The Mikra Coastal Marsh is located at the western part of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) Farm, near EKBY premises and very close to the Thessaloniki Airport “Macedonia”. It extents between the estuaries of Anthemountas River and Thermi Stream and covers a total area of 64.76 ha.
Mikra Coastal Marsh is mainly covered by annual and perennial herbaceous plants. The presence of halophytes is dominant; at the boundaries with agricultural land, species characteristic of disturbed soils prevail. There are also scattered tamarisks of relatively young age.
The sandy coast maintains its natural formation from the interaction of the wind and the sea. Remnants of the marine plant Posidonia oceanica are an indication of the existence of this protected species in the marine area and act as a natural defence against coastal erosion.
The wetland is flooded during the winter and spring seasons, maintaining in the central part an open water surface of approximately 5 ha. Small ponds are also found and are maintained even during summer, providing valuable habitat for aquatic species.
In the wetland, it has been recorded (Bourdakis & Panagiotopoulou, 2022) the presence of a relatively large number of water and shore bird species, which find shelter there in the winter season, breed, or occasionally use it during migration. The ornithological value of the wetland is important also due to its proximity to the Axios – Aliakmonas and Aliki Kitros National Park.
Mikra Coastal Marsh provides valuable ecosystem services such as provision of biodiversity habitats, flood protection and shore stabilization, possibilities for scientific research and also opportunities for education and recreation, due to the natural features that still are sufficiently maintained, the privileged position on the coastal front of the Thermaikos Gulf, its proximity to Thessaloniki and the nearby residential areas, as well its inclusion in an area currently managed by the Aristotle University.
In this context, conservation works such as removal of inert materials (construction and excavation) and blocking of road access have been carried out. The effort to protect and promote the wetland is supported by EKBY.
Bourdakis S. & Panagiotopoulou M. 2022. Ornithological evaluation report on the coastal wetlands of the Anthemoundas River estuary (Peraia and Mikra coastal marshes, Thessaloniki airport marshes) for their designation as a Special Protection Area. 23 pp. + appendices