Saline Ulcinj

Salt, water and Greater Spotted Eagles

Salt from Ulcinj Salina
© Martin Schneider-Jacoby

A part of the Bojana-Buna Delta, the salt flats of Ulcinj in Montenegro with its 1 500 hectares are not only one of the largest salinas in the Mediterranean. The lagoon which was re-shaped to harvest salt is also the most important resting, breeding and wintering area for migratory birds on the east Adriatic coast. In particular the yearly flooding and the subsequent gradual drying of the evaporation ponds create valuable wetland habitats for numerous waders and waterbirds.

Bird watchers certainly have their fill of sightings at the salt flats of Ulcinj: some years up to 200 Eurasian Spoonbills and 100 Dalmatian Pelicans come here to rest. Birds of prey such as Osprey European Honey Buzzard, Lesser Kestrel, Black Kite, Western Marsh-harrier, Greater Spotted Eagle and Peregrine Falcon are regular visitors. Also for rarer breeds from the cultivated countryside of our part of the world - such as Corn Bunting and Wood Lark - Solana Ulcinj is an important resting place. 

But this oasis for migratory birds is in jeopardy. There has been steadily mounting pressure from the tourist industry to allow investors to build on the land and “develop” it for their purposes. In addition the further operation of the Salt Works is endangered for economic reasons. And a particularly burning issue in Solana Ulcinj is bird hunting.



What actions are EuroNatur and its partners undertaking?

  • Fighting against bird hunting on the east Adriatic coast.
  • Creating valuable data to argue the case: in 2002 already, working with its partners EuroNatur delivered evidence in black and white of the great ecological value of the Bojana-Buna Delta and neighbouring Ulcinj salt flats in this way providing the required arguments for the protection of the area.
  • Monitoring bird populations: if regular counts are held early information on changes can be gained.
  • Developing successful protection concepts: We support the municipality of Ulcinj to develop a management plan showing how to protect Solana Ulcinj effectively and how to use its great ecological potential in a way compatible with Nature.
  • Supporting the successful breeding of rare bird species: each season we erect appropriate platforms or nesting areas for Common Shelduck, European Roller, Little Tern, Little Owl and Hoopoe.
  • Enabling people to learn about the environment: to achieve the preservation of the Solana as a bird paradise we are setting up ways for visitors to sight and watch birds close up without disturbing them.
  • Raising national and international awareness: Special awareness has been raised by several conferences on the protection of Salina Ulicnj as birds paradise. Representatives of the policy arena and nature conservation as well as inhabitants of the Ulcinj municipality took part. In the course of excursions representatives of the important institutions responsible for the protection of birds in Europe were able to form a first-hand picture of the outstanding value of the salt flats as a resting place for migrating birds.


What we have achieved so far – a selection of important successes

  • The preconditions have been created for the Montenegrin government to submit an application for the nomination of Ulcinj Salina as a Ramsar area.
  • In 2018 we started an international petition to raise public pressure towards the Montenegrin gouvernment. The petition was addressed to the Montenegrin prime minister and called, among other things, for the declaration of Ulcinj Salina as protected area. Far more than 100,000 people signed the petition. 
  • The EU made protection of Ulcinj Salina a precondition for Montenegro’s accession.
  • In June 2019 the Ulcinj Salina  has been declared a Nature Park and thus received protected area status for the first time in history.
  • In consultation with the management of the Salt Works EuroNatur has pushed through a ban on bird hunting.
  • In cooperation with the Solana Ulcinj Company and our local partners we are carrying out regular surveillance. This measure increases pressure on bird hunters to refrain from shooting birds.
  • In a former administrative building at the Salt Works the first Information Centre in Montenegro has been established.
  • An observation tower makes it possible to watch birds from close to without disturbing them. Groups are guided on bird tours through the Salt Works area regularly, as they have been since 2007.
  • In order to foster nature-based tourism as an income source, a bicycle rental service was opened at the salt works which now allows visitors to explore the area by bicycle.

Partners: Centre for Bird Protection and Monitoring in Montenegro (CZIP), Martin Schneider Jacoby Association (MSJA), BirdLife International, Tour du Valat

Sponsors: Mava Foundation, EuroNatur's donors and sponsors
 

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Brochure about Ulcinj Salina

This brochure will give you information on the Salina‘s history, the problems the Salina is facing, and how the protection campaign #SaveSalina helps to ensure the survival of this important ecosystem.

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Visitor's map Ulcinj Salina

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Short film about the birds in Salina Ulcinj

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Documentary about the people of Ulcinj "A journey through generations"

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How you can help

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