Barrage al Mansour Ad-Dhabi, Morocco
KBA status: confirmed
Rationale for qualifying as KBA: This site qualifies as a Key Biodiversity Area of international significance that meets the thresholds for at least one criterion described in the Global Standard for the Identification of KBAs.
The site is located on the southern side of the High Atlas a few kilometres east of the town of Ouarzazate. It consists of a large reservoir formed in 1972 by the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Oued Drâa, near the confluence of the Oued Dadès and the Oued Ouarzazate. The reservoir is also fed by many small temporary side-streams. Where these enter the lake, the water is relatively shallow and dense vegetation of Cynodon dactylon, Cyperus spp., Juncus spp., Phragmites australis and Tamarix canariensis occurs. Elsewhere, the water depth drops off sharply, reaching 2–4 m deep only several metres from the rocky shore. Annual precipitation averages 1,500 mm.
The reservoir is a priority 2 SIBE (No. H42). It is public land, administered by AEFCS and the Service des Travaux Publics. Human activities include fishing, livestock-grazing and reed-cutting around the reservoir’s shores. The main threat is discharge of wastewater from the town of Ouarzazate into the eastern end of the reservoir, and consequent organic and chemical pollution. Nesting birds are also subject to human disturbance and poaching near the western end of the lake. Recommended measures include the protection of this nesting zone by the restriction of access during the breeding season, perhaps entailing fencing off the area.