The SODIC WETLAND SYSTEM project aims to address the significant water deficit in 15 sodic wetlands in Hortobágy National Park. Due to climate change and regional stormwater drainage, less water enters the wetlands, causing dry habitats to increase and resulting in a decline in the conservation status of Pannonic salt steppe, salt marsh, and steppe grassland habitats. This has led to a decrease in populations of priority bird species and affected the area's ecosystem services, such as livestock grazing and ecotourism. The project's objective is to re-establish the regional connectivity of the sodic wetland habitat by removing 28 artificial barriers and connecting the wetlands to form a functioning system. This will allow rainwater generated in the wider catchment area to reach the wetlands via ancient natural watercourses, resulting in an additional 1-1.5 million m3 of annual rainwater supply diverted through natural and semi-natural watercourses into most of the 15 wetlands. The project aims to improve the conservation status of the sodic wetland habitats and populations of priority bird species, such as the lesser white-fronted goose, pochard, Kentish plover, and red-footed falcon. The expected results include an increase in the proportion of habitat mosaics in the beds of 15 Pannonic sodic wetlands to 95% of the reference status during the project period and 100% over the following five years, and an increase in the abundance of priority species of water birds by 100-300%. Through the project's efforts, the conservation status of the sodic wetland habitats will improve, and the ecosystem services they provide will be restored, benefiting the local community, wildlife, and the environment.
Total Eligible Budget: 3,149,611 €
EU Contribution: 2,362,209 €
EU funding percentage -75%
• Encourage the restoration and conservation of wetland habitats to address the negative impacts of climate change and regional stormwater drainage on ecosystems, wildlife, and ecosystem services, such as livestock grazing and ecotourism.
• Promote the re-establishment of regional connectivity of wetland habitats to ensure that rainwater generated in the wider catchment area reaches the wetlands via natural watercourses and improve the water balance and habitat quality of sodic wetlands and other vulnerable ecosystems.
• Develop clear objectives and expected results for projects aiming to improve the conservation status of habitats and priority species, and implement effective monitoring and evaluation plans to assess their impact and adjust their strategies accordingly.
• Encourage collaboration between stakeholders, including national and local authorities, NGOs, private landowners, and communities, to enhance the effectiveness and impact of wetland conservation and restoration efforts.
• Explore funding and technical support opportunities from national and international organizations to enhance the capacity and expand the impact of wetland restoration and conservation projects beyond their local areas.