Natura 2000 is an EU wide network of nature protection areas established under the 1992 Habitats Directive. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. It is comprised of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) designated by Member States under the Habitats Directive, and also incorporates Special Protection Areas (SPAs) which they designate under the 1979 Birds Directive. Natura 2000 is not a system of strict nature reserves where all human activities are excluded. Whereas the network will certainly include nature reserves most of the land is likely to continue to be privately owned and the emphasis will be on ensuring that future management is sustainable, both ecologically and economically.The establishment of theis network of protected areas also fulfils a Community obligation under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
Upon the Decree on Natura 2000 sites, Škocjanski zatok became declared a Special Protected Area in 2004 and became a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) upon the up-date of the same Decree in the beginning of 2012:
Identification number for SPA Škocjanski zatok: SI5000008
Qualifying bird species are:
- Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
- Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
- Great Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus)
- Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Identification number for SAC Škocjanski zatok: SI3000252*
Qualifying animal species:
- Mediterranean killifish (Aphanius fasciatus)
- Vertigo angustior (a species of narrow-mouthed whorl snail)
Qualifying habitat types:
Mediterranean and thermo-Atlantic halophilous scrubs Sarcocornetea fruticosi (Nat. 2000 code 1420)
Perennial vegetation of marine saline muds mainly composed of scrub, essentially with a Mediterranean-Atlantic distribution Salicornia, Limonium vulgare, Suaeda and Atriplex communities. This habitat is very important as a breeding site for terns, plovers and Black-winged Stilt.
Mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide (Nat. 2000 code 1140)
Intertidal mudflats and sandflats are submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide, usually without vascular plants, sometimes coated by blue algae and diatoms. This kind of habitat is very rich with biodiversity and particular important as feeding grounds for waders.
Salicornia and other annuals colonizing mud and sand (Nat. 2000 code 1310)
Formations composed mostly or predominantly of halophyte annuals which are periodically flooded. Plants are mostly grasses and Chenopodiaceae of the genus Salicornia, prevailed by glasswort Salicornia europaea, accompanied by sea blite Suaeda maritima. Glasswort, as well as sea blite, is well adapted to extreme ecological conditions of the habitat, like high salinity, and might be the only species in the community.
Mediterranean salt meadows Juncetalia maritimi (Nat.2000 code 1410)
Permanent and shallow marine marhes with sea rush Juncus maritimus, and other plants as follows: Cornuti plantain Plantago cornutii, sea aster Aster tripolium and sea sow-thistle Sonchus maritimus.
Coastal lagoons (Nat. 2000 code 1150)
Lagoons are areas of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity and water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or, less frequently, by rocks.