The Danube Delta (Romanian: Delta Dunării pronounced [ˈdelta ˈdunərij] (listen); Ukrainian: Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunayu, Ukrainian pronunciation: [dɛlʲˈtɑ dunɑˈju]) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania (Tulcea County). Its approximate surface area is 4,152 km2 (1,603 sq mi), of which 3,446 km2 (1,331 sq mi) is in Romania. With the lagoons of Razim–Sinoe (1,015 km2 (392 sq mi) with 865 km2 (334 sq mi) water surface), located south of the main delta, the total area of the Danube Delta is 5,165 km2 (1,994 sq mi). The Razim–Sinoe lagoon complex is geologically and ecologically related to the delta proper and the combined territory is listed as a World Heritage Site.
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Location||Tulcea County, Romania|
|Criteria||Natural: vii, x|
|Inscription||1991 (15th Session)|
|Designated||21 May 1991|
Location of Danube Delta in Romania
The modern Danube Delta began to form after 4000 BCE in a bay of the Black Sea, when the sea rose to its present level. A sandy barrier blocked the Danube bay where the river initially built its delta. Upon filling the bay with sediment, the delta advanced outside this barrier-blocked estuary after 3500 BCE, building several successive lobes: the St. George I (3500–1600 BCE), the Sulina (1600–0 BCE), the St. George II (0 BC–present) and the Chilia or Kilia (1600 CE–present). Several other internal lobes were constructed in the lakes and lagoons bordering the Danube Delta to the north (Chilia I and II) and toward the south (Dunavatz). Much of the alluvium in the delta and major expansion of its surface area in the form of lobes resulted from soil erosion associated with the clearing of forests in the Danube basin during the 1st and 2nd millennium. Geologist Liviu Giosan told The New York Times:
Probably 40 percent of the Delta was built in the last 1000 years. Finding that was like a eureka moment.
At present the delta suffers from a large sediment deficit, after the construction of dams on the Danube and its tributaries in the later half of the 20th century. However, construction of a dense network of shallow channels in the delta over the same period attenuated the deficit on the delta plain but increased erosion along the coast The Danube Delta is a low alluvial plain, mostly covered by wetlands and water. It consists of an intricate pattern of marshes, channels, streamlets and lakes. The average altitude is 0.52 m, with 20% of the territory below sea level, and more than half not exceeding one meter in altitude. Dunes on the most extensive strand plains of the delta (Letea and Caraorman strand plains) stand higher (12.4 m and 7 m respectively). The largest lakes are lakes Dranov (21.7 km2), Roșu (14.5 km2) and Gorgova (13.8 km2).
The Danube branches into three main distributaries into the delta, Chilia, Sulina, and Sfântul Gheorghe (Saint George). The last two branches form the Tulcea channel, which continues as a single body for several kilometers after the separation from the Chilia. At the mouths of each channel gradual formation of new land takes place, as the delta continues to expand.
|Danube arm||Length (km)||Flow (m3/s)|
| Sfântul Gheorghe
Chilia, in the north, the longest, youngest, and most vigorous, with two secondary internal deltas and one microdelta in full process of formation at its mouth (to Ukraine).
Sulina, the central and thus the shortest arm, which consequently led to its extensive use for traffic and severe transformation. At its mouth is located the main port and a single settlement with urban characteristics of the Romanian part of the delta. Because of the alluvium deposited at its mouth, a channel gradually advancing into the sea (presently it has 10 km) was built in order to protect navigation.
Sfântul Gheorghe (Saint George in English), in the south, is the oldest and most sparsely populated. Its alluvium has led to the creation, beginning in 1897, of the Sacalin Islands, which today measure 19 km in length.
The climate of the Danube Delta is continental, with strong influences from the vicinity of the Black Sea and its prevalent amphibian environment. It is the driest and sunniest region of Romania. The mean annual temperature is 11 °C (−1 °C in January and 22 °C in July), with mean precipitation between 400 mm/year and 300 mm/year, decreasing from west to east. Evaporation is around 1,000 mm/year, amplified by strong and frequent winds, resulting in long periods of drought in the summer. The northwest winds cause frequent storms in spring and autumn. In the interior of the delta, the continental character of the climate is very pronounced.
The Danube Delta falls within the Pannonian steppe ecosystem of eastern Europe, with Mediterranean influences. As a young region in full process of consolidation, the Danube Delta represents a very favourable place for the development of highly diverse flora and fauna, unique in Europe, with numerous rare species. It hosts 23 natural ecosystems, but due to the extent of wetlands an aquatic environment is prevalent; a terrestrial environment is also present on the higher grounds of the continental levees, where xerophile ecosystems have developed. Between the aquatic and terrestrial environments is interposed a swampy, easily flooded strip of original flora and fauna, with means of adaptation to water or land, depending on the season or hydrological regime. At the contact between freshwater and sea water, some special physical, chemical and biological processes take place, which have led biologists to consider this area as a very different ecosystem called beforedelta. Musura Gulf, north of Sulina, and Saint George Gulf are considered the most representative of this type of ecosystem.
Situated on major migratory routes, and providing adequate conditions for nesting and hatching, the Danube Delta is a magnet for birds from six major ecoregions of the world, including the Mongolian, Arctic and Siberian. There are over 320 species of birds found in the delta during summer, of which 166 are hatching species and 159 are migratory. Over one million individual birds (swans, wild ducks, coots, etc.) winter here.
This comprises the arms of the Danube, and a series of its more important streamlets and channels. It is an environment rich in plankton, worms, molluscs, grubs, and sponges, with numerous species of fish, such as the carp, pike, pike perch, sheat-fish, and freshwater sturgeons (sterlet, Vyza and Danube mackerel).
This environment includes the lakes, and various ponds, streamlets and channels. It is characterized by a rich floating and submerse flora (Myriophyllum, Ceratophyllum, Vallisneria etc., under the water; Nymphaea alba, Nuphar lutea, Trapa natans, Alisma plantago etc., floating plants with roots near the lakes' borders; and Salvinia natans, Stratiotes aloides, Spirogyra etc., floating plants without roots, having negative effect for aquatic bioproductivity). Of the fish, the most important are Tench (Tinca tinca), common bream (Abramis brama), common rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus), Prussian carp (Carassius auratus gibelio), wels catfish (Silurus glanis), European perch (Perca fluviatilis), and northern pike (Esox lucius).
Reed plants and floating reed islands (called plaur in Romania) are the most common and well known components of the Danube Delta. Vegetation of this ecosystem consists of the common reed (Phragmites communis) and, on near river banks, mace reed/cattail (Typha latifolia, Typha angustifolia), sedge (Carex dioica, Carex stricta), Dutch rush (Scirpus radicans, Schoenoplectus lacustris), and brook mint (Mentha aquatica), etc. They provide ideal spawning and nesting grounds. The plaur are a mixture of reed roots, grass and soil, usually floating or anchored to the riverbed. As a rule, the reed surrounds the lakes and ponds, and slowly invades the water surface.
This type of ecosystem is noted for its variety and large population of birds, some of them very rare. The most important are the tufted duck (Aythya fuligula, red-crested pochard (Netta rufina), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), greylag goose (Anser anser), pygmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus), purple heron (Ardea purpurea), great white egret (Egretta alba), little egret (Egretta garzetta), eurasian spoonbill(Platalea leucorodia), great white pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus), mute swan (Cygnus olor), and glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). A recent and welcomed newcomer is the pheasant (Phasianus colchicus).
Among the mammals, there is the Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), European mink (Mustela lutreola), little ermine (Mustela erminea aestiva), wild boar (Sus scrofa), and wild cat (Felis silvestris), in winter the hare (Lepus europaeus) and, on the brink of disappearing from the delta, the wolf and the fox. The East Asian raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), bizam/introduced muskrat (Ondatra zibethica), and to some extent South American nutria (Myocastor coypus), are recent species that have successfully adapted.
The firm land of the delta used to be covered with large groves of willow trees, which have been cut down almost entirely and replaced with Canadian poplars. On the river banks kept in their natural state, small groves of willow trees (Salix alba, Salix fragilis, Salix purpurea, Salix petandra, Salix triandra etc.) can still be found, mixed with white poplar (Populus alba). Occasionally, the willow trees form corridors along the arms and bigger channels of the Danube. On the levees of Letea and Caraorman, mixed forests of oak (Quercus robur, Quercus pedunculiflora) with various trees (Fraxinus pallisae, Ulmus foliacea, Populus tremula), shrubs (Prunus spinosa, Crataegus monogyna, Rosa canina, Berberis vulgaris etc.), and vines (Vitis sylvestris, Hedera helix, Humulus lupulus, Periploca graeca, which reaches up to 25m) grow on sand dune areas. On the Letea levee, these exotic-looking forests grow especially in the depressions between the sand dunes, in small groves called hasmace. Fauna of this region include the meadow viper (Vipera ursinii), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo), etc.
The Danube Delta is perhaps the least inhabited region of temperate Europe. On the Romanian side live about 20,000 people, of whom 4,600 live in the port of Sulina, which gives an average density of approx. two inhabitants per km2. The rest of the population is scattered among 27 villages, of which only three, all situated marginally, had more than 500 people in 2002. The city of Tulcea, at the western edge of the delta, has a population of 92,000 (in 2002); it represents the node of the region and the gate to the delta.
Its acute isolation and harsh conditions of living, based mainly on subsistence, made the Danube Delta a place of emigration, or transit at least. Very few of those born in the region stay there through adulthood; at the same time, the origins of its inhabitants vary widely, as people from many parts of Romania can be found in the delta. The total population has remained more or less constant throughout the 20th century; there were 12,000 inhabitants in the 1890s, and 14,000 before the Second World War. Romanians account for approximately 80% of the population, and Ukrainians for 10%. Other people living in the delta include ethnic minorities such as Greeks, Turks and Bulgarians (in 1992). Distinctive to the region, but very rare as an ethnic entity, are the Lipovans, descendants of the Orthodox Old Rite followers who fled from religious persecution in Russia during the 18th century.
On the Ukrainian side, located at the northern edge of the delta, the town of Izmail has a population of 85,000, Kiliya a population of 21,800, and Vilkovo, the main center of the Lipovan community, a population of 9,300.
Recorded history notes that the Dacians lived in the Danube Delta before it was conquered by the Romans. After later invasion by the Goths, the region changed hands many times. During the 15th century, the Danube Delta became part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1812, following the Russo-Turkish War, the borders of the Ottoman and Russian Empires were set by the Kilia and Old Stambul Channels of the Danube, and in 1829 by the St George Channel. The Treaty of Paris of 1856, which ended the Crimean War, assigned the Danube Delta to the Ottoman Empire and established an international commission which undertook a series of works to help navigation. In 1878, following the defeat of Ottoman Empire by Russia and Romania, the border between the two countries was set by the Kilia and Old Stambul Channels.
Historically, in Romania, part of the Danube Delta was marked as a reserve in 1938.
In Ukraine, the Danube branch of the Black Sea State Reserve was established in 1973. In 1981, it was reorganized into the Natural Reserve "Danube Fluxes", and in 1998, it was extended into the Danube biosphere reserve.
Large-scale works began in the Danube Delta as early as the second half of the 19th century. First corrections of the Sulina arm began in 1862, and they continued throughout the 20th century. As a result, the length of the Sulina arm was reduced from 92 to 64 km, and its flow more than doubled, thus making it suitable for large-vessel navigation. Correcting the six large meanders on its course thereby reduced the length of the Sfântu Gheorghe from 108 to 108 km, and its flow also increased somewhat. Both these increases were made to the detriment of the Chilia arm, which at present remains the most unspoiled arm of the main three. These corrections, as well as the digging of various secondary channels throughout the body of the delta, have had a serious impact on the ecosystem. Natural environments have been altered, the breeding pattern of fish has been disrupted, and the flows in the main arms have increased, with serious consequences regarding the discharge of alluvia and the erosion of banks.
Reed was intensively harvested during the Communist era. The regime had plans to transform the delta into a large agro-industrial zone. Although the first modern agricultural exploitation dates from 1939 (Ostrovul Tãtaru), only after 1960 were large areas drained and converted, to the detriment of the wetlands. In 1991 agricultural land in the delta surpassed 100,000 hectares, and more than a third of its surface has been affected by crop cultivation, forest plantation, or pisciculture. As a result of these changes, along with the increasing pollution and eutrophication of the waters of the Danube, and decades of exploitation and poor fishing regulations, the fish population has been visibly reduced.
In 2004, Ukraine inaugurated work on the Bistroe Channel that would provide an additional navigable link from the Black Sea to the populous Ukrainian section of the Danube Delta. However, because of the negative impact which this new channel might have on the fragile ecosystem of the delta, the European Union advised Ukraine to shut down the works. Romanian officials threatened to sue Ukraine at the International Court of Justice. Under the presidency of Kuchma, Ukraine had responded that Romania was only afraid of the competition that the new channel would bring, and continued working on the channel. Under the presidency of Yuschenko, who visited Romania in 2005, both sides agree that professionals should decide the fate of the channel. In the long run, Ukraine plans to build a navigation channel, if not through Bistroe Channel, then through another channel.
|Geography of Romania|
A series of articles on control of the Danube, in chronological order
Sediment loads delivered by Danube River, the main tributary of the Black Sea, significantly increased as land use intensified in the last two millennia, which led to a rapid expansion of its delta.
The Deepwater Navigation Course "Danube – Black Sea is a deep-water canal in the Danube Delta that runs through a Danube Delta distributaries Chilia, Old Istambul and "Bystroe". Through most of its length it coincides with the Romania-Ukraine border that stretches along Danube through. The canal is served by the Ukrainian state company Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority and its piloting services branch Delta Lotsman. Portion of the canal, Bystroe, stretched through territory of Ukraine rather along the main course raised big concern in Romania which emphasized ecological issues of it as it stretches through the Ukrainian Biosphere Reserve "Danube Delta".Danube
The Danube ( DAN-yoob), known by various names in other languages, is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries. The Danube river basin is home to fish species such as pike, zander, huchen, Wels catfish, burbot and tench. It is also home to a large diversity of carp and sturgeon, as well as salmon and trout. A few species of euryhaline fish, such as European seabass, mullet, and eel, inhabit the Danube delta and the lower portion of the river.Danube delta dwarf goby
Knipowitschia cameliae, the Danube delta dwarf goby, is a species of goby known only from the brackish and fresh waters of a lagoon south of the Danube Delta in Romania. This fish is a shallow water species being found in waters less than 1 metre (3.3 ft) deep. This species can reach a length of 3.2 centimetres (1.3 in) SL. This species has been assessed by the IUCN as Critically Endangered, possibly extinct, it was last recorded in 1994 and surveys in that year and 1998 have failed to record the species. The specific name honours Camelia Iliana Nalbant, the wife of the senior author.Izmail
For the class of Russian warships, see Izmail-class battlecruiser.
Izmail (Ukrainian: Ізмаї́л, translit. Izmayil; Russian: Измаил, translit. Izmail; Romanian: Ismail or Smil; Polish: Izmaił, Bulgarian: Исмаил) is a historic city on the Danube river in Odessa Oblast in south-western Ukraine. Administratively, Izmail is incorporated as a city of oblast significance. It also serves as the administrative center of Izmail Raion, one of twenty-six districts of Odessa Oblast, though it is not a part of the district.
In Russian historiography Izmail is associated with the 18th century sacking of Ottoman fortress of Izmail by Russian general Alexander Suvorov.
It is the largest Ukrainian port in the Danube Delta, on its Chilia branch. As such, Izmail is a center of the food processing industry and a popular regional tourist destination. It is also a base of the Ukrainian Navy and the Ukrainian Sea Guard units operating on the river. The World Wildlife Fund's Isles of Izmail Regional Landscape Park is located nearby. Population: 72,471 (2015 est.)Kuhurluy
Kuhurluy (Ukrainian: озеро Кугурлуй) is a lake in the south-western Ukraine, in the south of Bessarabia. It is in complex of the Danube river delta.Letea Forest
Letea Forest is the oldest natural reservation in Romania. It was established in 1938, when the Romanian Council of Ministers passed Decision No. 645 declaring the forest a nature reserve. It is located between the Sulina and Chilia branches of Danube in the Danube Delta. It covers an area of approximately 2,825 ha (6,980 acres).
This forest was the initial foundation of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. It was internationally recognized as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1992.It has a subtropical aspect, due to the presence of the tropical creeper named Periploca graeca. This is a Mediterranean plant which finds its most northern refuge in the Danube Delta. Along with this, types of liana and other climbing plants are woven on the branches of the trees, such as the wild vine, the hop plant and the ivy.Letea Forest is formed mainly from trees like white poplar, black poplar, elm tree, English oak, silver lime, narrow-leafed ash and common alder. Along with those above, it is completed by a rich scale of sub-shrub species.It is also home for a rich fauna like the red-footed falcon, the white-tailed eagle, the roller, the hoopoe, the Vipera ursinii and the Danube Delta horse. There are approximately 1600 insect species identified.Limes Moesiae
The Moesian Limes or Limes Moesiae is the modern term given to a collection of Roman fortifications between the Black Sea shore and Pannonia, present-day Hungary, consisting primarily of forts along the Danube (so-called Danubian Limes) to protect the Roman provinces of Upper and Lower Moesia south of the river.
In addition the term Limes Moesiae may be used to include many other linked lines of defence were established in the region in different periods and later abandoned in favour of others depending on the military situation.List of the busiest airports in Romania
This is a list of the busiest airports in Romania.Northern Dobruja
Northern Dobruja (Romanian: Dobrogea; Bulgarian: Северна Добруджа, Severna Dobrudzha) is the part of Dobruja within the borders of Romania. It lies between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, bordered in the south by Southern Dobruja, which is part of Bulgaria.Protected areas of Romania
This is a list of protected areas of Romania.
About 5.18% of the area of Romania has a protected status (12,360 km²), including the Danube Delta, which makes half of these areas (2.43% of Romania's area).Pygmy cormorant
The pygmy cormorant (Microcarbo pygmaeus) is a member of the Phalacrocoracidae (cormorant) family of seabirds. It breeds in south-eastern Europe and south-western Asia. It is partially migratory, with northern populations wintering further south, mostly within its breeding range. It is a rare migrant to western Europe.Second Battle of Cobadin
The Second Battle of Cobadin was a battle fought from 19 to 25 October 1916 between the Central Powers, chiefly the Bulgarian Third Army and the Entente, represented by the Russo - Romanian Army of the Dobrogea. The battle ended in decisive victory for the Central Powers and the occupation of the strategic port of Constanţa and capture of the railway between that city and Cernavodă.Strand plain
A strand plain or strandplain is a broad belt of sand along a shoreline with a surface exhibiting well-defined parallel or semi-parallel sand ridges separated by shallow swales. A strand plain differs from a barrier island in that it lacks either the lagoons or tidal marshes that separate a barrier island from the shoreline to which the strand plain is directly attached. Also, the tidal channels and inlets which cut through barrier islands are absent. Strand plains typically are created by the redistribution by waves and longshore currents of coarse sediment on either side of a river mouth. Thus, they are part of one type of wave-dominated delta.Examples of strand plains:
West coast of Namibia
South-east and south-west coasts of Australia, and in the Gulf of Carpentaria
Letea and Caraorman, Danube Delta, RomaniaSulina
Sulina (Romanian pronunciation: [suˈlina]) is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania.Teodor T. Nalbant
Teodor T. Nalbant (December 18, 1933 – November 12, 2011) was a Romanian ichthyologist.
Born in Constanţa, near the Black Sea, Nalbant spent some of his childhood among fishermen in the Danube Delta. After finishing high school, he studied biology, first in Cluj, and then at the University of Bucharest. While in Cluj, Nalbant befriended Petre Mihai Bănărescu, who would become a collaborator on many publications. Nalbant published over 150 papers on a variety of subjects in and related to his field. He worked at the Grigore Antipa National Museum of Natural History, and participated in numerous expeditions to regions of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.Taxa named for Nalbant include genus Nalbantichtys (Schultz, 1967), subgenus Nalbantius (Mauge and Bauchot, 1984) and species Schistura nalbanti (Mîrza and Bănărescu, 1979) and Cyclaspis nalbanti (Petrescu, 1998).Topography of Romania
Romania's landscape is almost evenly divided among mountains (31 percent), hills (33 percent), and plains (36 percent). These varied relief forms spread rather symmetrically from the Carpathian Mountains, which reach elevations of more than 2,400 metres, to the Danube Delta, which is just a few metres above sea level.Tulcea Airport
Tulcea Danube Delta Airport (IATA: TCE, ICAO: LRTC) (also known as Cataloi Airport) is located in south-eastern Romania, 16 km (9.9 mi) south of the city of Tulcea, on the Danube bank and close to the Danube Delta. It is Northern Dobruja's second airport (after Constanţa Kogălniceanu Intl).Tulcea County
Tulcea County (Romanian pronunciation: [ˈtult͡ʃe̯a]) is a county (județ) of Romania, in the historical region Dobruja, with the capital city at Tulcea.Vylkove
Vylkove (Ukrainian: Вилкове; Russian: Вилково; Romanian: Vâlcov) is a small city located in Odessa, on the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, at utmost South-West of Ukraine, on the border with Romania. Administratively it is part of Kiliya Raion (district) of Odessa Oblast (region). Population: 8,365 (2015 est.)