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Wetlands for Nature and People

Last changes: 2022-08-01



The biggest project on restoration of hydrological regime in Latvia – Hydroplan – concluded

Projekta LIFE HYDROPLAN noslēguma seminārs
On August 23, with the meeting of the Project Steering committee and many stakeholders involved in project implementation, the LIFE + Project Hydroplan or “Restoring the hydrological regime of Ķemeri National Park” was officially concluded after 8 years of hard work.

Implementation of the project started in 2011, yet ideas about the activities had been “in the air” already a few years before the official launch of the project. Several peat extraction sites had been functioning in the territory of the National Park in the past, and their melioration systems left negative impact on the surrounding nature values. With the ecosystems drying up, wetland plant and animal species started to disappear, the quality of the habitats gradually decreased, bringing changes to the whole landscape as a result.

To maintain and restore the wetland territories, profound research work was carried out as the first step. It consisted of both, remote sensing using newest technologies, as well as detailed fieldwork on the ground. Substantial proof was demanded by many parties that the planned activities of raising of water levels in the bog and swamp forests will indeed have no impact on populated places and private properties nearby. Lesser resistance was caused by the restoration plans of River Skudrupīte, as similar activities were already implemented in 2005 by re-meandering River Slampe situated in the same area.

The most significant “visible” results of the Project – water levels raised to the required level in Zaļais Bog as well as in bog woodland and swamp forests along the western margin of Ķemeri Raised Bog, by building dams on drainage ditches; the natural flow of River Skudrupīte restored by re-meandering the straightened, 5,5 km long riverbed into 7,5 km of meanders; tourism infrastructure – 2 sightseeing platforms and 3 information boards – erected; 2 educative films made – “A second chance for Skudrupīte” and “The rebirth of Zaļais Bog”; compilation of scientific articles “Contemporary examples of habitat management in Latvia” issued.

To provide possibility for everyone to learn about the Project results in nature, field trip to Dunduri and Melnragi meadows was organized during the closing event of the Project. The participants of the trip visited areas normally closed for visitors, and became witnesses of the progress of nature restoration processes – a pair of Whooper Swans Cygnus cygnus had chosen the area for nesting, one of the most extraordinary carnivorous plants of Latvia - Greater Bladderwort Utricularia vulgaris - was in full blossom in the restored river, and the air was buzzing of with different kinds of insects.

The significant role of wetlands in nature is proved, and there is no doubt about the importance of their restoration. In the same time, it has to be concluded that at this point such projects are only priority in Protected Areas, whereas nature values outside them are still subject to the negative effects of intensive agriculture and the growing pressure of construction activity.

More information about the Project can be found in upcoming Layman’s report.

Photo gallery of the closing event of the Project: LIFE Hydroplan final seminar, 23.08.2019. >>> banneris banneris banneris

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