Latvia completes SGF project for Teici Reserve
The Ramsar Small Grants Fund 1999 project "Measures to improve the management of the Teici Nature Reserve Ramsar site and surrounding wetlands" has been successfully completed. It was carried out by the Administration of Teici Nature Reserve and partly financed by the European Habitat Conservation Stamp programme, run jointly by FACE (Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU) and Wetlands International.
During the project implementation, The Teici Wetland Foundation (TWF) was established as the financial instrument for purchase/lease and management of land for nature conservation around the Teici Reserve Ramsar site. It will be working to increase the territory of the Teici Nature Reserve, to raise funds for that, to involve local society in implementation of the protected area nature management plan, and to raise environmental awareness about the necessity and value of wetlands.
The project significantly contributed to the elaboration of the list of most valuable wetlands "Priority list of land proposed for purchase/lease and habitats/species under EU conservation concern", which was developed by experts of the Administration of Teici Nature Reserve and adopted by the second TWF board meeting. There are more than 650 hectares of land designated for purchase in order to preserve a high number of habitats and species listed in the Habitats and Birds Directives, found in the area threatened by clear-cutting, drainage and other intensive use.
The SGF project contributed to the purchase of two most valuable land properties in Teici from the list. Purchase of land for conservation purpose is a new practice in Latvia, and the Administration of the Teici Nature Reserve is the first institution in Latvia to have bought land for nature conservation. All purchased land becomes "strict nature reserve" after acquisition and is added to the Teici Nature Reserve to be managed by the Administration of Teici Nature Reserve according to the approved Nature Protection Plan of this area.
The activities of the Teici Wetland Foundation will be continued and broadened significantly, as the SGF project provided the basis for other projects and incoming funds. Among them, a LIFE-Nature 2000 project "Measures to ensure the nature conservation management of Teici Area" is adopted with 360 000,- EUR from a project budget designated for activities of the TWF. Contracts with other landowners are in the negotiation stage. Also information necessary for continuing of the "Priority List" will be obtained from inventory ensured by "Life - Nature" financing in the next four years. So, the Ramsar SGF grant was efficient "seed money" for larger investments in Nature conservation of Teici and Pelecare bogs Ramsar site.
-- Reported by Inga Racinska, Ramsar Bureau