Another golf course by Balchik will ruin the last Black Sea steppes with endangered bird species

Jan. 17, 2015
Another golf course by Balchik will ruin the last Black Sea steppes with endangered bird species
“Momchil Gold and Gold Course” project is planned to be established on rare steppes, on which a great number of migrant and nesting birds are found, including the greatly endangered species the red-footed falcon and the pallid harrier, as well as the spur-thighed tortoise, the blotched snake and two kinds of mustelids.

A great part of the habitats of the pointed species have been irreversibly destroyed in the neighboring protected bird zone – White Cliffs, on account of the construction of two golf courses – Tracian Cliffs and BlackSeaRama. The experience from the construction of these two golf courses shows that the natural habitats are completely erased and are substituted with artificially planted grasses, which are not local types, buildings and roads are constructed, water areas are created. Thus the natural movement of the rare and protected species is barred, and, in addition, grass blends are used that are aggressive and highly competitive against the local types. They are watered in order to prevent them from drying up, and are treated amply with chemicals in order to prevent the appearance of unwanted grasses.

Due to the erasing of the steppe habitats in the protected zones Complex Kaliakra and the White Cliffs, including during the construction of the golf courses in question, a lawsuit С-141/14 has been opened up in the European Court against Bulgaria, and our country faces the probability to pay large financial fines on account of failure to observe European nature protection law.

A dossier has been opened on the account of Bulgaria in the Bern Convention as well, on account of the intention to build wind generators in Balchik protected area. The investor is fully aware that Bern Convention and European Commission consider this against the law for the reason of impairing birds habitats. With their intention to build a golf complex and a villa complex upon the steppe habitats, the investor and Balchik Municipality put consciously our country in a bad spot and risk of additional financial losses on account of failure to observe European nature protection law.

If built, the new golf course by Balchik will destroy 40 percent of the dry grass habitats on the territory of the protected zone. The building of golf courses has the same type of consequences as that of quarries, afforestation of pastures, meadows and fields, or their conversion into arable lands and perennial plants, which are prohibited as per Art. 6.2 and 6.4 of Ordinance РД-130 from 10.2.2012. The consequences are the same because the habitat is destroyed completely, permanently and irreversibly in the future.

The rare steppe habitats are strictly protected, within Natura 2000, as well as outside of it on the territory of the whole country, but they are localized only in Dobrudzha. At the Black Sea coast they can be protected only in the area in question.

Balchik protected area is a bio-corridor, which connects two other zones from Natura 2000 – the valley of Batova River and Kaliakra Complex.

For more information:
Standpoint of coalition of civil groups and non-governmental organizations For the Nature
Standpoint of the local civil group