Bringing a lake back to life as Karla is restored

Fish, birds, animals and wild plant life will soon return to a place where crops of wheat and corn now grow. If all goes well, the ecosystem of what was once Lake Karla is expected to come back to life with the autumn rains. A rejuvenation project being carried out in the area won’t be completed until late 2008, as the study for the Pineios pumping station – which will handle 60 percent of the water for the lake – is still in progress. Magnesia Prefect Ioannis Printzos told Kathimerini that only five percent of the project remains unfinished. The delays are due in part to the archeological authorities who are also at work in the area. The tunnel that channeled water to the Pagasitic Gulf has been closed, and rainwater will fill up the reservoir, which will look like a lake. The Pagasitikos will be freed of a major source of pollution, caused by crop runoff containing fertilizers, pesticides and industrial waste. The new lake will hold an estimated 148 million cubic meters of water, of which some 60 million cubic meters a year will become available for irrigation once the ecosystem is restored. Hundreds of thousands of birds used to nest in the area. Experts now say it will be difficult to revive the old ecosystem, though the lake will attract animals and birds. Also, many residents of the area were once fishermen. Before the lake dried out, it used to yield up to 900 metric tons of fish a year. Locals may find employment in new activities. Among the plans under consideration for local development are a natural history museum, a model plane club, a shooting range and the refurbishment of part of the lakeside area to look as it once did – with fishermen’s huts and boats. Efforts will also be made to to build up agri-tourism in the Lake Karla area.

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