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Wetlands for Nature and People

Last changes: 2019-08-22

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Preparation phase
 
A.1 Investigation of the project area
In Zaļais Mire, in Melnragu Meadows along the Skudrupīte River and forests on the western edge of the Ķemeri Raised Bog in about 2500 hectare large area hydrologists will carefully explore the drainage systems and the current water tables. Biologists will investigate the impacts of drainage on the protected habitats.
 
A.2 Elaboration of the programme for hydrological restoration
According to the results of pre-investigation and expert recommendations, taking into account the interests of local community and other factors, the programme for restoration of the hydrological regime in Zaļais Mire, Skudrupīte floodplain and forests to the west from Ķemeri Raised Bog will be elaborated.
Application of the newest available technologies will allow preparation of digital three-dimensional surface and relief models and hydrological water flow models. Data on land surface and relief will be acquired using remote sensing method – scanning the project areas by devices on a specially equipped aircraft. The models will help to calculate potential changes in ground water tables and flow directions of ground and surface waters. This will allow planning the restoration works so that they will not affect the surrounding residential areas or areas of economic activities.
During the elaboration of the programme, at least three public seminars will be organized.
 
A.3 Elaboration of technical projects and gaining the necessary permits
On the basis of the restoration programme technical projects for restoration actions in three wetland areas as well as technical projects for two supervision platforms in Skudrupīte floodplain will be prepared. All the responsible institutions will be addressed to gain the necessary permits.
 
Restoration of the natural hydrological regime
All activities will be supervised by nature conservation experts and hydrologists. If necessary all changes in water tables will be corrected using the elaborated hydrological models and three-dimensional surface and relief models.
 
C.1. Restoration of Zaļais Mire
The raised bog habitats will be restored in the surroundings of the abandoned peat excavation sites. As a result, continuous degradation in about 550 hectares of a raised bog habitat will be averted.

C.2.1 Restoration of bog woodland and swamp forests
On the western margin of the Ķemeri Raised Bog in about 1100 hectares the water regime will be restored in the drained wetland forests. As a result, the natural hydrological regime will be re-created both in bog woodland and swamp forests, home for numerous rare plant and animal species.

C.2.2 Restoration of Skudrupīte and floodplain meadows
In Melnragi Meadows the Skudrupīte River will be re-meandered into 4 km long stretch. In the floodplain along the river banks seasonally flooded meadows will be restored in about 85 hectares.
 
C.3 Establishment of pastures
In order to establish permanent grazing in the newly created floodplain meadow area, the Skudrupīte floodplain will be arranged as pasture connecting the fenced area to the neighbouring pasture of Slampe floodplain meadows.
Heck cattle and Konik horses will be used as grazing animals. Two sightseeing platforms available for the visitors and conservationists will allow observing the animal and plant life in the meadows.

Information and public involvement
 
 
D.1. Project website
The actions and results within the project will be regularly published in the project website http://hydroplan.daba.gov.lv.
 
D.2 Information signs and boards
Five information boards and 30 information signs will be placed at the project sites in Zaļais Mire, Skudrupīte floodplain and at the bog woodland and swamp forests on the western margin of Ķemeri Raised Bog. The information boards and signs will inform the visitors about the results of the restoration activities and the role of habitat restoration in conservation of nature values of European Union importance.

D.3 Seminars for local community and nature conservation practitioners
The project idea will be introduced in a kick-off seminar. The restoration programme developed in the next project stages will be discussed with the local community in at least three seminars. Two seminars about the wetland restoration issues will be dedicated to nature conservation experts.

D.4 Short films and interactive board in ĶNP information centre
Three 12-15 minutes long films about the restoration of wetlands will be produced. The films will tell about the unique nature values of ĶNP – raised bog, floodplain meadows, bog woodland and swamp forest and the necessity to restore these deteriorated habitats. The films will be distributed in the schools, libraries and other institutions in Latvia. The visitors of ĶNP information centre will be welcome to discover an interactive permanent exhibition about the project restoration activities.

D.5-D.6 Booklet, collection of papers and overview
A booklet introducing to the activities planned within the project will be published. At the end of the project a collection of papers targeted at nature conservation experts and practitioners will be prepared introducing to the experience gained in the restoration actions. A brochure introducing to the project results oriented at the local community, ĶNP visitors and others will be published.

Project management and supervision
 
 
E.1 Project management
The project is being carried out in collaboration between Pierīga Regional Administration of Nature Conservation Agency, scientific organization Institute for Environmental Solutions, nature protection non-governmental organization Latvian Fund for Nature and film studio Elm Media.
 
E.2 Steering Group
The project will be controlled and advised by representatives from Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, Ministry of Agriculture, Municipalities of Engure, Tukums and Jelgava, State Forest Service and local inhabitants including non-governmental organizations in ĶNP and hunters’ associations. At least five meetings of the advisory board are planned.
 
E.3 Experience exchange
The project experts, representatives of the local municipalities and local landowners will participate in three experience exchange trips in Latvia and abroad. The trips will be organized to visit areas with similar ongoing wetland restoration activities.
 
E.4 After-LIFE+ Plan
At the end of the project an After-LIFE Conservation Plan aimed at nature conservation activities in the project sites will be prepared.
 
E.5 Project audit
The final project report to the EU LIFE+ programme will be approved by an independent auditor.
 
E.6 Monitoring of wetland restoration
Throughout the project hydrology experts will regularly assess the changes in water tables including regular groundwater measurements. In order to assess the changes in ecosystem caused by restoration activities, biologists will systematically monitor the vegetation changes in permanent plots.
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