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The Amalvo and Žuvinto swamps' “LIFE +” projects have been acknowledged as some of the best in Europe

2013-06-06

The Amalvo and Žuvinto swamps' ”LIFE +” environmental protection projects were among the eight chosen in Brussels yesterday as the best environmental protection projects of the year.

According to national “LIFE +” program coordinator and Ministry of Environment EU funding administration department EU fund control division chief officer Kastytis Gediminas, this is the first time that a Lithuanian project has received such an acknowledgment. The project was implemented by the Nature Heritage Fund, the Marijampolė municipal administration, the Marijampolė Forest Directorate, and the Žuvintas Biosphere Reservation board.

A majority of the project's works were implemented in order to re-create the water levels and water regimes in the Amalvo and Žuvinto lakes and swamps. The reformed Amalvo swamp polder and new land use practices designed to preserve peat soil will help stop the Amalvo swamp from drying up. The restored groundwater level will create the conditions necessary for the return of active bogs and bog forests – which are prioritized habitats in Europe – in the roughly 1,500 ha. Amalvo swamp. Repairs to protective embankments and flooded trenches reduced drainage and stopped tree growth in the Žuvinto swamp, 500 ha. of which had previously been affected by drainage trenches. These measures will help restore the bog's natural habitat.

A newly-implemented Amalvo polder use and water pumping regime will help revive migratory bird populations. The recreation of natural water level variations in Žuvintas should create the conditions necessary for the recovery of water plants and certain fish and amphibians while limiting the spread of bushes and reeds.

The restoration of natural water level variations in Žuvintas and Amalvas is improving the chance that these lakes will be able to purify themselves. The reconstructed floodgates and regulators in Žuvintas and Amalvas now also feature fish ladders, which will allow fish to migrate. Great attention has also been given to the encouragement of conservational agriculture practices in the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve's ecologically sensitive agrarian territories – peat soils and wet meadows.

More information about the project can be found at http://www.wetlife.gpf.lt.

Public Information Division, tel. 8~706 63660

2013-06-06

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