Croatia has now completed the process of updating the information on its five Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites). They are very diverse, and feature coastal lakes, inland deltas and fishponds among other wetland habitats. The wetlands are described below, and complete information on all of them can be found here.
The most recently updated Site, Crna Mlaka Fishponds (Site no. 582), is a complex of carp ponds and forest, which is very important for the breeding, feeding and staging of numerous waterbird species. The fishponds, with their extensive water surface, marsh vegetation, and rich food resources are important for migratory and breeding waterbirds such as ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca), which are found in internationally important numbers.
Nature Park Kopacki rit (Site no. 583) is an inland delta situated at the confluence of the Danube and Drava rivers, adjacent to the border with Serbia. The Site features lakes, marshes, wet grasslands, reed beds, riverine forests, numerous channels, oxbow lakes and fishponds. Kopacki rit is also an important source of food and nursery grounds for the Danube fish stocks, as it is the most significant spawning ground in the central and upper Danube area.
Lonjsko Polje Nature park (Site no. 584), on the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a complex of alluvial forests, wet meadows and pastures. Regular flooding and high groundwater levels provide the conditions for rich biodiversity. The 250 bird species found in the Park represent more than two-thirds of all those in Croatia.
The Neretva is the largest river of the eastern Adriatic watershed, and its final section stretches through Croatian territory, forming the Neretva River Delta (Site no. 585) with large reedbeds, lakes, wet meadows, lagoons, sandbanks, sandy tidal flats and saltmarshes. The Site is notable in its biogeographic region for its wealth of species. The Delta is also rich in cultural heritage and historical sites.
Northwest of Neretva is Vransko Lake (Site no. 2109), the country’s most recent Wetland of International Importance. It is the only brackish natural lake on the coast of Croatia, and has a significantly varied salinity and water level due to the intrusion of sea water. This creates a very specific habitat, which hosts many threatened waterbirds such as common pochard (Aythya ferina), spotted crake (Porzana porzana) and Baillon’s crake (Porzana pusilla).