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Amalvas and Žuvintas Wetlands under restoration

2009-05-15

The Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve is launching a new project, Restoring Hydrology in Amalvas and Žuvintas Wetlands, funded under the European Union LIFE+ financial instrument. Work has already begun to restore the Amalvas Wetland. The project involves maintenance of a Natura 2000 site that is significant for the conservation of natural habitats and bird species.   

According to Arūnas Pranaitis, director of the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve, the Soviet period saw drainage of 350 ha of a raised bog, while the surrounding low-lying marshland was converted into meadows and arable land. Such changes were disastrous for the natural values of the wetland and Lake Amalvas , and did not bring any benefit for agriculture. Previously intended for mining, the peatbog has remained intact and has been devastated by frequent fires ever since. The meadows in the peatbog have been impoverished in the long run. Part of them has been affected by spontaneous bog formation and fallen into decay.  

According to Rūta Baškytė, now attempts are being made to restore the Amalvas raised bog to the maximum, which involves restoration of the characteristic flora and hydrology. The damming of the land reclamation canals is expected to conserve the open meadow habitats that surround the wetland. The winter polder and the locks on Lake Amalvas are to undergo reconstruction. In the Žuvintas Wetland, affected by land reclamation, about 5 km of old canals will be dammed. The lock on Lake Žuvintas will allow natural variations of the water level and ensure conditions for fish migration.  

Arūnas Pranaitis, director of the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve, is convinced that implementation of the project will restore the cranberry areas and black grouse lekking sites, and will bring back spotted crake and corncrake to the meadows.

Wetland restoration work is to be completed by 2012.

 

Public Information Division, tel. 219 1855

15 May 2009

 

 

 

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas