Lake Ohrid and Lake Prespa

General Information
The Region of Ohrid and the Prespa Lakes, situated in south-western Europe (40°40’- 41°2N latitude; 20°23’-21°16’E longitude), extends across the borders of Albania, Greece, and Macedonia. Lake Ohrid and Prespa Lakes belong to a group of Dasseretes basins that originated from a geotectonic depression 2 to 5 million years ago on the western Dinarides. Because of the karstic underground a large amount of water of Prespa Lakes seeps into the soil, drains away trough a network of underground fissures, and supplies the springs located on the shore of Lake Ohrid. Lake Prespa is therefore considered to be a part of the Lake Ohrid Watershed. The total area of the Lake Ohrid Watershed amounts 3921 km² of which 1402 km² belong to the Lake Ohrid sub-watershed and 2519 km² to the Prespa Lakes sub-watershed. <!--break--> Lake Ohrid (41°2'19" N, 20°44'13" E) is the oldest lake in Europe. The lake is situated in the Ohrid valley, in the south-western part of Macedonia, bordering Albania; at an altitude of 693.17 m a.s.l. Approximately two thirds of the lake surface area belong to Macedonia and the remaining third to Albania. It has a surface area of 358.2 km2, a maximum depth of 288.7 m, a mean depth of 163.71 m, a water volume of 58.6 km3, and a shoreline length of 87.53 km. The drainage area is 1129 km2, with 40 tributaries. Evaporation (40%) and the main outflow, the river Crn Drim (60%) balance the water budget in Lake Ohrid. The hydraulic residence time in Lake Ohrid is about 70 years. <!--break--> Lake Ohrid is a unique aquatic ecosystem and a hotspot of freshwater biodiversity with more than 210 endemic species described: Bacillariophyta 14%, endoparastic Infusoria 88%, Rhabdocoela 44%, Tricladida 71%, Hirudinea 54%, Gastropoda 90%, Amphipoda 90% and Ostracoda 66%.
- intralacustrine speciation, typical in old, deep and large preglacial lakes.
- a refuge for numerous freshwater organisms from the Tertiary Period, "museum of living fossils“: Ohrid Trout (Salmo letnica) and a freshwater sponge (Ochridospongia rotunda).
- a key site for biodiversity and speciation research. <!--break--> Lake Prespa (40°54' N, 21°02' E) is a transboundary lake shared between Macedonia, Albania and Greece. The lake is located at 849 m above sea level has a surface area of 254 km2, a catchment area of 1300 km2, a maximum water depth of 48 m, a mean water depth of 14 m, and a volume of 3.6 km3. The total inflow is estimated to 16.9 m3s−1, with 56 % originating from river runoff from numerous small streams, 35% from direct precipitation, and 9 % from Lake Mikri Prespa to the south. There is no surface outlet of Lake Prespa. Water loss derives through evaporation (52%), irrigation (2%) and outflow through karst aquifers (46%). <!--break--> Prespa Basin
- high habitat diversity, with a flora of more than 1300 species.
significant bird migration and breeding habitats,
biodiversity: 23 freshwater fish species (80% of which are endemic); 11 amphibian species; 21 reptile species; more than 42 mammal species, among which are endangered brown bear, the wolf, the otter and the chamois; and over 260 species of bird.
a shelter for over 90 species of migratory birds (Dalmatian Pelican, one of the largest flying birds in the world).
Seventeen of Macedonia’s 20 endemic fish species are included within the category of globally threatened species: seven are restricted to Ohrid Lake and six to Prespa Lake.

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