The nature conservation site Poda was declared a protected area in 1989 by the Bulgarian Ministry of Water and Environment. It was the first protected area in Bulgaria that is completely managed and maintained by a non-governmental organization, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds. BSPB prepares and implements activities adopted by the Council of Minister's Management Plan, but receives its funding completely from entrance fees, souvenirs sold, and donations. Through this arrangement, it aims to be a sustainable model for nature conservation, environmental education, and eco-tourism.
Located south of the port city of Bourgas on the Southeastern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, Poda is surrounded by the Black Sea and three large lakes - Vaya Lake, Mandra Lake, and Atanasovsko Lake. Along with the protected area Poda, they form a large wetland area called the Burgas Lakes.