Stepa Casimcea SPA



The site is covered in most of the territory by areas of high and weakly undulating plains. The central part of the plateau has heights between 100 and 300 m. Towards the Danube side there are deep and narrow valleys, with steep banks, heavily eroded, fragmenting strongly the plateau (Casimcea Valley, Corugea Valley and Haidarulei Valley). In the south-east part of the Casimcea Plateau, limestone rocks allowed the development of the karst landform represented through small sinkholes and caves. The area is also covered by several rivers, the most important being the Casimcea River, which flows into Lake Tașaul. Within the site there are deciduous forests, steppe meadows and agricultural crops, the last ones occupying almost 50% of the site. The land is mostly used for agriculture, forestry and grazing.

The area is home for several species of mammals, the most representative are European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus), Romanian hamster (Mesocricetus newtoni), Steppe polecat (Mustela eversmannii), Southern birch mouse (Sicista subtilis), Marbled polecat (Vormela peregusna). Other important vertebrates are Fourlined snake (Elaphe quatuorlineata), Greek tortoise (Testudo graeca), European fire-bellied toad (Bombina bombina) and Greater horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus ferrumequinum).

Birds in the protected area

In the site can be seen over 55 bird species. Of the birds occurring there, 28 are included in Annex I of Birds Directive.
The Saker falcon is using the site as a foraging ground and as a breeding site, due to very dense population of the European ground squirrel and many other passerines.

Stepa Casimcea is very important for many bird species, especially raptors, which use the site as a breeding or foraging ground, like Levant sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes), Long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus), Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus), Pallid harrier (Circus macrourus), Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus), Marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Montagu's harrier (Circus pygargus), Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), Red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus), Eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca), Lesser spotted eagle (Aquila pomarina), Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus), European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus), Black kite (Milvus migrans).

Threats to the protected area

  • Human activities
    The site is subject to anthropogenic pressure especially through the traditional grazing activity and intensive farming activities through the use of large amounts of pesticides.
  • Wind turbine farms
    The construction of wind farms at the site will reduce the areas used by species that nest in grassland habitats or crops and will have a major negative impact on bird migration. The wind farms in the vicinity of the site also affect the feeding habitats of some bird species that nest on the territory of the site.