Austria’s 22nd Ramsar Site

11/06/2013

At ceremonies on the sunny terrace of Güssing castle in Burgenland, 18 April 2013, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention in Austria, the Ramsar Site certificate for Austria’s newest Wetland of International Importance was presented to national and local authorities. The paperwork has now been completed and the new site, Güssing fishponds (Güssinger Fischteiche) (148 hectares, 47°03’N 016°19’E), has now been included as Austria’s 22nd on the Ramsar List. As described by Ramsar’s Laura Máiz-Tomé, based upon the accompanying information sheets, the site is formed by one large and three small ponds separated by dams, used for non-intensive aquaculture of carp, pike, pike-perch and catfish, situated in the flat valley of the Zickenbach creek, on the edge of the picturesque town of Güssing.

The ponds are surrounded by a dense belt mainly consisting of reed and bulrush which comprises an important breeding, feeding and resting site for migratory and resident waterbirds. Moreover, the site regularly supports European Otter Lutra lutra, dragonflies, and amphibians. A small island covered by willows and shrubs in one of the smaller ponds is used as a roosting place by herons. The surroundings show a varied landscape consisting of wet meadows with single trees, remnant copses of alluvial forest and willow bushes, small channels, and agricultural fields. The whole site plays an important role in flood retention.

Potential threats to the ecological character of the wetland are drainage and afforestation of wet meadows, land abandonment, and vegetation succession. The scenery is dominated by the Güssing castle which is built on top of a prehistoric volcano right in the centre of the town. The main activities within the site are fish farming, agriculture, forestry recreation (hiking, cycling, jogging, birdwatching), and hunting.

An illustrated report of the 30th anniversary celebration in Güssing can be found here.



Photo: Birgitte Gerger



Photo: Andreas Ranner



Photo: Andreas Ranner

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,181 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,545,658

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