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Wetlands of the Eastern Nile
The primary wetlands of the Eastern Nile river basin include the Sudd Wetlands, the Machar Marshes, the Nile river delta / Lake Burulus and Lake Tana.
Lake Tana, one of the wetlands of the Eastern Nile.

Sudd Wetlands

Country: Sudan
Coordinates: Lat: 07o34’N; Long: 030o39’E
Area: average ca. 30,000km2 (dry season); ca. 130,000 km2 wet season).

The Sudd, located in the Eastern Nile sub-basin, is a Ramsar site of international conservation importance, providing winter ground for migratory birds and critical endemic species of birds. The Sudd is a vast swamp and one of the world’s largest freshwater wetlands. Its hydrologic value rests in its being a giant filter that, by trapping sediments, controls and normalizes water quality; regulates flooding and serves as sponge absorbing excess water. Its ecology features open water vegetation, permanent swamps, river flooded grassland (toich) rain-fed grasslands and open scrubland and woodlands. Its extent considerably expands (during the rainy season) and contracts (dry season). Its fauna ranges from the microscopic to the largest land mammal, the elephant. The Sudd provides important habitat for numerous endemic species of birds, fish, and other wildlife (including over 400 bird species about 100 species of mammals; over 62 species of fish; numerous species of migrating and resident birds; over 1 million livestock), in addition to providing seasonal migration refuge for millions of large herbivores.

Machar Marshes

Country: Sudan
Coordinates:
Lat: 09o30’N; Long: 033o10’E
Area: average ca. 6,500 km2 (dry season); ca. 9000 km2 (wet season).

Machar Marshes comprises vast areas of swamps and seasonal flood plains interlaced by an intricate reticulate system of water courses. Direct precipitation –run off, drainage- - from the Ethiopian highlands tends to move from the marshes towards the White Nile below Malakal.

The Wetland system extends at least 700km North- South, 180 km East –West.  The wetland is situated north of the Sobat River. Streams from the Ethiopian highlands abruptly descend to 300masl - the rivers breaking up into a complex of minor water courses, losing their integrity in the swamps. The wetland system extends well over the border into Ethiopia, where there is at least 400,000 ha of wetland in the Gambella river valley. The Machar Marshes are little used. Mainly used for dry season grazing and hunting and fishing.

Egypt Delta/Lake Burulus

Country: Egypt
Coordinates: Lat: 09o30’N; Long: 033o10’E
Area: average ca. 6,500 km2 (dry season); ca. 9000 km2 wet season).
The wetlands of Lower Egypt (20,000 km2) in the Nile delta are of global importance for bird habitats and biodiversity, in addition to their positive role in the hydrology of the Nile. Lake Burulus, 71,000 ha, a protected area, is considered both a wetland and a lake of international importance for migratory birds. It is dominated by extensive reed beds and is home to 30 species of fish (reduced from 52), three endemic hydrophytes, 112 birds, 23 reptiles, 18 mammals. 

Lake Tana

Country: Ethiopia
Coordinates: Lat: 09o30’N; Long: 033o10’E
Area: 3165 km2
Lake Tana is the largest freshwater lake in Ethiopia. It is one of the 250 lake regions world-wide important for biodiversity and bird nesting. It is home to both endemic and migratory birds. The lake hosts the only extended cyprinid fish species flock in Africa and one of only two extant worldwide. The isolation of the lake from all but inflowing rivers has led to a very endemic biota including 15 species of large barbs. Seventy percent of all fish are endemic. There is large diversity of wetland birds and migratory water birds. The lake is also a historic site home to several churches and monasteries dating back to the 13th century.