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The Danube
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.[1] The greater part of the Danube
Danube
Delta lies in Romania
Romania
( Tulcea
Tulcea
County), while its northern part, on the left bank of the Chilia arm, is situated in Ukraine
Ukraine
(Odessa Oblast). 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
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.

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Danube
Danube
Delta near Tulcea
Tulcea
(2010)

Contents

1 Geography and geology

1.1 Distributaries of the Danube 1.2 Climate 1.3 Main ecosystems

1.3.1 Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of running water 1.3.2 Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of stagnant water 1.3.3 Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of marshy and flooding areas 1.3.4 River bank and levee ecosystems

2 Inhabitants 3 History 4 Environmental issues 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Geography and geology[edit]

Historical evolution of the Danube
Danube
Delta (AD 1 – 2015)

The modern Danube
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
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:[2] the St. George I (3500–1600 BCE), the Sulina
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
Danube
Delta to the north (Chilia I and II) and toward the south (Dunavatz).[3] 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
Danube
basin during the 1st and 2nd millennium.[4][5] 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.[4]

At present the delta suffers from a large sediment deficit, after the construction of dams on the Danube
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[6][7] The Danube
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
Letea
and Caraorman
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).

Danube
Danube
Delta - Dalmatian pelican
Dalmatian pelican
and great cormorant

Distributaries of the Danube[edit] The Danube
Danube
branches into three main distributaries into the delta, Chilia, Sulina, and Sfântul Gheorghe (Saint George). The last two branches form the Tulcea
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.

Main distributaries of the Danube

Danube
Danube
arm Length (km) Flow (m3/s) (1921–1990)

Chilia 120 3800

Sulina 64 1250

Sfântul Gheorghe (Saint George)

70 1500

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.

Map created in 2010

Danube
Danube
Delta in Romania

Climate[edit] The climate of the Danube
Danube
Delta is continental, with strong influences from the vicinity of the Black Sea
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. Main ecosystems[edit]

Danube
Danube
Delta in Romania

Danube
Danube
Delta: old mill in Letea

The Danube
Danube
Delta falls within the Pannonian steppe
Pannonian steppe
ecosystem of eastern Europe, with Mediterranean influences. As a young region in full process of consolidation, the Danube
Danube
Delta represents a very favourable place for the development of highly diverse flora and fauna, unique[clarification needed] 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
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,[8] of which 166 are hatching species and 159 are migratory. Over one million individual birds (swans, wild ducks, coots, etc.) winter here. Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of running water[edit] 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
Danube
mackerel). Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of stagnant water[edit] This environment includes the lakes, and various ponds, streamlets and channels. It is characterized by a rich floating and submerse flora (Myriophyllum, Ceratophyllum, Vallisneria
Vallisneria
etc., under the water; Nymphaea alba, Nuphar lutea, Trapa natans, Alisma plantago
Alisma plantago
etc., floating plants with roots near the lakes' borders; and Salvinia natans, Stratiotes aloides, Spirogyra
Spirogyra
etc., floating plants without roots, having negative effect for aquatic bioproductivity). Of the fish, the most important are Tench
Tench
(Tinca tinca), common bream (Abramis brama), common rudd (Scardinius erythropthalmus), Prussian carp (Carassius auratus gibelio), wels catfish (Silurus glanis), European perch
European perch
(Perca fluviatilis), and northern pike (Esox lucius). Ecosystem
Ecosystem
of marshy and flooding areas[edit]

Pelicans in Danube
Danube
Delta

The Danube
Danube
Delta birds: grey heron (Ardea cinerea), mallard or wild duck (Anas platyrhynchos), great white pelican (Ardea cinerea), great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus). Stamp of Romania, 2004.

Reed plants and floating reed islands (called plaur in Romania) are the most common and well known components of the Danube
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
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
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. River bank and levee ecosystems[edit]

Black-crowned night heron

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
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
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
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
Letea
levee, these exotic-looking forests grow especially in the depressions between the sand dunes, in small groves called hasmace. Fauna
Fauna
of this region include the meadow viper (Vipera ursinii), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and Eurasian eagle owl
Eurasian eagle owl
(Bubo bubo), etc. Inhabitants[edit]

Lipovan
Lipovan
fisherman of Chilia Veche

Vylkove
Vylkove
(Ukraine), 1962

Dyked and dried areas in the communist time

The "M&B" natural reservations of the Danube
Danube
delta (red: in Ukraine; yellow: in Romania)

The Danube
Danube
Delta is perhaps the least inhabited region of temperate Europe.[9][citation needed] 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, have 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.

Sulina
Sulina
City - 1870 Lighthouse

Its acute isolation and harsh conditions of living, based mainly on subsistence, made the Danube
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
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
Romanians
account for approximately 80% of the population, and Ukrainians
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
Russia
during the 18th century. On the Ukrainian side, located at the northern edge of the delta, the town of Izmail
Izmail
has a population of 85,000, Kiliya a population of 21,800, and Vilkovo, the main center of the Lipovan
Lipovan
community, a population of 9,300. History[edit]

The Danube
Danube
Delta in 1867, as a part of the Ottoman Empire

Recorded history notes that the Dacians
Dacians
lived in the Danube
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
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
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
Russia
and Romania, the border between the two countries was set by the Kilia and Old Stambul Channels.

Territorial losses of Romania
Romania
in the Danube
Danube
delta since 1948

In 1991, the Romanian part of the Danube
Danube
Delta became part of UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. Around 2,733 km2 of the delta are strictly protected areas. In 1998, under UNESCO's Programme on Man and the Biosphere, the 6,264.03 km2 of the Danube
Danube
Delta were established as a biosphere reserve, shared by Romania
Romania
and Ukraine. Historically, in Romania, part of the Danube
Danube
Delta was marked as a reserve in 1938. In Ukraine, the Danube
Danube
branch of the Black Sea
Black Sea
State Reserve was established in 1973. In 1981, it was reorganized into the Natural Reserve " Danube
Danube
Fluxes", and in 1998, it was extended into the Danube biosphere reserve. Environmental issues[edit]

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Reeds growing in the Danube
Danube
Delta

Large-scale works began in the Danube
Danube
Delta as early as the second half of the 19th century.[10] First corrections of the Sulina
Sulina
arm began in 1862, and they continued throughout the 20th century. As a result, the length of the Sulina
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
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
Ukraine
inaugurated work on the Bistroe Channel
Bistroe Channel
that would provide an additional navigable link from the Black Sea
Black Sea
to the populous Ukrainian section of the Danube
Danube
Delta. However, because of the negative impact which this new channel might have on the fragile ecosystem of the delta, the European Union
European Union
advised Ukraine
Ukraine
to shut down the works. Romanian officials threatened to sue Ukraine
Ukraine
at the International Court of Justice. Under the presidency of Kuchma, Ukraine
Ukraine
had responded that Romania
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
Romania
in 2005, both sides agree that professionals should decide the fate of the channel. In the long run, Ukraine
Ukraine
plans to build a navigation channel, if not through Bistroe Channel, then through another channel. See also[edit]

Geography of Romania

Topography

Carpathians (peaks) Plains & Delta Islands

Hydrography

Rivers (Danube) Lakes Black Sea

Climate

History of Dobruja Tourism in Romania List of World Heritage Sites in Romania Birds of the Danube
Danube
Delta

A series of articles on control of the Danube, in chronological order

Internationalization of the Danube
Danube
River, for events from earliest times to the Treaty of Paris in 1856 Commissions of the Danube
Danube
River, for the international body governing the waterway from 1856 to 1940 Nazi rule over the Danube
Danube
River, for events during World War II Danube
Danube
River Conference of 1948 International Commission for the Protection of the Danube
Danube
River, for the organization established in 1998 and charged with environmental and ecological activities

References[edit]

^ Danube
Danube
Delta - UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Centre ^ Giosan et al., 2006, Young Danube
Danube
delta documents stable Black Sea level since the middle Holocene: Morphodynamic, paleogeographic, and archaeological implications, Geology, 34, 757–760 (2006). [1][2] ^ Giosan et al., 2009, Early Anthropogenic Transformation of the Danube- Black Sea
Black Sea
System, Scientific Reports, 2, 582, [3][4] ^ a b Rachel Newer (September 14, 2012). "Comments From Ancient Deforestation, a Delta Is Born". The New York Times. Retrieved September 17, 2012.  ^ Liviu Giosan; Marco J. L. Coolen; Jed O. Kaplan; Stefan Constantinescu; Florin Filip; Mariana Filipova-Marinova; Albert J. Kettner; Nick Thom (August 30, 2012). "Early Anthropogenic Transformation of the Danube- Black Sea
Black Sea
System". Scientific Reports. 2 (article number 582). doi:10.1038/srep00582. PMC 3430877 . PMID 22937219. Retrieved September 17, 2012. Sediment
Sediment
loads delivered by Danube
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.  ^ Giosan et al., 2009, Maintenance of large deltas through channelization: Nature vs. humans in the Danube
Danube
delta. Anthropocene. ^ http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/maintaining_deltas ^ Danube
Danube
Delta - UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Centre ^ "The Danube
Danube
Delta – Halmyris". www.halmyris.org. Retrieved 2017-12-18.  ^ Iordachi, Constantin, Van Assche, Kristof (2014) The Bio-Politics of the Danube
Danube
Delta. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-9514-7

External links[edit]

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Danube
Delta.

Danube
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Delta Romania UNESCO
UNESCO
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Danube
Delta World Heritage Site Danube
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Delta Biosphere Reserve Join the Danube
Danube
Delta Community to share your travel experience, photos, videos and learn more. (in English) Danube
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Delta "Street view" - navigate along the channels in Google Street View panoramic fashion Photo Gallery - Danube
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Danube
Delta

v t e

Seven Natural Wonders of Romania

Danube
Danube
Delta Retezat National Park Scărișoara Cave Cheile Nerei-Beușnița National Park Ceahlău Massif Piatra Craiului Mountains Sphinx and Babele

v t e

World Heritage Sites in Romania

Cultural

Churches of Moldavia

Arbore Humor Moldovița Pătrăuți Probota Suceava Sucevița Voroneț

Dacian Fortresses of the Orăștie Mountains

Bănița Căpâlna Costești-Blidaru Costești-Cetățuie Piatra Roșie Sarmizegetusa Regia

Historic Centre of Sighișoara Monastery of Horezu Villages with Fortified Churches in Transylvania

Biertan Câlnic Dârjiu Prejmer Saschiz Valea Viilor Viscri

Wooden Churches of Maramureș

Bârsana Budești Desești Ieud Plopiș Poienile Izei Rogoz Șurdești

Natural

Danube
Danube
Delta Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe

Cheile Nerei-Beușnița Cozia Massif Domogled-Valea Cernei Groșii Țibleșului Izvoarele Nerei Lotru Mountains Șinca
Șinca
Secular Forest Strâmbu-Băiuț Slătioara Secular Forest

v t e

Protected areas of Romania

Biosphere reserves

Danube
Danube
Delta Retezat Rodna

National parks

Buila-Vânturarița Călimani Ceahlău Cheile Bicazului-Hășmaș Cheile Nerei-Beușnița Cozia Defileul Jiului Domogled-Valea Cernei Măcin Mountains Piatra Craiului Mountains Rodna Semenic-Cheile Carașului

Nature parks

Apuseni Balta Mică a Brăilei Bucegi Cefa Cindrel Comana Defileul Mureșului Superior Dumbrava Sibiului Grădiștea Muncelului-Cioclovina Hateg Country Dinosaur Geopark Iron Gates Lunca Joasă a Prutului Inferior Lunca Mureșului Maramureș Mountains Mehedinți Plateau Geopark Putna-Vrancea Vânători-Neamț

Nature reserves

Bicaz Canyon Cehei Pond Cheile Turzii Izvorul Bigăr Lapiș Forest Letea
Letea
Forest Mount Stogu Ostrovul Ciocănești Repedea Hill Fossil Site Mount Tâmpa

v t e

National Conservation Areas of Nature in Ukraine

Biosphere reserves

Askania-Nova Black Sea Carpathian Danube East Carpathian Roztochya

Nature reserves

Cape Martian Chalk Flora Cheremske Crimea Dnieper-Oril Drevlyans Gorgany Kaniv Karadag Kazantyp Luhansk Medobory Michael's Virgin Land Opuk Polissya Provallya Steppe Rivne Stanychno-Luhanske Stone Tombs Striletsky Steppe Swan Islands Ukrainian Steppe Yalta Mount-Forest Yelanets Steppe

National nature parks

Azov Azov-Syvash Blue Mountain Buzk's Gard Carpathian Charming Harbor Cheremosh Derman-Ostroh Desna-Starahuta Dvorichna Dzharylhak Great Meadow Halych Hetman Holosiiv Holy Mountains Homolsh Woods Hutsulshchyna Ichnya Ivory Coast of Sviatoslav Karmelyuk's Podillya Khotyn Kremenets Mountains Lower Dniester Lower Sula Mezynsky Northern Podillya Podilian Tovtry Prypiat-Stokhid Pyryatyn Shatsk Siversky Donetsk Skole Beskids Sloboda Synevir Tuzly Lagoons Uzhanian Verkhovyna Vyzhnytsia White Lake Yavoriv Zalissya Zacharovany Krai Lower Polissia Upper Pobozhia

Categories of protecte

.