Belarus, Lithuania and Russia complete transfrontier wetland project

12/08/2003

Small Grants Fund assists cooperative inventory programme

The Small Grants Fund 2001 "Inventory of important transfrontier wetlands in Belarus, Kaliningrad Region of Russia and Lithuania" is the second part of a two-year project launched by OMPO (Migratory Birds of the Western Palearctic), an environmental NGO which develops programmes for the conservation of African-Eurasian migratory birds and their habitats. A detailed inventory using the Ramsar criteria and classification of 11 important transboundary wetlands (total area over 100,000 ha) was performed -- seven wetlands shared by Lithuania and Belarus and four shared by Lithuania and yhe Kaliningrad Region of Russia. For each of them, a complete Ramsar Information Sheet was prepared.

General guidelines for their conservation and management were prepared and compiled in a special publication Wetlands in Africa and Europe-The Ramsar Convention: a true concern for OMPO, which was distributed during Ramsar COP8 in Valencia. The document, describing in detail all important parameters of the most valuable transfrontier wetlands, has served as an important tool for joint wetlands management and protection. A "Database of Transboundary Wetlands", including annotated maps, is soon to be finalized and sent to the Ramsar Bureau.

In addition, the Ramsar Bureau was asked to provide a foreword for another publication on this issue, Important transboundary wetlands shared by Belarus-Lithuania and Russia-Lithuania, and to participate in late autumn in a special meeting to present the results of this international programme.


The two-year project "Inventory of important trans-frontier wetlands in Belarus, Kaliningrad Region of Russia and Lithuania" was launched by OMPO and partners in year 2001. It is in keeping with the follow-up phase of two other projects: "Important wetlands in Lithuania, 1996-1999" and "Identification of Belarus Ramsar sites, 1999-2001".

This second year project was supported by Ramsar SGF during the 2001 cycle, with the amount of 39,764 Swiss francs, in order to develop joint sustainable management and conservation activities for potential and existing Ramsar Sites.

Lithuania-Belarus transboundary wetlands

An important result of this international programme is the identification of potential Ramsar sites and the designation of the large mire complex Cepkeliai/Kotra, up to 25,000 ha, as Wetlands of International Importance (respectively in Lithuania, Ramsar site no. 625, and in Belarus, no. 1216). Up to then, only the Lithuanian part of the mire complex was a protected territory. The results of the detailed inventory of the whole wetland complex will be used for further joint management and conservation of this new trans-boundary Ramsar site.

RAMSAR INFORMATION SHEETS COMPLETED

Name of wetland

Country
BLR: Belarus
LTU : Lithuania

Area in hectares

Ramsar criteria

Wooded wetland Kotra 

BLR

10,584

1, 3

Bog Bely Mokh

BLR 

1,600

1, 3

Wooded wetland  Vileity

BLR

4,713

1, 3

Lake Drisviaty

BLR 

2,100

1, 3

Wooded wetland Klevitsa

BLR 

5,090

1, 3

Sorochanskie Lakes

BLR

8,215

1, 3

Siline wetland complex

LTU

890

1, 3

Lithuania-Kaliningrad Region of Russian Federation transboundary wetlands

Wetlands shared by the Kalingrad region of Russia and Lithuania are located along the Neman (Nemunas) River valley and near Lake Vishtynetskoe. The Nemunas River delta with adjacent wetlands is one of the key wetland complexes in Europe, particularly as the principal breeding and staging area for waterbird populations. Up to now, only the Lithuanian part of it is protected (Regional Park) and designated Ramsar site since 1993 (no. 629). Relying on the results of the programme, Russian authorities plan to implement protection measures on their part of the delta. It would enable the establishment of an extremely important Ramsar site with a total area of about 50,000 ha.

Some other potential Ramsar sites have been identified such as Lake Vistytis (Regional Park in Lithuania, Nature Reserve in Russia) and areas located between the Sesupe and Nemunas Rivers in the Kaliningrad Region which border upon the Viesvile Strict Nature Reserve and Ramsar site in Lithuania.

RAMSAR INFORMATION SHEETS COMPLETED

Name of wetland

Country
RUS: Russia
LTU: Lithuania

Area in hectares

Ramsar criteria

Vistytis Regional Park

LTU

3,200

1, 3

Lakes of the Vishtynetskoe group and adjacent wet forest

RUS

9,800

1, 3

Neman (Nemunas) River Delta and southern coast of the Curonian Lagoon 

RUS

25,500

1, 3, 4

Left bank of the Neman River between the Neman and Sheshupe Rivers

RUS

5,300

1, 3

The publication Wetlands in Africa and Europe-The Ramsar Convention: a true concern for OMPO is available for 15€ at OMPO, 5 avenue des Chasseurs-75017 Paris (France). ompo@ompo.org

Geledne/Lakes Soroshanskie site: nest of White Stork on abandoned tractor used for wetlands drainage (Belarus)

Siline/Klevitsa site: landscape

Lake Druksiai/Drisvyaty: landscape

Lake Vistytis/Vishtynetskoe: landscape

Field surveys in the Neman River delta (Kaliningrad region of Russia)

Cepkeliai/Kotra site: raised bog

Cepkeliai/Kotra site: raised bog

The Nemunas/Neman River delta: landscape

The Nemunas/Neman River delta: landscape

The Nemunas/Neman River delta: landscape

Cepkeliai/Kotra site: at the State border on the Katra/Kotra River

Cepkeliai/Kotra site: young Osprey in the nest

-- photos courtesy of Dr. Saulius Svazas, program coordinator
OMPO/Vilnius, Lithuanian Institute of Ecology

-- reported by Estelle Gironnet, Ramsar

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