Project duration: May 2015 – April 2017

Total project value: 1.556.177 Euro

Project financed through EEA Grants 2009-2014, RO 02 Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Programme, Project call no. 3 “Large Ecosystems Restoration Scheme”

Program Operator: Ministry of Environment

Project Promoter: Danube Delta National Institute for Research and Development

Partner 1: NINA, Norway

Partner 2: ARBDD Tulcea

Project Director: Dr. ing. Eugenia CIOACĂ

Project description:

The main action proposed in this project consists in hydrotechnical restoration works, dredging of secondary canals, over a length of 13 560 m, in two protected areas of the Şontea-Fortuna natural area from the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR).

The restoration works aim at restoring or improving the secondary canals / habitats connectivity to the main canals, migration routes of aquatic species, especially in the Danube river low water level conditions.

Restoring the habitats is a prerequisite for restoring, improving and maintaining the favorable conservation status of aquatic species of flora and fauna of European/ National interest Natura 2000 site SPA and SCI of the DDBR.

Actions to restore natural habitats and to inform the public on the importance and effect of the proposed activities in this project, aiming to halt the decline of biodiversity-  as the natural heritage of the DDBR.


Implementation period: 14.09.2007 – 31.12.2010

Project budget: 2.200.000 Lei

Financing program:


Program management unit: CNMP/MEC

Project No /Acronym: 1912 /MORFDD

Project Leader /consortium: DDNI Tulcea/GEOECOMAR Bucharest; POLITEHNICA University Bucharest; INHGA Bucharest

Project Director: Dr. Eng. Eugenia CIOACĂ

Project description:

MORFDD Project has developed a new technology for investigating the environmental situation by evaluating morphohydrographic changes produced as result of fluvial processes: erosion and alluvial sedimentation.

The case study of the project is the environmental system Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (DDBR). This is one of the main components of Danube Delta-Black Sea geosystem. It consists of the Danube Delta territory, Razim-Sinoe lake complex and the coastal marine waters up to 20 m deepth.

In the MORFDD Project there were identified and quantified areas with active fluvial processes within, using Delft 3D program.
Project objectives:

Identification of areas from the DDBR hydrographic network with active fluvial processes; assessment of the morphohydrographic modification; the construction of georeferenced databases regarding the hydro-morphological and morphological regime for the entire study area.

The georeferenced databases, built in this project, are processed in specialized programs: ArcGIS /ArcMap and the hydraulic /mathematical model Delft3D. Both programs have constituted the adequate support in visualization and evaluation of the morphological modifications in  hydrographic network of the DDBR.

The mathematical model Delft3D is a product of Hydraulic Systems, DELTARES, Delft, The Netherlands. It is a software specialized in the numerical modeling of morphohydrographic modification and water quality and solve the hydrodynamics equations for the non-permanent flow and morphological processes in rivers, lakes and  coastal areas, in a system of tri-dimensional coordinates (XYZ).

Both in ArcGIS and in Delft 3D, the input are geo-spatial data (XYZ) and they reyult in numerical /digital maps and morphohydrographic profiles of channels and lakes, morphological configuration of hydrographical units. They  show a spatial distribution of the morphohydrographic modification, as well as their size (erosion depths and/or alluvial sedimentary deposits). Studies and land measurements have been carried out in the framework of this project using equipment and computing technics of high performance, compatible with GIS.


The project result is a scientific basis for knowledge of an environmental system functions, from morfohydrografical point of view as scientific base in the decision-making process regarding the ecological reconstruction and wild species protection and conservation within wetlands and protected areas from DDBR.

Configuraţia morfohidrografică a unităţilor hidrografice Rosu-Puiu şi Dunavăţ-Dranov din RBDD
Configuraţia morfohidrografică a unităţilor hidrografice Rosu-Puiu şi Dunavăţ-Dranov din RBDD

Implementation period: 01.06.2005 – 30.04.2007

Project budget: 90.000 Euro

Funding programme: FP6 / CORINT EU-RO

Unit driving of the program: CNMP/MEC, PNCDI II.

No. /Project acronym: GOCE-CT-2003-004074 /NATURNET-REDIME

Leader project /consortium: Center for Strategic Studies, Czech Republic

Project Director: Dr. Eng. Eugenia CIOACĂ

 Project description:

The project NaturNet-Redime develops two tools as support in training and enhancement of decision-makers (politicians, stakeholders, people involved in the decision-making process, or citizens, students, etc.) on implementation of the European Union strategy for Sustainable Development, in all life domains: social, economic and environmental. These tools are:

NaturNet-Redime Portal ( – divided into different sections as tools and data sources for sustainable development study; the use of the “Qualitative Reasoning” (QR) software /model. This approach is accessible to the general public through the portal NaturNet-Redime. QR model applies the knowledge and assessment of the system state (social, economic, or environmental) through their in-depth knowledge of the causes which affect the process of sustainable development. The model addresses the system structure behavior based on the “cause-effect” principle.

The final result of this project is the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve QR Model. It is built in the  specialized software GARP3. It can be found on the project page Because in the DDBR area aquatic ecosystems are  the most important and extended environment in which natural resources develop (resources of economic and conservative interest, protected by International Conventions), special attention is paid to water quality, as “responsible” for both the DDBR biodiversity conservation or decline and the human being health.

DDBR QR Model is focused on the description of aquatic ecosystems biotic components (populations of flora and fauna) behaviour and human population health, which are directly or indireclty influenced by the water pollution process.

The portal or can be accessed by any person interested in learning how to build a Qualitative Reasoning model and documentation on all aspects related to Sustainable Development.

EIB Grant: “Fish behaviour preparatory study at Iron Gate Hydropower dams and reservoirs” 2014 -2015

( CC6451 / P07337 5 – European Investment Bank Luxemburg) Budget: 221 810 Euro

Partners: Project coordination:  Danube Delta National Institute (DDNI), Tulcea, Romania

Sub-contractors: University of Belgrade, Institute for Multidisciplinary Research (IMSI) Belgrade, Serbia,;  National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), Sofia, Bulgaria,;

External scientific adviser & monitor : Finn Økland – NINA Trondheim; EIB Assignment Manager: Stephen Hart & Aimilia Pistrika;

EIB Contract Manager: Luc McCoy

Project description:

ADCP velocity measurements and 3D bathymetric surveys, conducted by DDNI team d/s Iron Gate 2, have been shown as essential for understanding the behaviour of fish approaching the dam.

DDNI team has developed and experimented floats and anchoring systems which will enable installing submerged acoustic telemetry receivers in the difficult hydraulic conditions d/s Iron Gate dams.

Capturing, tagging and successfully recording movements of large sturgeons and three other migratory fish species by Bulgarian and Serbian partners have demonstrated that they acquired the knowledge and skill needed to contribute efficiently in the next / larger project on fish behaviour in relation to Iron gates dams and reservoirs.

Genetic analysis and size of sturgeons recorded during year 2014 and 2015 arriving at Iron Gate 2 have revealed that these individuals belong to groupings spawning in the Serbian and Bulgarian reach of the river d/s Iron Gates, being born after the construction of the dam, in year 1974. Very large sturgeons, born before 1974 u/s the Iron Gate dams, are arriving there at longer time intervals and have not yet been captured and tagged by the pilot and preparatory projects conducted during 2013 – 2015.

Detailed tests, conducted during June 2015, jointly by Romanian and Serbian staff under the guidance of Norwegian expert, with acoustic and radio telemetry equipment from three different companies have shown that, due to extremely difficult hydraulic conditions d/s Iron Gate dams, radio telemetry cannot be used for tracking movement of bottom swimming fish (sturgeons, cat fish, common barbel), while a combination of 3D acoustic positioning and novel signal strength recording acoustic receivers will achieve the resolution required for understanding movements of fish and positioning of entrance(s) of fish passages.

A preliminary location of the entrance to the fish passage needed on the left / Romanian bank d/s the main Iron Gate 2 dam has been proposed based on behaviour and preferences of three migratory fish species (beluga sturgeons, common barbel and European catfish), which were tagged and tracked in this project, corroborated with underwater relief information from the bathymetric survey conducted by this project in March 2015.

Results of this preparatory project and a monitoring strategy of sturgeon behaviour in relation to design and construction of fish passages at Iron Gate dams have been presented and discussed during the World Fish Passage Conference 2015 held in The Netherlands in June 2015.

Objectives and outcomes of this project were presented to the national fisheries authorities in Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, to other stakeholders, including the Iron Gate / Djerdap HPP operators and local communities in Romania and Serbia.

To share the experience and knowledge accumulated during this preparatory project an international workshop with experts of 9 countries was organized in Tulcea and two correlated project proposals related to fish passages at Iron Gate dams were drafted.

An Expression of Interest on the on a larger LDR and MDR project proposal to further study the hydraulic conditions and detailed fish behaviour for re-establishing longitudinal connectivity at Iron Gate dams, locate and map critical habitats for sturgeons and their functioning in the Lower and the Middle Danube River was submitted in early Dec. 2015 by a consortium of 8 institutes and universities from all countries of the region (SK, HU, HR, RS, BG, RO, UA), the WWF DCP Office in Romania, the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture and the Romanian Ministry of Environment, as supporting partners.

Norway Grants (85%) and Romanian Ministry of Environment (15%): “Beluga Sturgeon Community based Tourism” (BESTCOMBAT), 2009-2011

(KnRin/ – 2008/112231) Budget: 1 260 000 Euro.

Project leader: Radu Suciu / INCDDD Tulcea

Partners:, NIVA Oslo, NTNU Trondheim, Kaviar House Ltd. Isaccea

Project description:

The Best Combat project combined biology, sociology and tourism with the aim of conserving Danube beluga sturgeon by supporting and educating local communities to develop new livelihoods (with a focus on community based tourism) as an alternative to the unsustainable fishing of the endangered beluga. In 2009 Best Combat scientists conducted the world’s first satellite tagging of Beluga sturgeon. Five male fish were released with tags and their individual journeys into the Black Sea recorded. Harald from Stelnica, Romania, where he was released, along the Danube and onto the northwest shelf of the Black Sea. After 5 months at sea his tag started transmitting prematurely and reveal Harald`s travel route in the Northern Black Sea.

The Caviar Road aims to lead tourists on the journey of the beluga, along the Danube through the Romanian countryside, to the mouth of the Black Sea. Points of interest include; visiting a sturgeon hatchery, where you can see and touch these fascinating fish; Enjoying a stopover at Sfântu Gheorghe a traditional sturgeon fisherman’s village in the heart of the Danube delta and; Viewing the Roman forts of Carsium and Noviodunum whose fallen ruins in the Danube are now used by sturgeon for spawning.