Ohrid Lake

The lake is one of the largest biological reserves in Europe, possessing unique flora and fauna which are extinct elswere. Only Lake Ohrid, Lake Tanganyka, Lake Caspi, and Lake Baikal are believed to have been formed during the Tertiary Period some 2-4 million years ago, and hence these lakes are characterized by unique flora and fauna distinct to that period. Due to its age, many of Lake Ohrid’s aquatic species are endemic including ten of the seventeen fish species. In addition, there are five particular endemic species which are restricted to small areas of the Lake such as special various birds, as well as four fish spawning grounds. Because of its rich history and unique flora and fauna, Lake Ohrid was declared a UNESCO World Cultural and Natural heritage Site in 1980.

Ohrid lake - Satelite photo


A clear danger exists to maintaining the long-term ecological stability of Lake Ohrid, unless action is taken to improve environmental management of the catchment area and the shoreline to prevent the accumulation of pollutants in the lake. Despite a number of remedial measures, less than 25% of wastewater in the catchment is treated. These conditions have led to an increase in the total phosphorus concentration of about 0.25mg/m3 over the past decade with a mean contrentacion estimated at between 7-8 mg/m3. The current loading of dissolved phosphorus is approximately 150 tons per year, and this would need to be reduced to 100 tons per year to keep the main concentration of phosphorus below 7 mg/m3.



The project Feasibility Study identified an investment program of approximately US$ 50 million, while the project is proposed as a grant of US$ 3.97 million from GEF. The project will finance only the incremental costs associated with the management of transboundary issues in the Lake Ohrid Basin. This includes investments and activities associated with the development and implementation of a monitoring program, institutional strengthening, public participation, watershed action plan, design of a financing mechanism to ensure sustainability, and small-scale priority pilot projects with a high potential for demonstration and replicability.

The project is proposed as a stand-alone one, and is intended to be a catalyst for other donors to provide parallel financial support for other projects. The entire GEF project will be implemented over a three-year period, with the intention that the wider watershed action plan and investment program for the protection and management of the Lake Ohrid region would form the foundation for future technical assistance and investment activities.

Two Projects Implementations Units, located in Pogradec and Ohrid City respectively have been established and are responsible for all administrative matters in the implementation of LOCP activities including procurement, contracts, and disbursement of funds.

Dame Gruev 14, 91000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
E-mail: gjorgeva@unet.com. mk