Regional service of Central Macedonia, Environment Unit), Prefecture of Thessaloniki (Province of Langadas Fisheries Unit). Thessaloniki. 66 pp. + annex. (In Greek)

Kazantzidis, S. and Maria Anagnostopoulou. 1995. Lake Koronia (Greece). In: Elaboration of the manual on the Mediterranean wetlands management (Chapter: Management problems: Case studies).

Kazantzidis, S., Maria Anagnostopoulou and P. . Gerakis. 1995. Problems in 35 Greek wetlands and associated conservation actions: Wetland Monitoring Project 1992-1994. Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre. Thermi 249 pp. (In Greek)

Knight Piesold, G. Karavokyris & partners, Anelixi & Agrisystems. 1998. Environmental restoration of lake Koronia: final report. U DG XVI Cohesion Fund (Greek translation of the original in English).

Moustaka, . 1988. Seasonal variations, annual periodicity and spatial distribution of phytoplankton populations in Lake Volvi. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Biology, University of Thessaloniki. 230 pp. (In Greek)

Psilovikos, . . 1977. Paleogeographical evolution of the Mygdonian basin and lake (Langadas - Volvi). Doctoral thesis. University of Thessaloniki 156 pp. (In Greek)

Sakoulis, . and . Bourdakis. 1998. Evaluation of the trends of avifauna populations in Greek Ramsar wetlands. (a first approximation). Hellenic Ornithological Society. Athens. (In Greek)

Sekliziotis, S. & . Papakonstantinou 1992. Study for the delineation and management of lakes: Koronia Volvi. Final report. Ministry for the Environment Environmental Planning Division. Athens 339 pp.

Tsiouris, S., Kyriaki Kalbourtji and D. Alifrangis. 1993. Effects of cultivation techniques on the quality of surface run-off water and transported sediments (hydrological basin of Lake Koronia). Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre, Thermi. (In Greek)

Zalidis, Ch. G. and . L. Mantzavelas (Editors). 1994. Inventory of Greek wetlands as natural resources (first approximation). Greek Biotope/ Wetland Centre (EKBY). Thermi. xvi+448 pp.

Zarftsian, Maria-Eleni. 1989. Seasonal variations in spatial distribution of the planktonic invertebrates of Lake Volvi. Doctoral Thesis. Department of Biology, University of Thessaloniki. 249 pp. + annex. (In Greek)

Enter subhead content here

Enter content here

Enter content here

Enter supporting content here