Alyki Anavissos Wetland: At conservation-development crossroads?

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Alyki Anavissos Wetland: At conservation-development crossroads?


Aliki Anavisos Wetland (Anavisos, Attiki)
28 November 2015 public session

Local residents and volunteer ecologists held a public meeting in Anavisos yesterday; About sixty citizens gathered. The future of the marshes is at stake: the ancient salt pans are special "public assets kept by the government in the land fund", probably for "development purposes" (the tin lagoons of Corfu are in a similar situation...) This is Greece. in the deep depression, the swamps of Aliki Anavisos, can be used as an excuse to sell?

I think most locals and many Athenians are against this sale. In addition, this site is a designated protected wetland (approved July 2014). And concerned citizens of the area have long been fighting to stop the real development that has taken place in the area in the past.

The Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) has known of the site for many years, but no detailed investigation has been carried out. The year 2015 was a special year as some local and Athenian naturalists gathered to systematically map the fauna and flora of the site. A talented young woman named Ira Teofilo frequently visited the site and photographed the birds (she is now the site's HOS ranger). Lefteris Stavrakas co-wrote Birds of Attica to help with the documentation.

Other locals, like volunteer expert Mania Vranopoulou and famous Athenians living or vacationing here, wanted to preserve their “property” status and work. Dimitris Cloras – I call him a leading local lawyer – has a thorough knowledge of the legal situation and history. Professors, archaeologists, professors, craftsmen, artists and without exception some good people... showed genuine interest and seemed genuinely committed to this trip.

But here there is a dilemma for some locals: should we support “functional development ” (called ήπια νόσταση, meaning understanding…) or conservation (like creating a nature park )? Most participants suggested a nature park.

For more information on wetlands and my perspective on the subject, see:


Here I asked Ira Teofilon for permission to post on this blog to share amateur photography (some time ago). Aliki reports on amazing birds in the amazing habitat of Anavissos - all his photos are available in 2015. Few people believe in such a natural environment and birds in Aliki Anavisos - but it's really there..... and many birds, other wild animals and plants are rare and scarce. They really depend on this little swamp. Let's see what happens in 2016...

Buttercups (Ranunculus cf. Aquatilis complex) grow profusely in shallow ponds in spring. It is one of the few places in Attica with this type of residence. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).


Small Eggs Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Light dry. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Hairy Crab (L). Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Sandpiper Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Small Eggs Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Traveling photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Black-billed Gull - Attica is a rare species. Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Black collared stilettos. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Yellow Wagtail Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Black Crowned Night Heron. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Rough wood with sand. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Small Gravelot. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

Gray Heron Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Shelduck hut. Attica is a rare species. Photo by Ira Theofilo (Spring 2015).

Shelduck in a semi-natural spring pool and dam habitat. Photo by Ira Theofilo (spring 2015).

On November 28, 2015: A public meeting was held at a small school that is now a community center run by the Aristodeikos Association. It was a wonderful video presentation by Christos Kotsiris . Photo taken by me (but embarrassing).

Annual 28 November 2015: HOS Super -Birds Lefteris Stavrakas and Ira Theofilo (Video Camera Center, L) do a great team effort to explain the ornithological richness of the Aliki Anavisu wetland.


Site Name in English One note: I have chosen to call the site "Alyki Anavissos Wetland". In Greek Αλυκές Αναβύσσου - Αλυκές it is called the Great Salt Pan. Some Greek speakers call the site Αλυκή "Alyki". It is common in the Greek salt marshes - Aliki and Aleks are used for the same place. I think Aliki Anavisos sounds better in English. However...





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