Lake Stymfalia is a shallow, marshy lake in the mountainous part of the Corinthia region. The lake is covered by dense reedbeds, fed by natural springs and drained by underground rivers. It is part of the Natura 2000 network and is an important refuge for rare breeding, passage and wintering waterbirds. Prior to the project Lake Stymfalia had been subject to intense pressures, including the uncontrolled discharge of solid and liquid waste, poaching, uncontrolled pumping of water for irrigation and domestic water supplies, and the expansion of reedbeds. There was no management plan for the area, which had resulted in the unsustainable use of its natural resources.
The LIFE Stymfalia project was set up to restore the lake, through restoring important wetland habitats and creating the right conditions for their continued protection after the end of the project by ensuring that the required financial resources would be raised by this same wetland management. The project consisted of water management, reedbed management and utilisation, the creation of habitat and areas for birds, activities for the protection of birds, public awareness raising activities, wardening and monitoring of the habitat.
The Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP) participated in the project, sharing the benefit of its years of experience in the management of wetland habitats, notably in the successful LIFE Mikri Prespa project (2002-2007), which was declared one of the best five LIFE projects funded by the European Commission in 2007-2008. The SPP took part in the LIFE Stymfalia project activities that related to the management and use of reedbeds, as well as the management and restoration of important wetland habitats and fauna at the lake. In addition, the SPP also helped the project team to develop management and operational plans for the establishment of a farmers’ network and prepare a contract for the management of the wetland. The ultimate goal was to create a management unit that would establish a system for the sound environmental management and environmentally-friendly economic development of the region.