Spolek Mokřady z. s.

Stream and wetland revitalization

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Spolek Mokřady z. s.

Case Study Contents

About Farm

Farm Name

Spolek Mokřady z. s. (Wetlands Association)

Year of foundation

2011

Location

Jihlava, Vysočina

Farm area/size of the organisation:

4 ha

Number of workers:

10 workers

Farm main activity:

Extensive fish farming, occasional small-scale use of hay production for domestic animals

Climate and soil characteristics

The site is located in an area of temperate climate with altitudes ranging from 505 to 530 m, the soil is predominantly waterlogged with a wetland biotope.

Measure Information

Description of the measure

Between 2017-2018, the piped stream was returned to the surface into a new “close-to-nature” stream bed. Additionally, various pools were excavated on the site and natural ponds with low fish stocking supporting aquatic plant growth were repaired. The grounded parts of the bay of the larger pond have been revitalised and a wintering area for small animals has been created.

Objective of the measure

The goal of the wetland project was to support amphibians and restoration of the biologically valuable site with its natural water retention capacity by creating pools, repairing ponds, returning the piped stream to the wetland surface, and planting trees and shrubs.

Justification of the choice

The chosen solution was basically the only option to restore the area. In the case of the ponds, a complete revitalisation might have led to better results, but they chose the path of minor repairs and maintenance.

Where did You get information of the measure from?

The authors of the measure (members of the association) have a background in biology and have been involved in professional activities and practical implementation of similar measures since 2011.

Description of the situation before the measure implementation

Above one of the ponds there was a drained meadow, which was typically intensively mowed by machines. Later it was discovered that, in addition to the piped stream, there was a big water draining system under the meadow. The ponds were in poor technical and biological condition.

Stakeholders

Stakeholders involved

Support for the Restoration of the Natural Functions of the Landscape, Landscape Care Programme, Partnership Foundation, Vysočina Region, City of Jihlava, Czech Union of Nature Conservationists, Mokřady z. s. members, volunteers.

Description of stakeholders’ role

Stakeholders provided financial support or help during the construction works.

Implementation phase

Description of the survey done for the implementation

Baseline biological surveys (botany, zoology) and basic field surveys (soil probes, etc.) took place.

Materials used

Almost all of them were local natural materials, while stones were taken from a nearby quarry.

Costs for the implementation

The total cost of the revitalization of the locality is estimated at CZK 1.3 million (EUR 51 100). Additionally, CZK 800,000 (EUR 31 500) were used for the revitalization of the wetland with the piped stream.

Utilization of subsidies

Yes

Implementation / building

In the autumn of 2017, the piped stream above the pond was revitalized and three new larger pools were excavated. The new stream bed has a close-to-nature appearance. The next year a mechanical restoration of the part of the second pond covered with shallow vegetation took place, consisting of tree pruning, removal of dense and grounded reeds and excavation of a smaller pool. Furthermore, the site is undergoing gradual modifications of both ponds, hand dredging and restoration of pools or mosaic mowing.

Required maintenance operations

Mowing or introduction of grazing and pond maintenance is advisable. Restoration of selected pools and pruning of woody plants are necessary.

Recommended knowledge / skills / training / courses / education desired before starting the measure implementation:

The authors recommend a basic education in biology and ideally practical experience with similar measures.

Impacts

Promotion of endangered species and biodiversity, support of water retention in the landscape (return of water to the soil and surface, slowing of runoff, improving microclimate, water purification).
The association organizes events for the general public on the site, the wetland is now used for environmental education.

Innovation

Innovation elements

The removal of the drainage systems is an innovative element.

Key element for success

The key element of success for returning the site to its “close-to-nature” appearance was the support of the local population, the enthusiasm of the authors and the involvement of volunteers.

Constraints

Physical constraints

During the implementation, it was found that there was a big water draining system under the entire meadow that had to be removed and modified. Leakages and other necessary repairs are still an issue in the ponds. Two of the ponds quickly became overgrown with sedges, as the plants seem to have accessed nutrients that were previously unavailable to them in the drained meadow – partial restoration and reduction of vegetation in the ponds is being continuously addressed.

Technological constraints

The main problem was the administrative burden and the lack of documentation on the previously constructed drainage system. The main restoration project was discussed with the authorities for at least one year and a half.

Proposed solutions to above constraints

Removal of drainage system, continuous reduction of vegetation in the pools by mowing, with an excavator and by hand.

Lesson learned

Farmers’ experiences

The association has gained knowledge about the drainage of agricultural land and the relatively easy (re)watering of excessively or inappropriately drained areas (within a few years of implementation the situation has improved significantly).

Measure sustainability

Environmental sustainability

The stream and pools are almost maintenance-free, only occasional mowing of the banks and reduction of vegetation in the pools is necessary, which is good in terms of biodiversity support. The revitalized shallow zone of the pond may be unattended for a long time. That way the project is environmentally very sustainable.

Economical sustainability

Aftercare costs for the revitalized parts of the wetland are low but larger interventions are needed for the ponds for which financial support will have to be found. Minor repairs and modifications are funded by the members of the association.

Transfer of the measure

Replicability conditions required

  • The presence of drained areas that do not need to be managed with heavy machinery (higher level of water after the implementation must be taken into account);
  • the presence of wetland areas that could be adapted;
  • some water on the site, above or below the ground.

Conclusion remarks

The removal of the past water drainage system represented the successful discovery of the reason why water was “disappearing” from the site. The revitalization of the area has been successful and the site has been restored to its natural appearance.

Future plans

  • Revitalization of the remaining section of the stream between the ponds;
  • gradual revitalization of the ponds;
  • continue normal maintenance;
  • introduction of grazing.
CZ07_05

AGRIWATER project has been funded with the support from the European Commission, with the reference number 2020-1-CZ01-KA204-078212. The content of this website reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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