National Report of Germany

Malheureusement, il n'y a pas de version française de ce document.

National Report prepared for the 7th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)

 Implementation of the Ramsar Convention in general, and of the Ramsar Strategic Plan 1997-2002 in particular, during the period since the National Report was prepared in 1995 for Ramsar COP6

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Contracting Party Federal Republic of Germany
Designated Ramsar Administrative Authority Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit
Full name of the institution .
Name and title of the head of the institution .
Mailing address for the head of the institution Postfach 12 06 29, D-53048 Bonn
Telephone +49 228 305 2620
Fax +49 228 305 2695
E-mail .
Name and title (if different) of the designated contact officer for Ramsar Convention matters Dr. Fritz Dieterich
Mailing address (if different) for the designated contact officer .
Telephone .
Fax .
E-mail .

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 1
To progress towards universal membership of the Convention.

1.1 Describe any actions your government has taken (such as hosting regional or subregional meetings/consultations, working cooperatively with neighbouring countries on transfrontier wetland sites) to encourage others to join the Convention.

Neighbouring countries that are important to Germany in terms of wetland protection are already parties of the Ramsar Convention.  For this reason, no efforts have been undertaken in this respect.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 2
To achieve the wise use of wetlands by implementing and further developing the Ramsar Wise Use Guidelines.

2.1 Has a National Wetland Policy/Strategy/Action Plan been developed, or is one being developed or planned for the near future? If so:

a. What are/will be its main features?

b. Was it, or is it, intended that the Policy/Strategy/Action Plan be adopted by the whole of Government, the Minister responsible for Ramsar matters or through some other process. Please describe.

c. How does it relate/will it relate to other national environmental/ conservation planning initiatives (e.g., National Environmental Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans, National Conservation Strategies)?

A sectoral policy specifically aligned to the protection and sustainable use of wetlands does not exist in Germany. Wetland protection is one of the goals of nature conservation. The goals of nature conservation, which include the protection of wetlands, are enshrined in the Federal Nature Conservation Act. This in turn is a framework law of binding force for all the German federal states (Laender). The Laender enact their own nature conservation laws on the basis of these provisions, and can complement them by further statutory regulations of their own.

The targets of the Ramsar Convention, which can be implemented in different ways by the Laender, are thus integrated into general conservation policy. It is expected that concretisation of the "1997-2002 strategic plan" in accordance with German requirements will improve the implementation of legally embodied wetland protection.

The following outlines a selection of nature conservation instruments concerning wetland protection.

I. Protective Instruments on the Legislational Level

I.I European Directives

Many wetlands or parts of Wetlands of International Importance are notified as "Special Protected Areas" (SPA) in accordance with the purpose of the EU Bird Protection Directive (according to Article 4 of the Council Directive 79/409/EEC) and are also a component of the "Natura 2000" protected area system pursuant to the Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive (FFH-Directive) (Council Directive 92/43/EEC). These European-wide protection obligations support the Ramsar Convention in that they are legally binding.

I.II Federal and Land (Federal State) Laws

According to Article 20c of the Federal Nature Conservation Act [BNatSchG] and the respective nature conservation laws of the Laender, wetlands, i.e. fens, marshes, reedbeds, water meadows, zones of encroaching vegetation at lentic waters, near-natural sections of streams and rivers as well as fen woodlands, marsh woodlands and riparian woodlands, are protected in general. Measures that could lead to destruction or other considerable or long-term impairment of these biotopes are prohibited. The Laender can make exceptions if the impairments to the biotopes can be compensated for or if the measures are necessary for reasons of paramount public interest. In the latter case, the Laender can ordain compensatory or replacement measures. Above and beyond this, according to Article 20 b, Paragraph 2 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, the Laender are entitled to issue further regulations concerning the protection of biotopes.

A further protective instrument consists of the official protection of wetlands as nature conservation areas (Article 13), national parks (Article 14) and protected landscape elements (Article 18 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act). At these sites, all actions that can lead to destruction, damage to or change of the sites or their elements are prohibited. The designation of protected landscape areas (Article 15, Federal Nature Conservation Act) is also possible, but their protective status is lower. Exceptions to the bans are made for specific sites as necessary. The Laender are responsible for the designation of such protected areas, and in the respective cases they determine the purpose of the protective status.

According to Article 329 of the Criminal Code, persons who, contrary to the legal provisions enacted to protect a nature conservation area, a site provisionally protected as a nature conservation area or a national park, change or eliminate a water body among other things or who drain fens, marshes, brakes or other wetlands and thus affect their respective protective purpose to a not inconsiderable extent can be sentenced to imprisonment or required to pay financial penalties.

According to Article 5 of the Federal Waterways Act it is the task of the federal government to regulate, restrict or prohibit traffic on federal waterways located in protected areas. The Ordinance on the Navigation of Federal Waterways in Certain Nature Conservation Areas enacted on December 8, 1987, enables the responsible ministries in the individual Laender to apply for seasonal prohibition of navigation, meaning that impact on the protected areas can be reduced at least from time to time.

 Further special legal provisions above and beyond the Nature Conservation Act (such as the Water Act [WHG] and the Federal Immission Control Act [BImSchG]) serve to ward off direct adverse effects from the natural resources water and air.

The obligation to protect water was explicitly introduced with the 6th Amendment to the Water Act of November 19, 1996, which stipulates that water bodies are to be protected as components of the ecological balance and as habitats for flora and fauna. Furthermore, water bodies are to be managed in a way that prevents adverse influences from affecting their ecological functions. The Water Act and the statutory ordinances of which it forms the basis stipulate that sustainable uses are to be guaranteed regarding:

  • the introduction of wastewater,
  • machinery that deal with substances that represent a hazard to water, and
  • the protection of surface waters and ground water.

Waters in a natural or near-natural state are to be kept in this state, while waters subjected to development leading to non-near-natural consequences are to be restored to a near-natural condition as far as possible, assuming that this is not precluded by reasons of paramount public interest.

Comparable regulations have been or are being adopted into the water laws of the Laender.

The Lower Saxony Water Act passed at the end of January 1998 is an example in this respect in that it rules that rivers and streams are to be largely allowed to follow a natural course of development in future.

With regard to certain protective functions, the responsible authorities can designate ground water conservation areas and restrict the uses performed in them.

The purpose of the Federal Immission Control Act is to protect flora, fauna, soil, water and other resources in particular from adverse environmental influences and to prevent the formation of such influences. Areas can be protected pursuant to Article 49 of the Federal Immission Control Act if they require over-average protection from adverse environmental influences in the form of air pollution or noise. The Federal Immission Control Act also impinges on spatial planning in that it stipulates that in terms of use, areas are to be organised in relation to each other in such a way so as to avoid adverse environmental effects on other areas in need of protection.

The Federal Hunting Act (Article 1, Paragraph 1, Sentence 2) and, in substantial agreement with this, the fishery laws of the Laender (such as Article 14, Paragraph 1, Baden-Württemberg Fishery Act) combine the right to exploit natural resources for the purposes of hunting and fishing with the obligation to protect wildlife. This requires the preservation of species-rich and healthy game and fish stocks corresponding to the landscape and local cultural conditions. Both these use-oriented fields of law contain regulations (in the form of bans and restrictions) on species protection (close seasons, minimum kill sizes, year-round hunting ban on particularly threatened species), stock protection (kill limits, territorial restrictions) and the conditions and methods of hunting and fishing. Since some bird species fall within the jurisdiction of hunting law, and since hunting is not barred by the Nature Conservation Area Regulation in most nature conservation areas, the designation of game reserves according to the hunting laws of the individual Laender (i.e. Article 20a of the Baden-Württemberg Hunting Act) for the protection of waders and waterbirds is a meaningful supplement to the regulations governing the protection of individual areas for nature conservation purposes. Contrary to other hunting law regulations, the instrument of the game reserve completely or temporarily prohibits or restricts the hunting of certain forms of game. In fishing law, sections of waters that are of particular significance to the conservation of fish numbers can be given protected status.

In Schleswig-Holstein, hunting restrictions are being stipulated in a number of nature conservation area regulations, particularly in more recent ones.

In conjunction with the forest acts of the Laender, the Federal Forests Act [BWaldG] stipulates the preservation of forests due to their significance for the lasting functional capacity of the ecological balance and the water regime. Article 12 of the Act enables the designation of protective forests. Above and beyond this, the Laender make use of the possibility to designate protected areas in the course of forestry planning.

Article 11, No. 10 of the Federal Mining Act [BBergG] enables the prohibition of extraction. According to this act, entitlement to mine is to be barred when "paramount public interests rule out exploitation in the whole of the allocable area." The requirements of nature and landscapes are included as public interests.

According to Article 34, Paragraph 1, No. 3 of the Land Consolidation Act, the requirements of agriculture explicitly include the requirements of nature conservation and landscape management.

 II. Planning Instruments

The Regional Policy Act [ROG] (Article 1, ROG) subjects the paramount comprehensive planning instrument of regional planning to the central guiding principle of sustainable spatial development, whereby the natural foundations of life, among other things, are to be protected and developed. The principles of regional planning, which are to be taken into consideration by all public authorities in space-consuming plans and measures, envisage that nature and landscapes, including waters, are to be protected, maintained and developed and that habitat networks are to be taken into account. Furthermore, it is stipulated that the physical planning contents of sector plans standardised by federal law, such as landscape plans, can be integrated into regional policy plans and thus safeguarded.

On the local level, space-related aggregate planning is the task of local development planning. According to Article 1, Paragraph 5, Page 1 of the Federal Building Code, local development plans are to serve various planning goals. They are to contribute towards safeguarding an environment that is conducive to the dignity of man, and towards protecting the natural foundations of life, among other goals. The integration of environmental-protection-oriented methods and issues in local development planning is improved by the Federal Building Code, which is the governing law in this respect, namely on the basis of the Construction and Regional Policy Act of 1998. The Amendment of the Federal Building Code [BauGB] of August 1997 explicitly stipulates (Article 1a, BauGB) that the depiction of landscape plans and other planning instruments pursuant to waste, water and immission control legislation are to be taken into consideration in the weighing of interests. Landscape planning in particular has the task of bringing landscape-planning and ecological data and assessment criteria to bear in the weighing of public and private interests in the formulation of local development plans.

On the communal planning level, wetlands are integrated into zones and areas that enjoy the greatest protection in the land use plans. These last depict the principle features of intended forms of land use.

Nature conservation and landscape management requirements are also taken into consideration in sector and specialised planning, such as framework forestry planning, road planning and water resources management planning, even if they are not explicitly referred to in the respective acts. The defined targets and objectives of the various specialised planning areas have to be coordinated with those of aggregate planning and with each other. Numerous statutory provisions concerning coordination, participation and notification serve this purpose. For example, in North Rhine-Westphalia, the necessary coordination of highly differing Land planning targets is implemented by uniting the sectorally-oriented Land growth plans into a single plan. Among other things, this plan integrates the protection of open space and open space functions. In other words, areas designated in accordance with the Ramsar Convention are a constituent part of the North Rhine-Westphalian biotope network.

The designation of protected areas that fulfil differing functions, such as ground water conservation areas, climate protection areas, soil conservation areas, nature conservation areas and natural areas of high recreational suitability, is a planning instrument that impinges on the differing specialised planning areas and safeguards nature conservation requirements.

 III. Wetlands Protection Programme

On the federation and Laender level, the concrete implementation of nature conservation targets and measures is fostered by various programmes. Property can be acquired within the context of the promotion programme for major federal nature conservation projects or the water meadow protection programmes of the various Laender (such as the Water Meadow Programme and the Riparian Meadow Programme in North Rhine-Westphalia). Plots of land can also be made available in the course of land consolidation procedures (via the deduction of land area from man-related uses in accordance with Article 40 of the Land Consolidation Act).

The conclusion of civic-law contracts (lease or use agreements) for nature conservation purposes also provides a possibility for wetlands use in a sustainable manner in accordance with the Ramsar Convention. This is known as contract-based nature conservation (cf. 7.6).

Examples are named here of the great number of Land-specific programmes that tangibly support the implementation of wetlands protection goals:

  • Programme for Sponsoring Measures That Improve or Preserve the Quality of Waters (Schleswig-Holstein)
  • Programme for Sponsoring Measures Concerned with the Near-Natural Development of Surface Water Courses (Schleswig-Holstein)
  • Süderelbemarsch Biotope Protection Programme (Hamburg)
  • Bavarian Contract-Based Nature Conservation Programme (Bavaria)
  • Compensation Payment Measure for Wetlands (Bavaria)
  • "Blue Action" Water Resources Management Programme for the Restoration of Water Bodies (Rhineland-Palatinate)

2.2 If a policy is in place, how much progress has been made in its implementation, and what are the major difficulties being encountered in doing so?

Activities concerned with the protection of wetlands are integrated into a legislational administrative network made up of various laws, planning instruments and programmes that provide for or take into consideration the use and protection of such areas (cf. 2.1).

Germany is characterised by considerable density in terms of population and the amount of land in intensive industrial and agricultural use, which is why socio-economic problems can enter into substantial competition with nature conservation issues. Many interest groups from fields such as agriculture, fishery, hunting or recreation lodge justified use claims which have to be weighed against the protection goals pertaining to the wetlands. A complete state of protection is seldom achieved in German nature conservation areas.

2.3 If a Policy/Strategy/Action Plan is in place, is the responsibility for implementing it with :

a. a single Government Ministry,
b. a committee drawn from several Ministries, or
c. a cross-sectoral committee?

In the field of nature conservation and landscape management, the federation possesses competence to issue framework provisions for the legislation of the individual Laender. The elaboration of the details of the framework provisions is the business of the Laender, as is also the administrative enforcement of all nature conservation provisions and thus the exercise of state authority in the area of nature conservation.

Therefore, along with representing German interests on an international level, the Federal Ministry of the Environment (the BMU) is mainly concerned with co-ordinating tasks in the implementation of conservation policy and the wetlands policy that is integrated into this policy. The BMU or the Federal Office for Nature Conservation (BfN) subordinate to the BMU, examine the application of Ramsar criteria in the designation of Wetlands of International Importance and maintain a dialogue with the Laender on the improvement of reporting procedures or, as applicable, make suggestions on the designation of further areas, as in transfrontier cases.

Depending on the legislation of the individual Laender, the execution of the statutory provisions enacted on the basis of the Federal Natural Conservation Act is incumbent on the authorities responsible for nature conservation and landscape management, as well as government agencies.

All authorities responsible for other areas of policy have the obligation to support the realisation of nature conservation and landscape management goals within their area of competency. Insofar that a more formal form of involvement is not stipulated, they also have to notify and consult authorities responsible for nature conservation when preparing public plans or measures that could affect nature conservation issues.

The communes fulfil important nature conservation tasks in the execution of the nature conservation laws of the Laender within the scope of their constitutionally guaranteed right to administer their own affairs. In this, they are the decision-making bodies for local issues.

A responsible role is also assumed by nature conservation associations. This applies above all to state-recognised nature conservation societies, which are to be involved in certain state measures (Article 29, Federal Nature Conservation Act). The associations also keep a critical eye on state activities and draw attention to inconsistency and hidden faults in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention. Right of action on the part of associations has not been instituted throughout the country, but has been introduced by most of the Laender.

According to the nature conservation laws of the individual Laender, private persons have a special obligation to behave in a manner that is both responsible and compatible with the requirements of nature and landscapes.

2.4 For countries with Federal systems of Government, are there Wetland Policies/Strategies/Plans in place, being developed or planned for the provincial/state or regional levels of Government? Yes/No   If yes, please give details.

The federal distribution of responsibility in the nature conservation field (cf. 2.3) as enshrined in the Basic Law grants the Laender independence within the framework provisions of the Federal Nature Conservation Act and assigns them the respective administrative enforcement. On neither the federal nor Laender level are special or sectorally-oriented wetland policies pursued.

Protection of nature and landscapes as the basis of human existence is not only stipulated in the nature conservation laws, but is also integrated into the regulations of other policy and administration areas (cf. 2.1).

2.5 Has a review of legislation and practices which impact on wetlands been carried out, and if so, has this resulted in any changes which assist with implementation of the Ramsar Convention? Please describe these.

As in other legislational areas, nature conservation law is always undergoing revision. Reviews and amendments are continually being made in reaction to new developments.

2.6 Describe the efforts made in your country to have wetlands considered in integrated land/water and coastal zone planning and management processes at the following levels:

a. national
b. provincial
c. local

Wetlands are an important protected resource in the nature conservation field. In Germany, nature conservation issues are also taken into consideration by mainly economically-oriented sectors and integrated in part in their objectives (cf. 2.1). Examples are named here from among the great number of provisions and measures that have already been implemented:

On the one hand, the integration of nature conservation goals takes place on the basis of the statutory intervention/compensation provisions laid down in Article 8 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act and on that of the conservation-related intervention provisions contained in the Federal Building Code (cf. 2.1). On the other, consideration of issues concerning nature conservational issues is provided for in plan approval procedures. The task of a plan approval procedure is to examine in a single procedure the permissibility of a space-consuming project in balancing and conciliating the interests of the body responsible for the project with public and private interests affected by the planning, and to arrive at a legally binding decision. Such procedures are stipulated for the development or construction of federal waterways (Article 14, Federal Waterways Act) or for the development of a water body and its banks (Article 31, Federal Water Act, in connection with the water legislation of the respective Land ). The plan approval procedure regulates all public-law relations between the body responsible for the project and those affected by the plan.

Environmental impact assessment is obligatory in the case of certain types of projects (cf. 2.10).

As a planning instrument, ground water conservation planning particularly comprises water resource management structure plans (in which the protection of water bodies is also taken into consideration), water body management plans and wastewater disposal plans. The water body management plans, which are drawn up by the Laender, are to take the protection of water bodies as a constituent part of the ecological balance into due consideration, along with the protection of the ground water supply, and use requirements.

The draft Growth Plan 2000 of the Land of Hesse integrates goals directed towards the protection and development of near-natural habitats. According to the plan, about 20 percent of the area of still waters are to be protected.

The Growth Plan 2000 of North Rhine-Westphalia schedules areas designated according to the Ramsar Convention as constituent parts of the North Rhine-Westphalian biotope network.

Lower Saxony has incorporated all Wetlands of International Importance as priority nature and landscape areas into its 1982 Regional Policy Programme.

The Joint Task of Improving Agrarian Structures and Coastal Protection, which is borne by both the federation and the Laender, directs, among other things, land consolidation. Land consolidation can contribute towards the realisation of nature conservation goals since measures concerned with securing the sustainable functional capacity of the ecological balance are a systematic component of present-day land organisation procedures.

Consideration of the requirements of wetlands protection is also advocated in Germany by international water protection commissions. These commissions exist for the Mosel, the Saar, the Danube, the Oder, the Elbe, the Rhine, and Lake Constance as an inland lake. The respective treaties, which mainly concern the use of the waters, also contain to differing degrees provisions on nature conservation and recommendations concerning the assessment of the environmental impact of planned projects. For example, the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe against Pollution (IKSE) has created an action programme for the period from 1996 to 2010 that. In its ecological section, it includes the improvement of biotope structures and aquatic margins as well as measures for ensuring fish migration.

2.7 Have there been any publications produced, or practices documented, which could assist other countries to promote and improve the application of the Ramsar Wise Use of Wetlands Guidelines? Yes/No   If Yes, please provide details and copies.

At the 8th Trilateral Intergovernmental Conference on the Protection of the Wadden Sea (held in October 1997 in Stade), a Wadden Sea Plan was drawn up that is to be published shortly. This management plan meets the requirements of the Ramsar Convention and can serve other countries as an example of how to implement the management planning guidelines at Ramsar sites [Appendix 2]

A critical survey of Bavarian Ramsar sites has been presented by Lohmann & Vogel (1997). This publication provides a clear overview of the sites and the disruptions affecting them. Proposed measures for improving local situations round off this account.

Lohmann, M. & Vogel, M. (1997): Die bayerischen Ramsar-Gebiete. Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme der Bayerischen Akademie für Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege. - Laufener Forschungsbericht 5, 53 p.

The establishment of a zone of Wetlands of International Importance with core zones, areas of differing use intensity and buffer zones was recommended (Rec. C.5.3) at the Conference of the Contracting Parties of Kushiro (1993). The zoning is to be carried out in attunement with the protection goals that apply to Wetlands of International Importance. Such zoning, namely the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park, has been formulated as part of the major research project "Wadden Sea Ecosystem Research". Wadden sea species and biological communities and their temporal and spatial distribution have been researched and anthropegenic uses and impacts registered in order to gain a data foundation for the protection, planning and monitoring of the national park. By zoning the area in the process, designation is to occur of core areas not affected by resource uses or disturbances in order to secure the necessary large-area protection. The respective report contains a visitor channelling concept that also examines public relations and site management. This concept refers back to the zoning concept and, in the terrestrial part of the park, supplements the protective measures. In other words, although it is mainly concerned with national park objectives, the publication can provide information on the conceptional realisation of the Ramsar Convention.

Stock, M., et al. (1996): Ökosystemforschung Wattenmeer - Synthesebericht: Grundlagen für einen Nationalparkplan. - Schriftenreihe des Nationalparks Schleswig-Holsteinisches Wattenmeer 8, 784 p.

In the context of environmental research, the federal government promotes numerous projects oriented towards the provision of scientifically founded concepts on the conservation and sustainable development of wetlands, rivers and lakes within the meaning of the Ramsar Convention. These concepts are developed in close cooperation by the federation and the Laender responsible for their implementation. These concepts basically consist of instructions and implementation concepts that provide problem-solving approaches that can be applied to similar issues in Central and Eastern Europe.

Examples include, as follows:

Formulation of an Ecologically-Based Restoration Concept for Small Water Courses - A Pilot Project

As part of this compound research project, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research promoted research projects on the rivers Hunte, Lahn, Ilm, Stör, Vils and Warnow, whereby ecologically-based river restoration strategies were drawn up. An integral approach was pursued that takes the water bodies, water meadows and catchment areas into consideration as well as interaction with social and economic structures.

In addition to the restoration concepts, means of implementation and thus questions of acceptance and environmental education were also documented. Findings of relevance in terms of implementation have been published in "DVWK-Merkblätter zur Wasserwirtschaft 240/1996, ISSN-0722-7187 - Fluß und Landschaft - Ökologische Entwicklungskonzepte".

Ecosystem Management at Bogs

In the context of this project, which will be completed in 1998, renaturation concepts are being drawn up for the largest bogs in Germany, namely Rhin-Havelluch, Fiedländer Große Wiese, Dümmer and Drömling. An ecological development concept has also been drawn up for the Obere Rhinluch, which is of significance within the context of the Ramsar Convention (ZALF Ergebnisbericht Ökologisches Entwicklungskonzept Oberers Rhinluch, 1998). The project findings will be published in 1999 in a bog renaturation handbook.

The publication "Schutz und Nutzung von Feuchtgebieten", Wasserwild-Symposium vom 28.2. - 1.3.1994, vol. 4 of the publication series issued by the Landesjagdverband Bayern (Bavarian Hunting Association) (Appendix) provides an example of hunting-related management.

2.8 Noting COP6 Recommendation 6.14 relating to toxic chemicals and pollution, please advise of the actions taken since then "to remedy and to prevent pollution impacts affecting Ramsar sites and other wetlands" (Operative paragraph 9).

Efforts to prevent pollution impacts from affecting wetlands are an important conservation policy task. They are continuously extended and lead to steady progress. Examples are as follows:

As part of the Wadden Sea Plan formulated by the Trilateral Government Conference held in 1997 on the Protection of the Wadden Sea, the following measures for reducing Wadden Sea pollution as caused by nutrients, hazardous substances and oil are planned or have been realised in part:

  • in the North Sea hinterlands, sewage treatment plants are to be equipped with a process stage to reduce nutrient content;
  • efforts are to be undertaken to reduce water traffic emission;
  • government-sponsored port facilities can partially reduce oil contamination caused by shipping.

The Rhine-bordering states of Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg signed a Convention on the Collection, Release and Acceptance of Waste in Rhine and Inland Shipping at the Central Commission for Rhine Shipping in Strasbourg on September 9, 1996. The treaty includes:

  • bans issued by the shipping police concerning the discharge of waste and wastewater,
  • provisions on uniform indirect funding of the acceptance and disposal of all oily ship-operation waste, namely in the form of a fuel-consumption-based fee,
  • regulations on the collection, release and acceptance of loading-related waste, other ship-operation waste, and domestic wastewater.

Numerous measures pursuant to international conventions supplement the efforts undertaken throughout Germany to reduce and even prevent the input of noxious substances:

  • International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships (1973) in the version of the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL 73/78).

Under the name Northwest European Maritime Area, the North Sea and the waters adjoining it to the west were designated a Special Area according to MARPOL 73/78, Appendix I (Oil) in 1997 by the Marine Environment Committee of the International Marine Navigation Organisation. Only treated bilge water with a maximum content of 15 ppm of oil may be discharged by ships in this area. The Special Area status will probably come into effect in mid-1999.

  • International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London, 1972).

In the context of resolutions passed in connection with the convention in its version of 1972, the dumping of industrial and radioactive waste and the combustion of liquid hazardous waste was banned in 1993. These bans are component parts of the Protocol of November 7, 1996 to the Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Matter, thus constituting a revision of the 1972 Convention. The Protocol has not yet come into effect.

  • Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention, Paris, 1992)

Within the context of the OSPAR Convention and its predecessors (the Oslo Convention of 1972 and the Paris Convention of 1997), a series of resolutions were passed that aim at reducing the introduction, emission and loss of hazardous and radioactive substances as well as nutrients (in cases where the latter lead to eutrophication). In order to protect the marine environment, the OSPAR commission adopted strategies in July 1998 that have as their aim the continued reduction by the year 2010 of the introduction, emission and loss of hazardous and radioactive substances until the concentrations of naturally occurring hazardous or radioactive substances approach background values and the concentrations of artificial hazardous and radioactive substances are close to nil. A healthy marine environment in which eutrophication no longer occurs is to be achieved by the year 2010 with the help of the strategy to combat eutrophication.

  • Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area

In March 1998, the following recommendations were passed by the Helsinki Commission, among others:

  • Supplement to Appendix III (Land-Based Pollution) of the Convention on Regulations to Reduce Pollution Caused by Agriculture
  • Strategy to Reduce the Deposition of Hazardous Substances, featuring identical objectives to the OSPAR Commission (see above).
  • Convention on Cooperation in Combating Pollution of the North Sea by Oil and Other Noxious Substances (Bonn Convention of 1983):
  • Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (1991);
  • Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (1995);
  • Resolutions of the 4th Conference of the Contracting Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in particular with regard to the Jakarta Mandate (coastal areas) and inland waters

Above and beyond this, as a member of numerous international commissions, Germany undertakes measures concerned with the protection of transfrontier water courses and Lake Constance (cf. 2.6).

In order to prevent contamination of wetlands with lead shot, the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Forestry and the Deutsche Jagdschutz-Verband (German Hunting Protection Association) directed a recommendation to the hunting community as long ago as 1993 concerning relinquishment of the use of lead shot when hunting waterbirds at water bodies.

2.9 Describe what steps have been taken to incorporate wetland economic valuation techniques into natural resource planning and assessment actions.

An economic assessment of the value and function elements of the ecological balance and wetlands in particular only applies to certain fields of statutory nature conservation. As part of the intervention/compensations provisions laid down as part of nature conservation legislation, the payment of a monetary compensatory charge is on principle possible as a final consequence, insofar that the requirements of the intervention provisions (avoidance, or compensation or replacement in the case of considerable disruption) cannot be fulfilled.

Research projects have been performed into the factual basis, methodic instruments and legal aspects of compensatory charges by the federation. Some of the Laender have issued compensatory charge regulations that involve guiding values on land use types or cost unit rates for biotope types.

In landscape planning, which can be regarded as the instrument of natural resources planning, monetisation of the values and functions of the ecological balance is not carried out in the narrower sense. In environmental impact assessment procedures, the social and ethical value of nature and landscapes is not allotted a monetary value either, although these aspects are to be weighed against competing use interests.

2.10 Is Environmental Impact Assessment for actions potentially impacting on wetlands required under legislation in your country? Yes/No

According to the German Federal Environmental Impact Assessment Act of February 12, 1990, environmental impact assessment (EIA) is prescribed for about 50 types of projects, which are compiled in a list in the Appendix to Article 3 of this Act. In addition, the EIA acts of certain Laender require an environmental impact assessment for further types of projects. According to federal and Laender law, these projects consist of measures that can exert a considerable influence on the environment. Such influence can include effects on the ecological state of wetlands. The list of projects requiring an EIA will be extended when the EIA Amendment Directive (Directive 91/11/EEC) is adopted into national law.

In the context of environmental impact assessment, the effects of a project on man, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climate, landscapes, their respective mutual interactions, cultural artefacts and material goods are determined, described and assessed. The findings are then taken into consideration when arriving at a decision on the admissibility of the project.

2.11 Is wetland restoration and rehabilitation considered a priority in your country? Yes/No.  If Yes, describe the actions that have been taken to identify wetlands in need of these actions and to mobilise resources for restoration or rehabilitation.

The policy statement drawn up by the Laender Working Group for Nature Conservation, Landscape Management and Recreation (LANA) in 1991 and affirmatively taken note of by the Conference of the Environmental Ministers of the Laender in 1992 describes renaturation as a crucial aspect of German nature conservation.

In Article 31, Paragraph 1 of the Water Act, it is stipulated that water bodies that are in a natural or near-natural state are to be allowed to remain in this state, and that natural water bodies that have been developed to the point where they are no longer in a near-natural state are to be returned to a near-natural state as far as possible, assuming that predominant public interests do not preclude this. Article 6, Paragraph 2, Federal Water Act, which has been in force since April 30, 1998, serves the implementation of the European Fauna-Flora-Habitat Directive and the Bird Protection Directive, according to which permits and approval pursuant to water legislation are to be denied insofar that the intended use of the water body can be expected to cause considerable impairment to the element of a European protected area that is of significance to the protected area in terms of the applicable preservation goals and protection purpose and that the impairment cannot be redressed by means of the instruments of the Federal Nature Conservation Act.

Many individual renaturation projects are carried out. They mainly concern smaller water courses in which technical development and alteration measures are only reversed in places. Wet meadows, fens and lakes are also subject to renaturation measures. The Environmental Ministry of Lower Saxony performed 400 individual measures concerned with the renaturation of water courses in 1990, for example. One possibility of implementing restoration measures is via the compensatory measures required by the intervention/compensation provisions.

Above and beyond this, the renaturation of wetlands is promoted in programmes that for the most part involve federal funds as well as Land funds. In addition to the aquatic margin programmes (cf. 7.6) for reversing bank-protection works and regenerating water meadows, many "development and trial projects in the nature conservation and landscape management area" have the restoration of near-natural biotopes as their goal. Projects currently taking place with regard to wetlands are listed as follows:

  • Upward adjustment of the water level over a wide area in a moist lowlands fen (Schleswig-Holstein)
  • Re-waterlogging of high salt marshes on the coast of the Wurster Watt (Lower Saxony)
  • Restoration of a meadow-breeding bird area (Lower Saxony)
  • Hay marketing and wet meadow protection in the Dumme lowlands (Lower Saxony)
  • Revitalisation of a canalised river in an agricultural priority area (Lower Saxony)
  • Near-natural design of the riverine meadows at the lower reaches of the Hase (Lower Saxony)
  • Restoration of regional aquatic biotopes in agrarian landscapes (Lower Saxony)
  • Regeneration of water meadow sites that characterise the landscape (Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • Development of grassland and a riparian woodland in the water meadows of the Berkel (North Rhine-Westphalia)
  • Renaturation of a section of the Oster stream (Saarland)
  • Regeneration of fen biological communities (Bavaria)
  • Renaturation of sections of the upper reaches of the Isar (Bavaria).

2.12 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage active and informed participation of local communities, including indigenous people, and in particular women, in the conservation and wise use of wetlands." (refer to Actions 2.7.1-4 in the Strategic Plan).

The scope and quality of nature conservation measures that serve the protection and sustainable use of wetlands largely depend on the extent to which the local population is able to accept and identify with these goals. Public relations work in well-known and much-frequented wetlands is performed above all by the institutions or persons that manage these areas. Should problems that could impede the goals of the Ramsar Convention occur with other interest groups, the respective issues can be discussed in so-called cooperative conflict-settlement procedures involving all the relevant stakeholders and a neutral mediator. This method of citizen participation currently becoming established provides those affected by the problem with the possibility of co-determination, while for those entrusted with the management of the respective area it facilitates objective discussion of the measures to be carried out. For example, "lakes conferences" for settling disputes are carried out in Bavaria according to this method. Committed and informed public relations specifically related to the Ramsar Convention are only performed for a few Wetlands of International Importance in Germany. Excursions, lectures, working group meetings, etc. take place on a regular basis but the influence that the Ramsar Convention has on public relations and educational work should not be overestimated. With a few exceptions, this influence is mainly oriented to the large number of designated protected areas (national parks, biosphere reserves, etc.). However, Wetlands of International Importance profit from the protection, management and maintenance measures undertaken for these types of protected areas. To a certain extent, such measures are begun and promoted before the respective sites are designated Wetlands of International Importance.

It is also worthy of note that numerous individual persons, associations, interest groups, etc. undertake voluntary efforts in collaboration with the respective property owners to protect and restore biotopes, whereby wetlands are often the main focus of interest.

2.13 Describe what actions have been taken to "encourage involvement of the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands" (refer to Actions 2.8.1-4 in the Strategic Plan). Has this included a review of fiscal measures (taxation arrangements, etc.) to identify and remove disincentives and introduce incentives for wetlands conservation and wise use? Yes/No   If yes, please provide details.

Examples of the wise use of Wetlands of International Importance comprise:

a. Agricultural Use:

The Use Extensification Programmes of the Laender give farmers the possibility to receive a compensatory payment for extensive, i.e. sustainable, cultivation of wet pasturage; this payment amounts to the difference that could be achieved if the site were intensively farmed. Since 1992, environmentally-compatible agricultural production processes in particular are subsidised as part of the measures accompanying the reform of the Joint Agrarian Policy. Regulation (EEC) No. 2078/92 provides that benefits are to be made available to farmers who agree to implement measures concerned with the protection and conservation of natural resources and landscapes. Relevant sponsoring programmes are drawn up and implemented by the Laender. A comprehensive range of sponsoring programmes pursuant to the above-mentioned regulation exists in Germany. All pasturage covered by nature conservation at North Rhine-Westphalian Ramsar sites (this corresponds to 26 percent of the Unterer Niederrhein Wetlands of International Importance and Weserstaustufe Schlüsselburg Wetlands of International Importance) has been admitted into the Wetlands Protection Programme; i.e. the farmers agree to cultivate the land according to the protective goals and receive a compensatory payment on the statutory basis of Council Directive (EEC) 2078/92. Above and beyond this, in the Unterer Niederrhein Wetlands of International Importance, efforts are being undertaken by the Kleve County Nature Conservation Centre (Naturschutzzentrum im Kreis Kleve) to support this extensive and environmentally-compatible form of pasturage cultivation still further. The Nature Conservation Centre plans to achieve a reduced-impact form of pasturage cultivation by reducing dairy cow stocks with the help of the project "Promotion of the Production and Marketing of Agricultural Products", whereby the products are to be marketed locally and regionally. In future, the responsible environmental ministry, namely that of North Rhine-Westphalia, will also be promoting the "regional marketing" of products from Wetlands of International Importance.

b. Hunting Use:

Hunting has been terminated or restricted at many Ramsar sites. This has taken place on the basis of the bans expressed in nature conservation area regulations, on the basis of national park laws, by means of designation of game reserves in accordance with Land hunting law or by voluntary waiver. Waterbird hunting has no longer been practised in the entire area of 16 German Wetlands of International Importance since 1996, and has been brought to a halt in parts of eight Wetlands of International Importance.

c. Recreational Use:

A form of recreational use involving low impact for nature and landscapes is practised in the Unterer Inn Wetlands of International Importance in the form of visitor channelling measures. Reorientation of tourism according to the principle of sustainability, for which the conceptional prerequisites already exist, is also being strived for in Wadden Sea areas, but a WWF study reveals considerable shortcomings in the concrete implementation of sustainable uses in these areas.

Voluntary agreements to restrict recreational use have been concluded for three large lakes in Upper Bavaria. Above and beyond this, a non-disturbance concept has been devised for resting and wintering waterbirds at Lake Starnberg.

In October 1997, leisure and tourism associations and organisations issued a joint environmental declaration acknowledging sustainable tourism as a guiding principle for the future development of the branch. The environmental declaration (known as the Berlin Declaration) contains ten guidelines on sustainable tourism development. Intensification of collaboration with partners outside the tourism field is a further objective. At the fourth Conference of the Contracting Parties on the Convention on Biological Diversity it was agreed to draw up sustainable tourism guidelines on a national and international level.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 3
To raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels

3.1 Is there a government-run national programme for Education and Public Awareness in your country which focuses on, or includes, wetlands? Yes/No? If yes, what are the priority actions under this programme and who are the target groups? (Refer also to question 9.4)

Like nature conservation in general, education is on principle the responsibility of the Laender. Nature conservation education is by no means a privileged component of school biology lessons. The nature conservation academies of the Laender (such as the Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management (Bayerische Akademie für Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege), the Alfred Töpfer Academy for Nature Conservation (Alfred Töpfer Akademie für Naturschutz) in Lower Saxony and the Müritzhof Academy (Müritzhof Landeslehrstätte) in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) present topics related to wetlands in the form of seminars, lectures, guided tours and exhibitions.

The nature conservation associations perform a particular function in the provision of information on nature conservation issues, including those affecting wetlands. The associations do valuable work in raising public awareness at local facilities set up in protected areas (such as nature conservation stations, information centres and association seminar centres, etc.), and their activities address both visitors to the protected areas as well as schoolchildren, students and association members. Important target groups include civil servants from authorities concerned with wetlands, as well as wetland property owners and users, municipal corporations and agricultural and water resources management associations.

3.2 Describe the steps taken to have wetlands issues and Ramsar’s Wise Use principles included as part of the curricula of educational institutions. Has this been at all levels of education (primary, secondary, tertiary and adult)? Please give details.

In addition to other ecological and nature conservation-related aspects, the topic of wetlands has gained admission in school environmental education. This also applies in part to German schools abroad. As an aspect of general school education, environmental education is not a subject in itself. Rather, the attempt is made to examine environmental and nature conservation issues and ecological questions in various subjects in order to create awareness of the variety of viewpoints, considerations and solutions applying to individual complexes of problems.

In Lower Saxony, for example, the goals of environmental education are laid down in framework guidelines that specify the educational mandate of school legislation. According to these guidelines, the contents of environmental education are not to be included in the curriculum but rather are to be implemented in the form of cross-subject project work concerning selected examples.

Extramural educational work can be provided by utilising the information and educational events organised in currently 20 Wetlands of International Importance as well as the information centres that exist in 19 Wetlands of International Importance. The educational events consist of guided tours, excursions, seminars, slide lectures and field observation measures that help raise awareness among the visitors (adults and children) of the conservation of sites, fauna and flora.

The increasing general ignorance of flora and fauna species and the widespread lack of identification with nature conservation issues on the part of children and youths is regarded as problematic. Interest in natural resources and a responsible attitude towards them should be fostered in school education.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 4
To reinforce the capacity of institutions in each Contracting Party to achieve conservation and wise use of wetlands.

4.1 Describe the mechanisms in place, or being introduced, to increase cooperation between the various institutions responsible for actions which can have an impact on the conservation and wise use of wetlands. If one of the mechanisms is a National Ramsar/Wetlands Committee, please describe its composition, functions and modus operandi.

Regulations exist regarding cooperation between the various sector and specialised planning authorities on the instrument of environmental impact assessment, which is prescribed by law for certain projects (cf. 2.10), and the respective provisions concerning the implementation of planning approval procedures (cf. 2.6). The establishment of advisory councils concerned with nature conservation (for example in the three German Wadden Sea national parks) and the implementation of mediation procedures (cf. 2.12) are to be extended still further as a means of improving cooperation.

The National Ramsar/Wetland Committee set up and run by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety has been in existence since 1993. The Committee is made up of representatives from the following authorities and organisations:

  • the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety
  • the Federal Office for Nature Conservation
  • the nature conservation ministries of the Laender
  • nature conservation associations
  • land user associations
  • private ecological research organisations.

The National Ramsar/Wetland Committee provides advice and issues recommendations regarding execution of the Convention, application of the Montreux Register and the implementation of resolutions and recommendations. The following topics are discussed at the meetings, which have taken place on an annual basis to date:

  • the military use of wetlands
  • the use of lead shot in the hunting of waterbirds
  • application of the "monitoring procedure" in the Unterer
  • Niederrhein Wetlands of International Importance
  • the planned transfrontier Oberrhein Wetlands of International Importance
  • the draft report on the National Wetlands Policy
  • the 1997-2002 strategic plan.

The National Ramsar/Wetland Committee enables institutional collaboration between the various institutions that, on the federation and Land level, are responsible for or have an influence on the implementation of nature conservation goals and thus wetlands protection.

4.2 Of the following, indicate which have been undertaken:

a. a review to identify the training needs of institutions and individuals concerned with the conservation and wise use of wetlands Yes/No? If yes, please indicate the major findings of the review.

b. a review to identify training opportunities for these people both within your country and in other countries. Yes/No?

c. the development of training modules or a training programme specifically for wetland managers. If yes, please give details.

d. people from your country have gained wetland-related training either within or outside the country. Yes/No? If yes, please give details.

Training is not provided to wetlands keepers. The respective knowledge is conveyed along with other subject matter to both paid and unpaid keepers working in the nature conservation field (particularly in protected areas).

The nature conservation associations train people active in the respective protected areas in the form of short courses and with the help of experienced protected-area keepers.

Full-time protected-area keepers are employed in German national parks that are also Wetlands of International Importance. Their main tasks are to explain, clarify, inform and supervise. The Land academies provide regular courses and seminars to train the unpaid auxiliary personnel who are deployed to support the nature conservation authorities in their work. The main contents of such training for nature conservation rangers comprises legal, organisational and nature conservation issues, whereby official acknowledgement of course results is dependent on the specialised and social ability of the participants.

The "State-Approved Nature and Landscape Manager" Regulation issued in March 1998 is the basis for further training that is uniform throughout Germany. The federal recommendation concerning the curriculum of this course includes not only landscape management topics (in which "wetland habitats" are also examined) but also communicative elements, which represent an important prerequisite for fostering the acceptance of nature conservation among the population.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 5
To ensure the conservation of all sites included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar List).

5.1 Of the Ramsar sites in your country, how many have formal management plans:

a. being prepared?
b. fully prepared?
c. being implemented?

Please indicate in the attached table of Ramsar sites which sites these are and what category they fall into.

(cf. Appendix 1)

5.2 Of the management plans referred to above, which ones have included a monitoring scheme or programme to allow changes in ecological character to be detected? Please indicate this in the attached table of Ramsar sites also.

(cf. Appendix 1)

5.3 Has there been a change in the ecological character (either positive or negative) at any of your Ramsar sites or is this likely to occur in the near future? Yes/No.  If Yes, please give details.

The following detailed information is provided on the development of anthropogenic influences at a selection of German Wetlands of International Importance at which changes in ecological character have been registered, or which have been affected by planning during the period under review. Due to lack of systematic monitoring and the short term of the period under review, these particulars do no more than present a trend in terms of ecological state.

blue ballLower Saxony Wadden Sea; Hamburg Wadden Sea; Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea

on-going permanent impact:

  • eutrophication
  • pollutant input from rivers, via the atmosphere, etc.
  • disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • disturbances caused by military and civil aviation
  • occasional disturbances caused by military weapon trials
  • disturbance caused by illegal boat landing activities
  • oil pollution
  • habitat changes caused by intensive fishing use
  • disturbance caused by industrial settlements and wind turbines
  • road construction and housing development in parts of the coastal area

newly-occurring impact/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • intensification of recreation activities
  • partial intensification of fishing use (mussel fishing)
  • construction of the Euro-pipeline
  • changes caused by increased erosion processes
  • planned canal construction between the outer reaches of the Weser and the outer reaches of the Elbe
  • planned Ems storm surge barrier

reduced impacts/improvements:

  • reduction of pollutant input
  • partial return of grazing intensity in the foreshore area by means of sheep
  • almost complete suspension of hunting
  • partial reduction of military aviation and weapon trials
  • reduction of fishing use (cockle fishing)
  • restriction of possibilities for navigation by ship

blue ballNiederelbe, Barnkrug - Otterndorf (Lower Elbe between Barnkrug and Otterndorf)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • pollutant input from the Elbe
  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use in the inland dike areas and foreshores
  • disturbances caused by low-level military flights and helicopter sorties
  • disturbances caused by hunting and fishing
  • disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • disturbances caused by road traffic
  • risk of injury or death due to medium-voltage power lines

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • intensification of agricultural use outside nature conservation areas in the inland dike areas and foreshores
  • Wadden Sea loss due to dike construction measures
  • measures to deepen the Elbe

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • consolidation of extensive-use pasturage
  • improvement of the water regime through the purchasing of land
  • intensification of keeper activities by the state nature conservation stations
  • decline of pollutant concentration in the Elbe
  • use extensification in agricultural areas
  • elimination of uses in foreshore areas
  • reduction of disturbances caused by hunting

blue ballDümmer

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication
  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use
  • habitat changes caused by water resource management maintenance measures
  • disturbances caused by hunting and fishing
  • disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • disturbances caused by road traffic
  • disturbances caused by military aviation

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • increase in eutrophication and digested sludge
  • intensification of recreational uses
  • conversion from cropland into pasturage
  • planned construction of a major tourism project (the planning approval procedure is underway)

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of nutrient input and de-sludging
  • termination of intensive use in certain areas, and subsequent alteration for nature
  • conservation purposes
  • reduction of disturbances caused by recreational uses
  • restriction of disturbances caused by hunting

blue ballDiepholzer Moorniederung (Diepholzer Fen Lowland)

on-going permanent impacts:

  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use
  • habitat changes caused by water management maintenance measures
  • habitat loss due to peat extraction
  • disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • disturbance caused by road traffic
  • disturbances caused by civil and military aviation

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • intensification of agricultural use, particularly in the form of special crop cultivation
  • intensification of water management maintenance measures
  • increased habitat loss due to peat extraction

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of peat extraction areas
  • termination of intensive use in certain areas, and subsequent design for nature conservation
  • purposes
  • implementation of maintenance and development measures, particularly in the form of re-waterlogging

blue ballSteinhuder Meer (Lake Steinhuder Meer)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication
  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use
  • habitat changes caused by water management maintenance measures
  • habitat loss due to peat extraction
  • disturbances caused by hunting and fishing
  • disturbances caused by recreation activities
  • disturbances caused by military aviation

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • increase in eutrophication and the formation of digested sludge
  • intensification of agricultural use
  • intensification of water management maintenance measures
  • intensification of recreation activities
  • de-sludging of the lake during the waterbird breeding season
  • plans to use polder area for dumping sludge
  • canal and hotel construction

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of nutrient input
  • use extensification in agricultural areas
  • termination of intensive use in certain areas, and subsequent design for nature
  • conservation purposes
  • restriction of disturbances caused by hunting through the designation of game reserves
  • winter ban on boats used for water sports

blue ballUnterer Inn (Lower Inn)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • disturbances caused by angling
  • fauna modification caused by angling
  • disturbances caused by hunting on the Austrian side of the river
  • structural impacts caused by river correction and impoundage
  • habitat loss caused by illegal building activities

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • loss of riparian woodlands due to use changes
  • increase in boat operation on the Austrian side of the river

reduced impact/improvements:

  • increasing waterbird populations
  • preservation of sections of riparian woodlands
  • termination of hunting
  • restriction of angling
  • restriction of recreational uses/disturbance prevention by means of purposeful visitor channelling
  • improved water quality

blue ballIsmaninger Speichersee mit Fischteichen (Ismaning Reservoir and Fish Pond Complex)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • local disturbance caused by the B471 main road

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • strong decline in moulting populations due to improved wastewater treatment

reduced impact/improvements:

  • improved water quality

blue ballStarnberger See (Lake Starnberg)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • loss of 90 percent of aquatic reed stocks
  • disturbances caused by intensive recreational uses
  • disturbances caused by hunting and angling
  • increase in Dreissena polymorpha mussel populations

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • increased windsurfing in winter

reduced impact/improvements:

  • voluntary agreement to restrict water sports from the end of November to the end of March
  • no issuance of day angling permits in March

blue ballAmmersee (Lake Ammer)

reduced impact/improvements:

  • a site warden has now been provided

blue ballBoddengewässer Ostufer, Westküste Rügen-Hiddensee (Eastern Shore of the Greifswalder Bodden, Western Coast of the Islands of Rügen and Hiddensee)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication
  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use
  • disturbances caused by recreation
  • disturbances caused by hunting
  • disturbances caused by fishing

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • intensification of agricultural use
  • increase in boat traffic (passenger shipping, sports boat traffic, angling)
  • planned enlargement of marinas and new installations (including hydroplane airport in the catchment area)
  • adverse change in the navigation regulations applying to the federal waterway in the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park
  • intensification of recreational uses
  • disturbances caused by military and civil aviation

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of eutrophication
  • agricultural use extensification
  • termination of angling
  • termination of water sports
  • restriction of hunting
  • restriction of fishing
  • termination of use in certain areas, and subsequent design and maintenance for nature conservation purposes
  • restriction of recreational uses

blue ballKrakower Obersee

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication caused by the surrounding area
  • habitat changes caused by intensive fishing use

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • Dobbin/Walckmöhl
  • initiation of the planning approval procedure to re-activate the former fish hatchery and fish fattening farm

reduced impact/improvements:

  • decrease in eutrophication
  • restriction of fishing
  • termination of angling

blue ballUnteres Odertal, Schwedt (Lower Oder Valley near Schwedt)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • input of ecotoxic compounds
  • effects on water flow in the summer months

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • planned road construction

reduced impact/improvements:

  • reduction of eutrophication
  • agricultural use extensification
  • termination of agricultural use in areas
  • reduction of disturbances caused by fishing and angling
  • termination of waterbird hunting
  • restriction of recreational uses
  • habitat improvements due to water-level adjustment in keeping with nature conservation requirements

blue ballNiderungen der Unteren Havel/Gülper See (Lowlands of the Lower Havel/Lake Gülp)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication of Lake Gülp
  • habitat changes caused by intec nsive agricultural use
  • habitat loss due to drainage measures and the ploughing up of grassland

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • increase in eutrophication
  • intensification of agricultural uses
  • threat represented by the planned development of the Havel
  • low water level of the Havel
  • planned bridge construction
  • planned weir renewal

reduced impact/improvements:

  • improvement of water quality
  • reduction of drainage and support for artificial flood irrigation
  • agricultural use extensification
  • termination of use in certain areas, and subsequent design and maintenance for nature conservation purposes

blue ballHelmestausee Berga-Kelbra (Helma Reservoir Berga-Kelbra)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • eutrophication
  • disturbances caused by recreation
  • disturbances caused by hunting

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • intensification of agriculture
  • increase in eutrophication
  • transformation of wetlands into arable land in the reservoir reserve areas
  • intensification of recreational uses

reduced impact/improvements:

  • improvement of water quality
  • restriction of eutrophication thanks to a diversion channel
  • extensification of fish farming use

blue ballWeserstaustufe Schlüsselburg (Schlüsselburg Barrage Weir on the Weser)

on-going permanent impacts :

  • salinisation of the Weser
  • habitat changes caused by intensive agricultural use
  • disturbances caused by military aviation
  • disturbances caused by gravel quarrying in the surrounding area
  • disturbances caused by fishing use
  • disturbances caused by recreational uses
  • disturbances caused by angling
  • disturbances caused by hunting outside the prohibited zones

newly-occurring impacts/threats/increases in use intensity:

  • renewed deepening of the Weser
  • intensification of recreational uses
  • increase in military aviation
  • construction of a high-tension power line

reduced impact/improvements:

  • improvement of water quality
  • decrease in salinisation
  • restriction of angling
  • restriction of military aviation
  • restriction of hunting
  • restriction of navigational possibilities
  • termination of use in certain areas, and subsequent design and maintenance for nature conservation purposes

5.4 In the case of Montreux Record Ramsar sites where the Management Guidance Procedure has been applied, what is the status of the implementation of the MGP report recommendations? What is the expected time-frame for removing the site from the Montreux Record?

In 1993, the Untere Niederrhein Ramsar site was proposed for acceptance in the Montreux Record. After discussion of the problems, the mining interventions at the site were finally rated as being non-objectionable in terms of the development of this Wetlands of International Importance. These interventions could even have a beneficial effect in view of the erosion of the bed of the Rhine. For this reason, in a letter written as long ago as April 19,.1995, the Ministry of the Environment applied to the Ramsar Secretariat to have the Unterer Niederrhein Wetlands of International Importance removed from the Montreux Record.

The issues concerning the East Frisian Wadden Sea including the Dollard Wetlands of International Importance, which is on the Montreux Record, have been resolved and an application has been made to have the site removed.

5.5 For those countries referred to in COP6 Recommendations 6.17.1-4, "Ramsar sites in the Territories of Specific Contracting Parties", please provide advice on the actions that have been taken in response to the issues raised at that time.

Does not apply to Germany (cf. 5.4).

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 6
To designate for the Ramsar List those wetlands which meet the Convention’s criteria, especially wetland types still under-represented in the List and transfrontier wetlands.

6.1 Has a national inventory of wetlands been prepared for your country? Yes/No.  If no, are there plans for this to be done? Yes/No.  Where a national inventory exists please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept and what information it contains.

Numerous elements of a wetland inventory exist. A selection of data is provided as follows. This data can be provided in greater detail on the basis of further research:

Fens, wet pastures and wet woodlands are included as conforming to the definition of wetlands as used for the Ramsar Convention along with the various water body types (water courses, lakes, reservoirs, dredging pools, open mining lakes, ponds, and coastal areas up to a depth of 6 metres at low tide).

blue ballData on water bodies in Germany are only available as from a specified area of

  • 1,102.8 km2 total area for natural lakes with a surface of over 6 km2
  • 154.4 km2 total area for reservoirs with a catchment capability of over 25 million m3
  • 5,466 km total length for navigable rivers
  • 1,552.6 km total length for ship canals with an individual length of over 30 km and a bearing capacity of at least 650 tonnes
  • catchment areas of the rivers:
  • Danube: 48,209 km2
  • Main: 19,685 km2
  • Elbe: 1,971 km2
  • Rhine: 603 km2
  • Weser: 48 km2
  • open mining lakes:
  • Lausitz: 7 lakes
    • 3,366 ha water surface
    • 2,269 m3 lake volume
  • Central Germany (with the main focus north and south of Leipzig):
    • 18 lakes
    • 10,325 ha water surface
    • 1,907 m3 lake surface
  • Wetterau: 16 lakes
    • 302 ha water surface
  • Ville/Cologne: 39 lakes
    • 438 ha water surface
    • 19,430 m3 lake volume

Germany's available water resources (consisting of the difference between the multi-year averages of precipitation and condensation) amount to 182 km3/a.

blue ballMapping surveys have also been conducted of several wetland types by individual Laender:

Bavaria has 70,000 km of water courses and over 3,000 lakes.

  • Bayerisches Landesamt f. Wasserwirtschaft [Ed.]: Flußgebiete in Bayern mit einem Gewässeratlas 1: 200.000. - Munich, 1978.
  • Bayerisches Landesamt f. Wasserwirtschaft [ed.]: Verzeichnis der Seen in Bayern . 2. Ergebnislieferung. - Munich, 1995.
  • Bayerisches Landesamt für Umweltschutz (Ed.) Seeuferuntersuchung Bayern, publication series issue no. 67 - Munich 1997
  • Bayerisches Landesamt für Umweltschutz: Gesamtökologisches Gutachten Donauried - Schwäbische Donautal zwischen Neu-Ulm und Donauwörth, draft - Munich 1997

As in other Laender, a biotope mapping survey has been carried out in Lower Saxony, from which the following wetland particulars are derived:

  • riparian woodlands: 4,695 ha
  • brakes: 5,748 ha
  • headwater areas: 305 ha
  • streams, ditches: 2,796 ha
  • rivers: 1,205 ha
  • oxbow lakes: 2,081 ha
  • lentic waters: 3,297 ha
  • wet extraction areas (dredging pools, stone pits, clay pits, sand pits, gravel pits, ponds, pools, etc.): 1,928 ha
  • dammed waters: 2,765 ha
  • salt marshes and glasswort flats: 7,905 ha
  • river tidal flats: 1,950 ha
  • wet dune troughs: 336 ha
  • raised bogs and carrs: 2,305 ha
  • regenerating peat banks: 3,762 ha
  • moorlands: 5,484 ha
  • bogs: 2,334 ha
  • wet pastures: 20,860 ha
  • These particulars have been taken from:
  • Drachenfels, O. v. et al. (1984): Naturschutzatlas Niedersachsen - Naturschutz und Landschaftspflege in Niedersachsen 13: 267 p.

Further itemisation of several wet woodlands in Lower Saxony revealed:

  • birch brakes: 3,340 ha
  • alder brakes: 2,054 ha
  • alder/ash woods: 2,251 ha
  • hardwood riparian woods: 206 ha

blue ballAbove and beyond this, national compilations exist of areas that are of outstanding sectoral significance for individual flora and fauna groups. For example Lohmann & Haarmann (1989a, 1989b) and Lohmann & Rutschke (1991) have compiled a list of all German wetlands that are of national significance as bird areas:

  • Lohmann, M. & Haarmann, K. (1989a): Vogelparadiese. Vol. 1: Norddeutschland - Hamburg, Berlin (Parey) 319 p.
  • Lohmann, M. & Haarmann, K. (1989b): Vogelparadiese. Vol. 2: Süddeutschland - Hamburg, Berlin (Parey) 287 p.
  • Lohmann, M. & Rutschke, E. (1991): Vogelparadiese. Vol. 3: Ost- and Mitteldeutschland. - Berlin, Hamburg (Parey) 241 p.

blue ballThe great significance of bogs is reflected in the large number of data applying to Laender or regions. Some area size details follow:

  • Eastern Germany: approx. 550,000 ha
  • Western Germany: approx. 91,400 ha
  • Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: approx. 293.000 ha
  • Bavaria: approx. 32,000 ha (without the Alps)

6.2 Does there exist a list or directory of "important" wetlands for your country or region? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details of when it was finalised, where it is kept, what criteria for "important" were used, and the types of information it contains.

In 1993, a "shadow list" was drawn up of potential Ramsar site candidates by nature conservation associations in the form of scientific recommendations, whereby delineated areas were not named in all cases. This list contains 52 Important Bird Areas (IBA) in accordance with the EU Bird Protection Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC), whereby details are provided on geographic co-ordinates, protected status, a short description of the site and a description of selected bird species. In addition to this "shadow list", lists also exist proposing the designation of further Wetlands of International Importance in Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony-Anhalt and Lower Saxony.

6.3 If it is known, please provide an estimate of the area of wetlands in your country at present and any information on rates of loss or conversion to other activities. If this information is available, please indicate what definition of "wetland" was used.

With its geographic location in a temperate humid zone, Germany has a mean annual precipitation rate of approx. 760 mm. In the low-precipitation areas, this rate lies at about 500 mm; in the Alps, it reaches a maximum of about 2,500 mm. Wetlands are distributed throughout the whole of Germany; pronounced dry zones are rare. Cases of local water scarcity are ascribable to anthropogenic influences.

According to OECD figures, more that 50 percent of West Germany's wetlands disappeared between 1950 and 1985 alone. For example,

  • 300,000 ha of peatlands have been subjected to drainage in northern Germany since the beginning of the century; this amounts to half the peatlands in existence in this part of Germany in the last century;
  • riparian woodlands located at rivers and floodplains have increasingly declined in size due to river-straightening measures and the construction of flood protection structures:
  • 20,000 ha of salt marshes were destroyed in the Wadden Sea between 1950 and 1984, with the result that only 40,000 ha exist today.

The extent of wetland type loss in Germany (cf. 6.1) becomes evident when the degree of the endangerment pertaining to the forms of vegetation that occur in these areas is taken into consideration. The percentage of extinct and threatened plant species of oligotrophic bogs and fen woodlands increased by 28 percent in the eight years between 1988 and 1996.

  • Source: Korneck, D., Schnittler, M., Klingenstein, F., Ludwig, G., Takla, M, Bohn, U. & May, R. (1998): Warum verarmt unsere Flora? Auswertung der Roten Liste der Farn- und Blütenpflanzen Deutschlands. - Schriftenreihe für Vegetationskunde, no. 29.

In Germany, water resources increased by 7 percent (based on comparison of the 1931/60 annual measurement series (170 km3/a) and that of 1961/90 (182 km3/a)).

An additional 3 percent of the rivers were rendered navigable between 1977 (5,330 km of navigable rivers) and 1997 (5,466 km).

A comparison of biological water quality maps from the years 1985 and 1995 indicates a positive change in the state of the water in German water courses (Appendices 3a and 3b). The increase in sewage treatment plants is reflected in the improved water quality of the whole of the Rhine, the Danube in the Regensburg region, the Neckar below Stuttgart, the lower reaches of the Main in the Land of Hesse, the Weser, the Elbe and the Leine.

The following information can be provided on bogs:

  • about 95 percent of the bogs in eastern Germany have been subjected to drainage
  • 45 percent of the bogs in western Germany have been destroyed within a period of 20 years (Annual Abstract of Statistics: bogs in 1973: 165,100 ha; bogs in 1993: 91,400 ha)
  • more than 90 percent of the bogs in Lower Saxony have been destroyed
  • 30,000 ha of bogs in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are mineralised and thus destroyed (this has happened over the past 30 years); strong or extreme draining applies to 62.5 percent of the bogs.

6.4 Have any actions been taken in response to the COP6 Resolutions and Recommendations that Contracting Parties should give priority to listing Wetlands of International Importance which:

a. meet the criteria for fish habitat (Resolution VI.2),
b. meet the 1% criterion for waterbird populations using data provided by the International Waterfowl Census (Resolution VI.4),
c. are subterranean karst or cave wetland systems (Resolution VI.5),
d. are peatland ecosystems (Recommendation 6.1)
e. are coral reefs and associated systems (Recommendation 6.7)
f. are under-represented wetland types (which apart from d. and e. above include mangroves and sea grass beds) (Strategic Plan Action 6.2.3)

Yes/No? If yes, please describe these actions.

The wetlands named for Germany have been mainly selected according to the one percent criterion for waterbird populations (cf. 6.4 b).

6.5 If your government indicated at COP6 that it would be proceeding to list further specific sites, please advise of the status of this action.

Preparations for the designation of the envisaged Franco-German Oberrhein Ramsar site have reached an advanced stage.

6.6 Please advise which of the sites included in the Ramsar List from your country are transfrontier wetlands (Refer also to 7.1).

The three Wetlands of International Importance in the Wadden Sea (involving The Netherlands and Denmark), the Untere Odertal bei Schwedt (involving Poland), the Untere Inn (involving Austria) and the Untere Niederrhein (involving The Netherlands) are transfrontier Wetlands of International Importance.

6.7 Describe any plans, or actions being taken for further transfrontier sites to be listed (Refer also to 7.1).

Efforts (begun in 1992) are still being taken to designate the Franco-German area of the Upper Rhine lowlands (Oberrhein) as a Wetlands of International Significance. Determining the borders of the site as well as guiding principles for its sustainable development are subjects of discussion (cf. 6.5).

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 7
To mobilise international cooperation and financial assistance for wetland conservation and wise use in collaboration with other conventions and agencies, both governmental and non-governmental.

7.1 Briefly describe any bilateral or multilateral activities that have been taken, are under way, or are planned for the management of transfrontier wetlands or their watersheds/catchments (Refer also to 6.6 and 6.7).

a.Wadden Sea

The Wadden Sea Plan, which can be regarded as a joint management plan for the Wadden Sea, was signed at the 8th International Wadden Sea Conference of the three states of The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany in October 1997 (cf. 2.7) (Appendix 2).

b.Lower Oder Valley near Schwedt (Unteres Odertal bei Schwedt)

Further progress has been made in cooperation on the Lower Oder Valley International Park, a transfrontier Wetland of International Importance, by the two respective park departments. In addition to intensive cooperation in the area of animal species conservation, joint conferences are also carried out, thus enabling an exchange of experience between the wetland rangers. Formulation of a concept that harmonises management and development planning on the German and Polish sides of the Lower Oder Valley was completed in January 1997. In order to align methods and working practice, a presentation was made on faunal and floristic census methods, data processing and the creation of map material.

c. LIFE Project Lower Inn and Water Meadows (Unterer Inn mit Auen)

The project is being carried out with Austria. The riparian woodland areas will be designated a nature conservation area, and habitats, flora and fauna (in particular waders and waterbirds) typical of the inner water meadows are to be preserved on a sustainable basis.

d. Lower Niederrheich (Unterer Niederrhein)

The Land of North Rhine-Westphalia is seeking to create interest in the idea of enlargement of the total area around the Gelderse Poort area on the Dutch side of the border. This would enable an improvement of the exchange of information and the transfrontier harmonisation of site management.

7.2 Do you have Ramsar sites that are "twinned" with others, either nationally or internationally? Yes/No. If yes, please give details.

Some of the German sites also designated as Wetlands of International Importance have concluded cooperation agreements with other wetlands. These agreements and others initiated by individual German regions concerning the promotion of wetlands protection in other countries are named as follows (cf. Appendix 4):

a. The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation and Guinea Bissau have agreed on a declaration of intent concerning the Wadden Sea and the coastal areas of Guinea Bissau. The current three-year programme (1998 - 2000) is to include continuation of the training of an ornithological team that is to assume research and monitoring tasks concerning waders that winter in Guinea-Bissau.

b. A declaration of intent concerning the Wadden Sea and The Wash/Norfolk Coast was agreed on by the Trilateral Wadden Sea cooperation and English Nature. The appurtenant work programme for 1992 to 1994 included an exchange of information and experience on the development of coastal management.

c. An agreement concerning equitable cooperation and practical help was reached by the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea National Park and the Taimyr Reserve in Russia in 1992. Nature conservational collaboration has since been extended to include the Lower Saxony Wadden Sea National Park, the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, the Great Arctic Reserve as well as further reserves in the area of the Barents Sea.

d. Financial and specialised support for the regeneration and improvement of Djoudj National Park has been agreed on by the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Republic of Senegal. Biotope maintenance measures, the formulation of a development plan and control of water level and salinity are being promoted in the park on the basis of the former alluvial dynamics. Above and beyond this, North Rhine-Westphalia and the Gesellschaft für technische Zusammenarbeit (German Technical cooperation Company Ltd.) have financed the establishment of a biological station which is to be used to conduct research into the park and train rangers.

e. A partnership agreement was concluded between the Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft National Park and Lahemàa National Park (in Estonia) in 1997. The collaboration, which is supported with EU funding, is to serve professional and informal exchange on topics concerning training, education and the raising of public awareness in the two national parks.

f. A partnership agreement is currently being drawn up by the Lower Oder Valley National Park and Biebrza National Park (a riverine landscape in Poland).

g. The Naturschutzzentrum Hesse e.V. (the Hesse Nature Conservation Centre Association), the Schweizer Vogelschutz (Swiss Bird Protection), the Austrian WWF chapter and EURONATUR are supporting the development of a demonstration maintenance and cultivation concept for the Boronka ponds in Hungary in order to achieve conservation of the diverse habitats in the area.

h. In collaboration with EURONATUR, the partner regions of Baden-Württemberg and Catalonia (Spain) have agreed on a project that envisages the protection and restoration of ecologically valuable wetland zones for birds of passage at Delta de Llobregat, near Barcelona. Individual measures include the regeneration and re-flooding of former marshlands, the establishment of a nature conservation information centre and the purchase or lease of particularly threatened areas. The delta is designated a Ramsar Site in Spain.

i. A cooperation agreement was concluded by the Biologische Station Krickenbecker Seen e.V (Krickenbeck Lakes Biological Station Association), EURONATUR and the National Environmental Protection Foundation (Poland) in May 1998. The goal of the cooperation is to support the environmentally-compatible development of biological diversity in Narev National Park and its buffer zones.

7.3 Where your country is also a signatory of any of the following Conventions, describe what mechanism(s) exist to assist regular dialogue and cooperative actions between the personnel responsible for their implementation and the Ramsar Administrative Authority:

a. Convention on Biological Diversity
b. Framework Convention on Climate Change
c. Convention to Combat Desertification
d. Convention on Migratory Species
e. World Heritage Convention

Germany is a signatory of all the above conventions (a. to e.). The Federal Ministry of the Environment is the point of contact for all environmental and nature conservation issues concerning these conventions.

7.4 Is your country cooperating as part of any bilateral or multilateral activities directed at the conservation of migratory wetland species? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.

Germany is a Contracting Party to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention of 1979). Various regional agreements concerning the protection of certain endangered species have been signed within the scope of this convention, such as the

  • Agreement on the Conservation of Seals in the Wadden Sea
  • Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas
  • Agreement on the Conservation of Bats in Europe
  • Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) (a respective draft law was presented in March 1998).

The management and action plans developed for the regional agreements and involving concrete measures for the protection of certain species are implemented in a consistent and resolute manner.

In the context of the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area (Helsinki, 1974), Baltic Sea Protected Areas are to be set up that serve the protection of migrating wetlands species, among other things.

The International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine against Pollution (IKSR) is striving to reacclimatise salmon and other fish by the turn of the millennium (Salmon 2000). Projects to reacclimatise salmon are also taking place on the river Elbe.

The Gesellschaft zum Schutz des Störs (Society for the Protection of Sturgeon) is concerned with reacclimatisation of sturgeon in the river Oder as part of a development and trial project that is currently taking place (cf. 2.11).

The Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (Denmark, The Netherlands, Germany) is promoting the research and documentation of Guinea-Bissau's birdlife, including migratory species, within the context of the declaration of intent entered into with Guinea-Bissau. A recently begun project is devoted to the organisational development of bird monitoring as well as education and public relations work in the areas of Guinea-Bissau where Palaearctic waders spend the winter.

7.5 Are there multilateral and/or bilateral donors supporting projects which contribute to implementation of the Ramsar Convention in your country? Yes/No. If yes, please provide details.

With the help of the LIFE financial instrument (nature conservation department), which has recourse to EU budgetary funds, projects are sponsored in Germany that support the protection and optimisation of European-wide habitats. These funds are primarily deployed for projects that are carried out within areas designated according to the Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive (92/43/EEC) or the Bird Protection Directive (79/409/EWG). Since some of the German Wetlands of International Importance or at least parts of them are also designated according to these protection categories, this sponsoring possibility complies with the protective goals of the Ramsar Convention.

Various projects that generally help improve wetlands conservation in Germany are sponsored by WWF International and EURONATUR. (An example is EURONATUR's Elbe Valley Water Meadows [Elbtalaue] Development Project).

7.6 Does your government make an annual budgetary allocation to support the conservation and wise use of wetlands within your country? Yes/No. If yes, is this a specific allocation to a wetlands programme or as part of a larger environment or natural resource management budget?

A large number of programmes and possibilities that financially support the goals of the Ramsar Convention exist in Germany. Projects of national significance are sponsored with federal funds. Nine Ramsar sites already profit accordingly. In the period between 1996 and 1998, optimisation measures were performed or completed in the following wetlands:

Major Nature Conservation Projects

Aquatic Margin Projects

Wurzacher Ried [marsh] (Baden-Württemberg) Mündungsgebiet der Isar [mouth ofthe Isar] (Bavaria )
Wollmatinger Ried [marsh] (Baden- Württemberg) Unteres Odertal (Brandenburg)
Bislicher Insel [island] (North Rhine-Westphalia) Peenetal/Peene-Haff-Moor [bog] (Mecklenburg- Vorpommern)
Regentalaue [water meadows of the Regen] (Bavaria ) Ostrügensche Boddenlandschaft [East Rügen bodden landscape] (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
Murnauer Moos [bog] (Bavaria ) Flumm-/Fehntjer Tief (Lower Saxony)
Nuthe-Nieplitz Niederung [lowlands] (Brandenburg) Meerbruch/Steinhuder Meer [lake] (Lower Saxony)
Uckermärkische Seen [lakes] (Brandenburg) Lutter (Lower Saxony)
Hammeniederung [lowlands] (Lower Saxony) Fischerhuder/Wümmeniederung [lowlands] (Lower Saxony)
Pressel Heidewald- und Moorgebiet [heath woodlands and bogs] (Saxony) Fließgewässersystem Obere Ahr [water course system of the Upper Ahr] (North Rhine-Westphalia )
Teichgebiet Niederspree-Hammerstadt [ponds] (Saxony) Gewässersystem Ruwer [Ruwer water body system] (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Drömling (Saxony-Anhalt) Schaalsee-Landschaft [landscape] (Schleswig-Holstein/Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
  Ill (Saarland)

The grants are mainly used for land acquisition, long-term lease contracts, compensatory payments and maintenance and development planning as well as the implementation of biotope-specific measures. The federal government assumes up to a maximum of 75 percent of the overall costs of projects. The remaining costs are borne by the respective Land and the body responsible for the given project.

Further budgetary allocations within the meaning of the Ramsar Convention are also provided via research and development projects, as well as nature conservation development and testing projects (cf. 2.11) that entail the flow of federal funds.

The Laender also have programmes that promote the protection and sustainable use of wetlands (cf. 2.1), such as the Programme for the Protection of Wet Arable Land in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Programme for the Restoration of Water Courses in Schleswig-Holstein and the Landscape Management Guideline of Baden-Württemberg. These latter can be used to finance non-recurring measures such as initial care and other maintenance tasks as well as compensatory payments for renunciation of land use; as such, they also apply to wetlands.

Voluntary contract-based nature conservation provides indirect possibilities of financial support, namely in the form of subsidies that promote means of cultivation that reduce the impact on nature and the implementation of maintenance measures. A contract is concluded with the respective nature conservation authority, whereby the owner or party entitled to use the land commits him/herself to adhere to certain cultivation requirements in return for financial considerations that largely compensate for the income losses involved. The Agrarian Environmental Programme pursuant to Regulation EEC 2078/92 enables the performance of voluntary contract-based nature conservation measures. The compensatory payments made in Bavaria for wetlands are an example.

7.7 If your country has a development assistance programme, does it include funds earmarked for wetland conservation and wise use in other countries? Yes/No.  If yes, please give details.

The German bilateral technical and financial cooperation project is designed to improve the living conditions of people, particularly those of poor population groups, in developing countries according to the guiding principle of global sustainable development. The protection and sustainable use of natural resources is a main focus of the German overseas aid collaboration work. Wetlands protection is a component part of nature conservation and can thus benefit from nature conservation projects (such as the project concerned with "Protection and Cultivation of the Peripheral Zone of Djoudj National Park" in Senegal).

7.8 Is there a formal process in place for consultation between the Ramsar Administrative Authority and the development assistance programme in your country, where one exists? Yes/No  If yes, what is that process.

Consultation is not required above and beyond the administrative exchange that takes place between the Federal Ministry of the Environment and the Federal Ministry for Economic cooperation as provided for in the procedural rules of the federal government.

Ramsar Strategic Plan - General Objective 8
To provide the Convention with the required institutional mechanisms and resources.

8.1 Has your government made voluntary financial contributions, other than the invoiced contributions or to the Small Grants Fund, to further the work of the Convention globally? Yes/No.


8.2 If your country is in arrears with the payment of its annual contributions to the Ramsar Convention, please indicate the reasons for this situation and the prospects for paying these arrears in the near future.

Not applicable.

Optional section - Participation of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention

These are optional questions relating to cooperation with and involvement of non-government organizations in the implementation of the Convention.

At COP6 some 42 NGOs made the "Brisbane NGO pledge of support for the Ramsar Convention". The Standing Committee agreed that for COP7 there should be an effort made to gauge the level and type of cooperation which is occurring between government Administrative Authorities and the national and international NGOs with an interest in wetlands issues.

In this optional section of the National Report, you are asked to describe the nature of the cooperation and relationship with any other international, regional, national and provincial NGOs operating within your country.

9.1 Approximately how many NGOs have wetlands as part of their regular "business" in your country?

Please break this down between international, regional and national/provincial organizations.

a. International organisations [4]

  • BirdLife International
  • WWF International
  • Greenpeace

b. National organisations [about 10]

  • Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU)
  • Bund Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND)
  • Stiftung WWF-Deutschland
  • Deutscher Naturschutzring (DNR)
  • Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH)
  • Zentrale für Wasservogelforschung und Feuchtgebietsschutz in Deutschland (ZWFD)
  • Bundesverband beruflicher Naturschutz (BBN)
  • Deutscher Rat für Landespflege (DRL)
  • Deutscher Jagdschutz-Verband

c. Regional organisations [about five per region] such as

  • Naturschutzgesellschaft Schutzstation Wattenmeer
  • Verein Jordansand zum Schutze der Seevögel
  • Mellumrat
  • Ornithologische Gesellschaft in Bavaria
  • Faunistische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Moore

9.2 Is there a regular forum or mechanism through which these NGOs express their views on wetland conservation and Ramsar implementation:

a. to each other? Yes/No
b. to the government? Yes/No

If yes in either case, please give details.

As an umbrella organisation, the Deutsche Naturschutzring (DNR) provides its member associations with a suitable forum for expressing their views. The associations can express their views to the government via the National Ramsar/Wetland Committee (cf. 4.1). For example, NABU representatives attend the regular Ramsar/Wetland Committee meetings, meaning that questions and proposals can be directly expressed to the federal government and the nature conservation ministries of the Laender.

9.3 Does your government include one or more NGO representatives on its official delegation to Ramsar COPs? Yes/No


9.4 Do any of the NGOs run programmes aimed at Education and Public Awareness about wetlands in your country? Yes/No.

The educational establishments run by nature conservation associations, such as the Naturschutzakademie Gut Sander operated by NABU, feature topics on wetlands conservation in their programmes. Campaigns, excursions and educational work in the form of lectures and exhibitions are offered with varying intensity at other information and conservation stations run by the associations.

9.5 Where they exist, do Ramsar site management advisory committees include NGO representatives? If yes, please give details.

Numerous NGO representatives are involved in nature conservation and in the management of Wetlands of International Importance. Generally speaking, the associations are integrated into nature conservation work on an honorary basis and in differing ways. Association members assume an official function in the nature conservation councils, which are assigned to the nature conservation authorities on the lower (county), higher (administrative district) and supreme (Land) levels as advisory bodies. The nature conservation commissioners (as in Baden-Württemberg) work in an honorary advisory capacity and as such are independent of the respective authority.

In some of the Land laws (such as Article 50 of the Schleswig-Holstein Landscape Management Act), the associations are vested with statutory management tasks for nature conservation areas. These requirements are fulfilled, for example, by the Wadden Sea Conservation Station at the Schleswig-Holstein Wadden Sea Wetland of International Importance and by the Mellumrat at Dümmer Wetland of International Importance. The full-time Ramsar Site warden deployed at the Ammersee Wetlands of International Significance is mainly underwritten by the Landesbund für Vogelschutz in Bayern (Bavarian Association for the Protection of Birds) with the indirect financial support of the Bavarian Nature Conservation Fund. The provision of guards to protect colonies of breeding birds (as evinced by NABU at Wollmatinger Ried marsh and by the association Verein Jordsand at about ten places along the North Sea coast) is evidence of the great significance of association activities in the implementation of reserve management.

9.6 Describe the themes of the Convention (refer to General Objectives 1-8 of the Strategic Plan) where you perceive the national/provincial NGOs to be most active.

The main thrust of association work is placed on:

  • surveys and censuses
  • keeper activities at protected areas
  • provision of information, public relations work
  • advocacy of conservation, care and sustainable use.

Final comments:

10.1 General comments on implementation of the Ramsar Strategic Plan.

At the wish of the Ramsar/Wetland Committee , a concept is currently being drawn up on the national implementation of the 1997 - 2002 strategic plan.

10.2 Observations concerning the functioning of, relations with, and services provided by:

a. The Ramsar Standing Committee
b. The Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel
c. The Ramsar Bureau
d. The Ramsar NGO partners

Difficulties are still being experienced with the removal of the Unterer Niederrhein Wetlands of International Importance and the East Frisian Wadden Sea including the Dollard Wetlands of International Importance from the Montreux Record (cf. 5.4), in that it has not been possible to ultimately clarify this issue over the last two years.

10.3 Any other general observations and/or recommendations for the future.

In Germany today, the goals of the Ramsar Convention benefit directly from measures and successes in other connections. For example, the Wetlands of International Importance benefit from the fact that they have also been designated as national parks or to some extent as nature conservation areas in the meantime, and that both European nature conservation directives have come to bear in their case (cf. 2.1).

It is to be expected that the creation of the contiguous ecological network Natura 2000 will entail the implementation of important goals of the Ramsar Convention.

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Annex: Country table for Germany

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