Estuaries of the rivers Halari, Voutside, Mirsona and Haraka

The three estuaries of the Halari, Voutside, and Mirsona rivers are located respectively within the areas of Nas, Kambos, Gialiskari and Armenisti. All four rivers flow year round with brackish water and serve as a natural irrigation system to the small cultivations scattered along the riverbanks. Additionally, these wetlands feature rich biodiversity of both flora and fauna, among them a large number of protected and endemic species. A large variety of trees and bushes can be found here, such as reeds, bushes (oleander and schinous) and trees (alderwood and tamarisk). Several types of birds, amphibians and reptiles also inhabit the estuary. The Halari Gorge is home to several rare and protected species, among which are the Turkish lizard, river otter, a rare type of freshwater crab, and a bottom-dwelling fish of the salaria genus. Most interesting of all is the European eel, a species which migrates from America, crosses the ocean for three years before reaching the rivers of Ikaria. The gorge also provides shelter to dozens of permanent and migratory birds, such as falcons, egrets and bitterns. Overgrazing and extreme draining for agricultural purposes pose the greatest risks to the estuaries’ ecosystem. Recently, increased tourism during the summer months has also had a negative effect, as the estuaries frequently drain into beaches full of tourists.

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