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Presentation of the Grand Lieu Lake

See our clip "The remarkable birds of the Grand-Lieu lake"

The Grand Lieu Lake is situated above the estuary of the river Loire and it is about 14km (9 miles) away from the city of Nantes. This is the oldest and largest natural lake of the French meadows (120 million years old). It spreads over 6300 hectares in winter by flooding the peaty meadows around its banks; whereas in summer the lake leaves the meadows and its surface reduces to 4000 hectares, putting the lake down to the 5th rank of the French biggest lakes. Grand Lieu is one of the most beautiful wetland in Europe. Its characteristics close to those of a tropical lake are unique in Europe on this specific scale, and it appears to be very close as well to African lakes -- not very deep (2.3 ft. to 4 ft. in summer) and swamped by vegetation.

The biological heritage of Grand Lieu is given a worldwide recognition with 550 superior plant species, 220 seaweeds, and 360 vertebrates. Among these the birds represent the major interest of the area of Grand Lieu. It is an important reproduction site with more than 110.000 couples of nesters. Indeed there is the largest colony of Blue herons, the first and most important nesting site for the Great egret and the Spoonbill, the first colony of Great cormorants in France, as well as colonies of Black-crowned night herons, of Little egrets, of Purple herons, and of Cattle egret. Grand Lieu is also one of the main wintering site and an important staging area for Anatidae (geese, swans, ducks…).

Loïc Marion - chercheur au CNRS

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