International Course on Ecohydrological Approach to Revitalisation and Conservation of Wetlands
An "International course on the ecohydrological approach to revitalization (i.e., restoration) and conservation of wetlands" was held on 15-20 June 2009 in the town of Třeboň (Třeboň Basin Biosphere Reserve, South Bohemia, Czech Republic), where the scientific school of wetland studies has a long history. The area around Třeboň is famous for its unique landscape with a mosaic of five hundred fishponds, forests, water courses, fields and settlements which has been formed as a result of human activities since the Middle Ages. Two Ramsar sites are located in this area: Třeboňská rašeliniště (Třeboň mires) and Třeboňské rybníky (Třeboň Fishponds). The course was organized jointly by the Czech UNESCO/ MAB National Committee, the Czech Ramsar Committee, and the ENKI public benefit corporation with a financial support from the UNESCO participation programme, the Czech Academy of Sciences, and the Ministry of the Environment of the Czech Republic. This is the second time that Třeboň has hosted such international course: the first one (on ecohydrological approaches to wise use, restoration, management and conservation of wetlands) was organized there in 2007; here are illustrated reports on that course from Ramsar's Tobias Salathé and from Libuše Vlasáková.
The course was attended by 16 participants from 13 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans, who represented scientific institutions, administrations of protected areas, non-governmental and state organizations, as well as a private company.It included lectures, field excursions to wetland restoration sites, and group discussions; the main focus was on ecohydrology as one of the core aspects of wetland management, conservation and restoration.
Lectures presented during the course covered a wide range of topics, including general approaches to wetland conservation, water cycle and water management, as well as examples of valuation of ecosystem services (in Lužnice river floodplain in the Czech Republic) and concrete wetland restoration projects (e.g., restoration and maintenance of specific habitats such as wet meadows, old trees, pruned willow trees in Dobrava – Jovsi Natura 2000 site in Slovenia, large-scale mire restoration activities in Austria which resulted in establishment of six new Ramsar sites, a mire restoration programme in the Šumava National Park in the Czech Republic, a proposal for wetland construction within the Želivka watershed in the Czech Republic, rehabilitation of devastated landscape by creating wetlands – especially with the aim of maintaining local climatic conditions in High Tatras National Park, Tichý Potok, Horný Hričov and Košice areas in Slovakia).
Jan Pokorný (ENKI, o.p.s., Czech Republic) and Michal Kravčík (NGO “People and Water”, Slovakia) presented the New Water Paradigm that focuses on the role of water in the recovery of the climate and recommends concentrating attention on the impact of changes in the water cycle on climate changes (rather than focusing on impact of the climate change on the water cycle). The Paradigm is stated in recently published book: Kravčík, M., Pokorný, J., Kohutiar, J., Kováč, M., Tóth, E. 2008. Water for the Recovery of the Climate – A New Water Paradigm. Košice (available in English and Slovak languages, also in the Internet: www.newwaterparadigm.org). The course participants contributed to the variety of topics by presenting results of their own projects and sharing experiences from their countries.
During field excursions to restored streams and ponds, experts dealing with these wetlands presented various scientific and technical aspects of respective restoration projects.
The whole course was held in a nice working atmosphere. Libuše Vlasáková from the Ministry of Environment (Ramsar National Focal Point, Czech Ramsar Committee), Eva Jelinkova, Secretary of the MAB National Committee, Czech Academy of Sciences, Martina Eiseltová from Crop Research Institute and Jan Pokorný of ENKI public benefit corporation are to be congratulated for organising and carrying this very motivating training course.
Presentations and other course materials can be found at http://mab.kav.cas.cz/.
1. Třeboňsko Protected Lanscape Area and Biosphere Reserve, Sandpit near Cep
Former sand pits are now managed for the wildlife.
Some species of aquatic plants (e.g. Nuphar lutea) were reintroduced to these newly created ponds in cooperation with the Institute of Botany of the Academy of Science of Czech Republic.
Restoration measures taken are very much appreciated by local amphibian.
2.ŠumavaProtected Lanscape Area and Biosphere Reserve, Ostrice stream, where in 2002-2004 1700 m of the stream have been restored (including removal of concrete plates from canalized stream, filling up bottom, restoration of meanders, cancelling drainage of surrounding area that had been applied for extension of agricultural lands).
Vegetation natural for stream flood plain has recovered.
Additionally, elm, ash and birch trees have been planted on banks of the restored stream.
Along with the stream restoration, two ponds were constructed with the aim to retain more water in the landscape. One of them is now managed by the University of South Bohemia for non-commercial breeding of one of the local rare fish species.
3. Polečnice river. Here restoration project has been started in 2002, when big flood destroyed part of the bank of canalized river and when the option of river revitalization was chosen (instead of repairing concrete constructions) with the aim to prevent floods, stop erosion and increase biodiversity.
Banks were shaped as more gently sloping and natural curves have been created. Now this is favorite recreation and bathing place of local people.
Stones were put on the bottom of the river with the aim to regulate speed of the water flow and to create natural habitats. After completion of restoration benthic fauna became diverse and trout returned to the river.
Before restoration at very this place there were concrete steps that prevented fish migration.
This island has appeared when second river branch was created with the aim to regulate water flow.
Vladimír Šámal explains details of Borova stream restoration project in the Protected Lanscape Area Blanský Les.
4. Protected Lanscape Area Blanský Les, Borova stream. Artificial wetland was created together with restoration of 3300 m of the stream, with the aim to retain more water in the landscape and to improve natural environment.
Due to high sedimentation, the wetlnd is overgrowing with aquatic plants, and periodical cleaning is needed to mintain this habitat.
Living rural landscape: organic farming on the banks of the Borova stream.
Natural forested peatland. Red Bog: part of the Třeboňská Rašeliniště (Třeboň mires) Ramsar site
Course participants, lecturers and organizers together with the group of students of the University of South Bohemia.