Public comment will be open for a month before study findings are used to formulate a management plan for protected areas under the EU’s Natura 2000 program in and around the lake and Ioannina.
The ministry has commissioned 23 “special environmental studies” (ESS) for a total of 446 areas belonging to the Natura 2000 network.
Among others, the project foresees the demarcation of classified protection zones of Natura 2000 areas and corresponding conditions and restrictions on land uses and activities aimed at protecting the natural environment and ensuring sustainable tourism development.
The studies for Ioannina cover a 6,424-acre protected area belonging to the municipality of Ioannina and a 55,599-acre area belonging to the municipalities of Ioannina, Dodoni and Zitsa which includes Ioannina woods. Both areas are priorities due to the rare flora and fauna as well as to the important wetland ecosystems.
At the same time, besides being a local landmark, Lake Pamvotida supports multiple economic activities in the region including fishing, agriculture, recreation and tourism.
“Decades later, an important step is being taken for Lake Pamvotida and Ioannina. The special environmental study is open for consultation which will lead to the long-awaited Presidential Decree. We are working to protect the natural environment, while at the same time supporting the development of the economy. It is important to have an institutional framework without obstacles and bureaucracy, but with specific conditions and rules for investments,” said Deputy Environment Minister Giorgos Amyras.
Earlier this month, a WWF Greece study found that Greeks were becoming more sensitive to environmental protection issues, expressing increased interest in learning more about the country’s 446 Natura protected eco-systems.