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Building Bluegreen Infrastructure through restoration

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Introduction

European wetlands and their biodiversity are under threat as most of them have been  converted to other land uses or strongly modified. They are fragmented, polluted, affected by intrusive human activities and stripped of their rich wildlife.

But with the loss of wetland biodiversity comes the loss of valuable ecosystem services. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (1997) estimated the world’s wetlands to be worth US$15 trillion.

Ecosystem restoration is a promising tool to reverse biodiversity and ecosystem services decline. Target 2 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020 states that by 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems . Target 14 of the Aichi Targets calls for similar action on global level. Nonetheless, the current progress towards these targets in Europe is slow, mainly due to the lack of awareness and information, the lack of financing and political support.

CEEweb’s objective is to establish a regional network of wetland and grassland restoration sites, as a basis of a green infrastructure network in CE/SE Europe, by expanding our successful pilot project to 30+ sites. With this, we would like to contribute to sustainable development of the region and meeting EU and international objectives.

Read more below about our finished and planned activities.

Building BlueGreen infrastructure in Central- Eastern Europe: from pilot projects to regional action

CEEweb’s restoration project aims to combine practical restoration with ensuring that local, site-lMichael Otto Stiftung logoevel action is replicated and scaled up to the regional level. In order to do this, we will measure restoration impacts and benefits and communicate them to decision makers. CEEweb believes that true protection of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem services can only be ensured if restored hotspots are incorporated into a wider Green Infrastructure network.

The project is generously supported by the Michael Otto Foundation.

Project duration: 01.01.2015-31.03.2016

Project activities

  1. Wetland restoration projects:
    • Romania: restoration of an area along the Tarnava Mica River in Transilvania which had been exploited for agriculture and was then a gravel mine. The site is located near the oxbow of the Târnava Mică/Kis-Küküllő River. Activities were carried out using heavy machinery to make the site suitable for amphibians while leaving the steep banks good for merops apiaster and riparia riparia breeding. Originally the project also included drafting a flood management plan for Niraj/Nyarad River. However, the local water management authority withdrew from the agreement of collaboration and decided to instead channelize the Niraj River along its lower course.
    • Slovakia: restoration of Kralova Luka Danube’s tributary oxbows (some parts are oxbows, but another part is a degraded river branch system) near Gabčíkovo Dam (Water Power Plant). Kralova Luka river branch system is part of the Danube’s inland delta and consists of river braches, oxbows and small wetlands. The aim of the restoration is to improve fish spawning areas, reproduction of amphibians and breeding of birds. The project will involved cutting of invasive species and will involve planting of native species. Due to changes in local land ownership, Broz has had to renegotiate the agreement and the project has been prolonged till March 2016.
    • 2000px-Flag_of_Estonia.svgEstonia: restoration of Kavaru coastal wetlands (first coastal wetland restoration project in  Estonia!). The Kavaru coastal complex is home to a range of aquatic plant, migrating birds, fish species and marsh habitats of community importance. In the 1970s the Kunnima creek was channelized and resulted in the draining of the delta. Activities carried out within the Kavaru restoration project include:
      • Removal of dam
      • Opening up old delta channels
      • Optimizing agricultural management
      • Removal of tree stripe on channel edge and diversification of the riverbed

      The aim of the project was to get the river to flow within its former delta and the meadow to stay wet over the summer thereby enabling successful breeding of birds, fish and aquatic plants.

  2. Ecosystem Services Report

    Report on Socio-Economic Benefits of Wetland Restoration in Central and Eastern Europe

    Report on the biodiversity and socio-economic benefits of the above activities as well as seven other wetland restoration projects in Central and Eastern Europe. The report reviews wetland ecosystem services and surveys 16 wetland restoration projects from Central and Eastern Europe and their associated ecosystem services. The report includs policy recommendations on how to scale up local restoration effort to national and EU level in view of the EU restoration objectives. A part of the report will be devoted to analysing follow-up options. Please find the report here.

  3. The regional stakeholder meeting on wetland restoration took place on 6-8th October 2015 in Budapest. 

BrozELFMilvus

Project partners

Project websites

34 Visit the Project’s Photoblog on Tumblr!

www.milvus.ro

www.broz.sk

www.elfond.ee

Read about CEEweb’s project on Michael Otto’s website (in German)

Before Restoration photos

After Restoration photos

Continuing restoration and rolling out Green Infrastructure in Europe

The success of the „Building BlueGreen infrastructure in Central- Eastern Europe: from pilot projects to regional action” motivates us to continue supporting local NGOs and other stakeholders across Eastern and South-East Europe to implement restoration projects and to account for the ecosystem services these projects provide for society.logo

With the help of the Technical Assistance Facility for the Danube Region Projects CEEweb has identified 31 follow-up wetland and grassland sites in 13 countries with significant restoration potential. Five public institutions, 21 NGOs, 3 scientific institutions and one tourism organization have expressed their interest to participate in such a project. The following report summarizes the results of the project, including a list of priority restoration sites.

Download Report

map of potential restoration sites in CEE and SEE Europe

map of potential restoration sites in CEE and SEE Europe

Short overview of 16 proposed restoration sites
  Name Country Project owner Wet/

Grassland

Size (ha)
1. Mosorovac

wetland

BiH Centre for Ecology and Energy W 1
2. Bardaca wetland BiH Centre for Environment W 40

(of a 800 ha complex)

3. Želin stream and upper Odra HR Croatian Institute for Biodiversity W 2 km
4. Dretulja river valley HR Public Institution NATURA VIVA W N/A
5. Beleu lake MD Ecological Counseling Centre Cahul W 626
6. Azmaka marsh BG Bulgarian Biodiversity Foundation W 2
7. Kladovo sand with Mala Vrbica SRB Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia (INCS) W/G 1500
8. Treskovaca Pond SRB Tourist Organization of the Municipality of Ruma W 13
9. Lake Provala in Vajska SRB ORCA – Organization for Respect and Care of Animals W 5,8
10. Sejpy u Modlešovic CZ Juniperia, z.s. G 12
11. Grasslands of Spiš SK DAPHNE – Inštitút aplikovanej ekológie G 85
12. dragoman marsh BG Balkani Wildlife Society W 400
13. Shkumbin river branches AL Environmental Association “lilium albanicum” W 22 km
14. Limpo wetland AL Social Education & Environment Protection (SEEP) W 200
15. Lura national park AL ALBAFOREST CENTRE G/W 1 320
16. Pantan ichthyological reserve HR Institute of Marine Biology Institute of Oceanography and Fisheries G/W 40,25

 

CEEweb is especially interested in providing expertise with regards to agricultural rural development, sustainable tourism, and other business opportunities, in order to ensure the long term continuation of the projects. Our goal is also to increase capacities of local stakeholders for designing and implementing restoration projects that are viable also on the long run without renewed public financing. We are currently looking for financial support to start a regional project with 30+ new restoration sites.

Some pictures from potential restoration sites:

Sejpy u Modlesovic grassland, Czech Republik     Azakama marsh, Bulgaria, from drone   Azakama marsh, Bulgaria, map

Trskovaca restoration map    Trskovaca pond, Serbia    Sejpy u Modlesovic grassland, Czech Republik

Resources

For more information about ecological restoration, restoration commitments following from the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, case studies and other resources please visit CEEweb’s Green Infrastructure Knowledge Hub Restoration section.