About the catchment area
Maramureş region, in the North Eastern part of Romania, bordering with Ukraine is a representative sample of untamed nature and unspoiled traditions, one of the last reservoirs for biodiversity as well as of ancient traditional practices constantly shaping the mosaic landscape of the region and giving its identity and uniqness.
The study area (Mara catchment - 20 km²), is focused on the Northern slope of the volcanic origin Gutâi Mountains with brown acidic soils, covered with a typical cultural landscape shaped by traditional practices. Land use descending from the highlands to the village Breb (core area of the Maramures action lab) exposes grazing areas, broad leaf forests and hay meadows. The closest vicinity of the village reveals orchards and very small crop producing patches cultivated by the local families. The slopes of the former volcano are sourcing the drinking water for the villagers and are drained by several streams collected by the Mara River, used also for watering animals of the communities downstream.
Mara River (one of the main tributary of the Tisza River) is a protected area of local interest and an important natural resource which also supports high biodiversity, including many protected species: trout (Salmo trutta), grayling (Thymallus thymallus) whose survival depends on the water quality.
Breboaia is the major creek of the action lab area and crosses the entire village Breb. Project participatory monitoring for water quality will be performed on Breboaia creek in 2 sections (before and after the village), and data will be corroborated with official data from other monitoring sites on Mara River.
Village Breb (385 households), one of the 4 villages of Ocna Sugatag commune is one of the most well preserved villages from Maramureş area, where one can still find traditional wooden houses and gates along tiny stony roads, famous local artisans bringing wood to life, as well as a fairy tale landscape with mountains, orchards and pastures.
Maramures actionlab area is also included in Mara-Cosău-Creasta Cocoşului ecotourism destination, very much appreciated for its natural areas shaped by traditional agricultural practices.
Water supply is secured by communal pipeline distribution. Private wells are used by more than half of the households in the village. Gutâi mountain slopes in the vicinity of project area are sourcing the drinking water for the villagers and are drained by several streams collected by the Mara River, used also for watering animals of the communities downstream.