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Muravjevsky wildlife refuge

Name:  Zeysko-Bureinskaya plain within the Muravjevsky wildlife refuge

Geographical Coordinates
46°42’-50°09’ N, 127°30’-127°43’ E

Geographical Location
The wetland is located on the plane near middle Amur, between river mouths of Zeya and Bureya. Amur Region, 43 km northwest of the city of Blagoveshchensk (regional centre), 33 km east of the village of Tambovka.

Area:  34,000 ha

Altitude:   Mean 126 m (min. 110 m, max. 136 m a. s. l.)

Wetland Type
Ramsar classification -  Ts, O, M

Ramsar Criteria:  1a, 2a, 3b. The main is 2а - the habitat area of rare species.

It is a river floodplain with lakes and marshes, a place of nesting of rare species and concentration of natatorial.
Created on September 13, 1994.

Geology and geomorphology.  The plains are composed of the Neogene and Pleistocene silty-loam lacustrine sediments. The floodplain of the Zeya River is about 5 km
wide within the site, and the floodplain of the Bureya is up to 10 km wide. The lower portions of the floodplains include islands and beaches; the higher-level floodplains contain a complex of levees, oxbow lakes and marshes. Above the floodplains, there are two terraces.

The rivers are fed mainly by rain. The spring flood is not high, the level of water may rise considerably after monsoon rains in summer.

The area has a monsoon temperate climate (a continental variant). The summers in the area are the hottest in the Russian Far East. The mean air temperatures are +20,5°C in July and -25,5°C in January. The warm period, when the temperature is above zero, lasts for 100 - 110 days. The growing period for vegetation is 140-160 days. Annual precipitation varies from 550 to 600 mm, with only 15% falling in winter. The snow cover is not deep, and the ground freezes to 1,5-2 m.

The soils are predominantly of the meadow types, with a high humus content (5-12%). The humus horizon is 20-60 cm deep. At lower places, gley soils occur, with an underlying layer of clay. The high-level floodplain is covered by forests on soddy-alluvial and brown soils.

Bottomland and above flood-plain freshwater lakes with adjacent marshes. Slowly flowing small rivers with adjacent marshes and bayou lakes. It is an important site for waterbirds during the seasonal migration.

About 15,000 geese and 1,500 ducks migrate through the area in spring; up to 8,000 migrating ducks and 50—60 cranes have been registered in autumn. Breeding waterbirds include 300 pairs of ducks. Rare bird species, that occur at the site, include Japanese crane (Grus japonensis) (8-9 breeding pairs), white-naped crane (Grus vipio) (8-9 pairs), and Oriental stork (Ciconia boyciana) (10-12 pairs).

The flora of the Zeya-Bureya Plains includes 280 species of plants, three of these are included in the Russian Federation Red List of Threatened Species and seven species are included in the Red List of the Russian Far East. Flora is mainly presented by meadow species and water, wetland, forest and ruderal species.

Potentially dangerous kind of activity is grazing of agricultural animals and human induced burnings that sporadically appear on meadows and pastures. Also the pollution of waters by pesticides and chemicals.

The borders of the Ramsar site coincide with those of the Muravjevsky Wildlife Refuge. Within the refuge borders, the Muravjevsky Nature Park has been established by the Social-Ecological Union, which gives great emphasis to education matters.