Koumoundourou Lake, Attika - near Athens
An uniquely complex site for conservation and restoration is the tiny spring-fed lagoon of Koumoundourou Lake, just 10 or so km west of Athens. It is notorious for its polluted waters- some of the waters polluted from subterranean connections in the aquifer - oil refineries, huge landfill sites and other polluters are nearby.
Hydrocarbons from the oil industry have been a serious problem and refineries are located right next door. When I was a kid my father used to talk to me about the lake's fish since we had a second home nearby at Eleusis. Yes, the wetland is connected to the Eleusis mysteries....This sacred wetland was a famous fish-gathering lagoon since ancient times, in fact. Now after the mid '90s - in an effort to stop the seepage of polluted groundwater the water levels have been heightened through the creation of a sluice at the lagoon's outlet to the sea. Increased water levels seem to have change the hydrology and the seepage of oils and polluted groundwaters. But the movement of migratory fishes is nearly totally blocked. Based on anecdotes from local fishermen, several grey mullet species (Mugilidae), a blenny species (Blennidae), sea bass (Dicentrarchus sp.), sand smelt (Atherina sp.) and guilt-head bream (Sparus auratus) used to inhabit Koumoundourou Lake. Now only three species are left, primarily dominated by the alien Mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki)!!
Our research team at HCMR has been working for many years on this area and doing careful monitoring. Locals and local environmentalists are also concerned and spearheading campaigns for the conservation and protection from pollution. But its not just pollution. The whole ecosystem needs careful planning, adaptive management towards restoration. We recently published a diagnosis and specific proposals for incremental steps towards restoration.
Please see the paper:
|Wetland inside an industrial heartland. Can it be restored? And how?|
|The small lagoon has been a target for monitoring - everything from chemistry, ichthyology and ornithology...|