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Hellenic Ornithological Society
Agras-Vritta-Nisi Wetland

The wetland is situated 7 km NW of the city of Edessa and covers an area of 600 ha. It extends at the former floodplain of of Edessaios river, at the area historically known as the marshes of i Tiavou. The wetland, became a water reservoir during the 50s, after the construction of a dam and dikes by the Public Electricity Corporation, to covering the needs of the Agras hydropower plant.

The pre-existing wetland retained most of its functions, resulting in the development of a valuable ecosystem, of great importance for the biodiversity, especially water birds . Up to now, more than 140 bird species have been recorded, among which the swans, coots, little grebes and little bitterns are the most characteristic, while, among ducks, the ferruginus duck is the most important one.

The presence of human settlements at the area has been related, from ancient time, not only to traditional wetland associated activities, like fishing and stock-raising, but also, to the sustainable use of the waterfalls as a renewable energy resource and for the irrigation of agricultural land, activities that are practised at a wider area, including the city of Edessa.

The wetland is a characteristic case of a long term co-existence of man and nature, the harmony of which has been disturbed over the past few years, due to several problems that the ecosystem is facing. Their impacts provoked the awareness of local community, resulting in the implementation of the LIFE-Nature project entitled "Implementation of management measures at the wetland of Agras", aiming in the application of multiple purpose wetland management and the conservation of wetland functions and values in a socio-economically compatible way.

The wetland of Agras is one of the few remaining active peatlands in Greece. The peat layer exceeds 20 m in certain locations and taking into consideration that peat formation is a very slow natural process, the development of such a thick layer must have occurred through many thousand years.
Due to its ornithological importance the wetland and its surrounding area have been designated as a Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive. It has also been included in the list of proposed Special Areas of Conservation to form part of the Natura 2000 network. A Life project is running aiming to improve wetland habitat conditions and since 2008 the Hellenic Ornithological Society has been running a European Volunteer Service in the wetland.
The wetland Information Center is located at the entrance of the area, close to the intersection of the national driveway from Edessa to Florina with the provincial road to Kerasia.
The volunteers stay in Agras - Vritta - Nisi Wetland all through the year. Depending the season, they do several important volunteer services:

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