Project LIFE for Lake Varna – LIFE19 NAT/BG/000839

Demonstration of a pilot green infrastructure as a win-win solution for biodiversity and development in Lake Varna

Co-financed by the European Union under the LIFE Programme

Beneficiary: Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Company

Start date: 01.09.2020

End date: 31.08.2025

Total project cost: 1 852 060 EUR

  • Budget of BPI Co.: 1 499 752 EUR (grant: 775 672 EUR; own contribution: 724 080 EUR)
  • Budget of BSPB: 352 308 EUR (grant: 335 308 EUR; own contribution: 17 000 EUR)

Project partners:

Bulgarian Ports Infrastructure Company – Coordinating beneficiary

Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) – Associated beneficiary         

Main goal of the project: to test and demonstrate a large-scale green infrastructure that will achieve three main outcomes:

(1) Restoring key habitats for priority bird species and thus contributing to the achievement of the biodiversity conservation goals of the project Natura 2000 sites Varna-Beloslav Lake SPA (BG0000191) and Yatata SPA (BG0002046),

(2) Improving the ecosystem function of the severely damaged aquatic ecosystem of Lake Varna and

(3) Providing sustainable and economically sound solution for storage of dredged sediments from the ship channels to and from Varna Port.

Project Actions:

1)        Preparatory actions

Development of a methodology for a comprehensive monitoring scheme of the bird and aquatic species in the Varna-Beloslav Lake and Yatata SPAs and analysis of the dredging sediments that will be used for the construction of the island. Elaboration of a detailed technical plan for the creation of an artificial island. Development of a set of measures for sustainable management of the Varna-Beloslav Lake and Yatata SPAs, analysis of the legislation. Consultation with the stakeholders. Development of a Project Communication Strategy and a Work Plan.

2)        Conservation actions

Creation of an artificial island for the benefit of wild birds and the aquatic ecosystem. Construction of wooden nesting platforms and nest boxes for priority bird species – one nesting platform in each of the two project SPAs. Alongside the construction work and the piling up of the dredged material, a physical, hydrochemical and biochemical monitoring will be taking place in order to keep track of the fine silt levels in the water body, the oxygen levels, as well as the effect on the aquatic ecosystem.

3)        Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

Monitoring the impact of the project activities on the conservation status of key species and the project SPAs. Evaluation of the project impact on ecosystem conditions and ecosystem services. Assessing the socio-economic impact of the project actions on the local economy and population.

4)         Public awareness and dissemination of results

Ensuring of an effective national and international media coverage of the project and promote a project Natura 2000 sites. Development and maintaining of a project website, production of communication materials, networking with other LIFE and/or non-LIFE projects. Promotion of the replicability and transferability of the project findings and results among key stakeholders and other interested entities. Establish of a demonstration info point.

5)          Project management

This includes all activities and tasks necessary for the successful start, implementation, monitoring and finalisation of the project.

Project Manager: Dipl. Eng. Natasha Ceneva, Director Infrastrucure, Harbor Area and Property Directorate, BPI Co., Tel.: + 359 2 807 99 37, email: