Vidin Region

Environment and natural resources

As a whole Vidin region is characterized with preserved natural potential because of the lack of large-scale enterprises.

The water resources in the region are decided from underground and surface water. The Timok and Danube rivers are natural frontiers between Bulgaria and Serbia and Bulgaria – Romania on the other hand. The rivers Topolovets, Voinishka, Vidbol, Archar, Skomlya and Lom flow through the region and together with their tributaries which are characterized with spring high water and the stable autumn-winter low water.

The largest basin is the Rabisha Lake, located at the West part of the Fore next to the cave "Magura". Its area is about 3.43 square kilometers. The lake does not have water catchment and is of non-draining type. In 1963 was build a dam-wall from the west part and the natural lake was converted into a dam. The lake was connected with the Rabisha irrigation system as a reservoir that collects water from the rivers Vidbol and Archar.

Underground water resources in the region are basically of karst origin. The underwater is formed in the sand-gravel horizon, which is in direct connection with the Danube river water and their level is influenced by Danube’s water levels. During the spring period, Danube water is their main source while during September – October the Danube drains it.

On the territory of Vidin Region Vidin-Slanotran-Koshava is discovered a field of highly-thermal waters. The field has proven high levels of mineral components iodine, bromine, etc., making it a valuable natural resource for chemical compounds, iodine and lye for the pharmaceutical industry, production of geothermal and balneology needs.

The water temperature is 41 degrees Celsius and with proven exceptional properties in the treatment of rheumatism, skin diseases, diseases of the upper respiratory tract and the lungs, the gastrointestinal diseases, movement disorders and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

The chemical composition of the water is highly mineralized, making it highly aggressive. The field has not been developed so far.

The soil distribution in the region is connected with its physical and geographical characteristics. In the Danube valley the soil is primary carbonates and typical black earth, leach soils and podzolized are developed in the  highest southern and eastern parts, in the most west  part of the Danube valley ( west from Belogradchik). South from the black earth zone, in the northern parts of the Fore-Balkan are spread dark grey, and in the southern parts - grey forest and maroon forest soils. Humus-carbonate soils are developed in the karst areas. In the rivers’ valleys are spread alluvial-lawn soils. Basic problem for the soils quality is their pollution near the build-up areas with construction and household waste.

The biodiversity in Vidin Region is comparatively rich. The floral variety of the region is a result from the diversity in the conditions and habitations. Almost all typical for Bulgaria habitats are spread on approximately small territory. At the same time there are places where unique conditions have been created for the origin and differentiation of the so called endemics, local species which are spread only in a particular region. Species of that kind is for example the Bulgarian eranthis (Eranthis bulgaricus).

Among the most interesting Balkan endemics are the Siberian melic grass (Melisa altissima), Simphyandra wanery and Serbian ramonda (Ramonda serbica), which is a tertiary relict. The Serbian ramonda is also interesting with a biological phenomenon – the plant can completely recover even if it has spent one and a half year without water and soil. Probably due to this ability to fall into anabiosis, the plant has survived in the continental climate with summer heaths and droughts and winter frosts.

The variety in relief and climate conditions in the region are reason for the formation of extremely multiple plant habitats.

The most notable example of such habitats is the Reserve "Chuprene." The reserve is located in the Western part of the Balkan Mountains, along the main Stara Planina, on the border with Republic of Serbia. It was declared a protected area in 1973 to protect the only compact natural spruce forests in Western Stara Planina. The reserve is also the northernmost habitat of the dwarf in the country. A significant part of the protected area is a coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests of spruce, common beech, mountain maple and white birch, and the rest - land is occupied by alpine meadows, stone rivers, bogs and treeless areas. The average age of coniferous trees is over 130 years. In the reserve all activities are prohibited except for: his security; study visits; the passage of people along marked trails, including educational purposes; collection of seeds, wild plants and animals for scientific purposes or for their restoration elsewhere in quantities, manner and time, precluding damages to ecosystems.

In 1977, the reserve was included in the "Man and Biosphere" Programme of UNESCO, which plays an essential role in nature conservation through building a worldwide network of biosphere reserves.
In the region the beech and oak-hornbeam vegetation zone are developed very well. In fact, the forest vegetation is the original one as the oak forests are the most significant. In many places as a result from human activities, mainly timber industry, the original vegetation has been replaced by industrial species, for example hornbeam with manna-ash, hazel bush, thorny bush and others.

The fauna is very rich - there are 179 bird species, 53 mammal species from which 14 bat species, 11 amphibian species and 15 snake species.  Birds are the most numerous group from the vertebrates. Here one can find species which are threatened in the whole world as Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni) and Corncake (Crex crex). Many of the birds are of European conservation importance – the Black stork (Ciconia nigra), red kite (Milvus milvus), Hen harrier (circus cyaneus), Saker (Falco cherrug), Rock partridge (Alectoris graeca), turtle dove (streptopelia turtur), Eagle owl (Bubo bubo), Barn owl (tyto alba) and others. Among these species are also the most attractive ones in Bulgaria Kingfisher (Alcedo attis), Roller (Coracias garrulous), and blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius). This huge bird variety is due to the fact that one of the main routs of the birds passes through here Via Aristotelis, as well as to the huge variety of habitat.

In order to protect the rich biodiversity and major natural sites in the region were declared 17 protected areas, including the "Magura Cave", "Belogradchik Rocks" and 21 protected areas of the National ecological network "Natura 2000".

Since September 2015 household waste in Vidin region are disposed at the regional landfill for non-hazardous waste. The facility was built with funds from the Operational Programme "Environment 2007-2013" and serves all eleven municipalities in the area or approximately 100 000 inhabitants. The site of the regional landfill is about 13 km from the town of Vidin in "Ramova livada" on area of 221 hectares. The landfill has a capacity of 516,000 tons and 20 year of effective service period. The new regional landfill is part of the overall system of waste management in Vidin region. The implementation of the project provides disposal in an environmentally friendly way, composting of biodegradable waste, treatment of construction waste and meet the commitment to close the so-called old landfills in the municipalities.

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