‘City meets nature’: a nature conservation project at Lake Wörthersee making an impact and protecting rare animals and plants

The State of Carinthia, the City of Klagenfurt, the BILLA Foundation in Blom, Austria and the ECO Institute of Ecology celebrate the success of nature in the East Bay of Klagenfurt

Vienna / Klagenfurt (OTS) The Natura 2000 Lendspitz-Maiernigg am Wörthersee district benefits from cooperation in nature conservation between public, scientific and private actors. This is the result presented at a party in Lakeside Park in Klagenfurt. The Nature Conservation Project participants discussed current developments in the area, then four keynote speeches were delivered online, which provided insight and expectations on the individual measures in the project to a wider audience and attracted many interested people to the screens.

The greatest successes of the project “City meets nature: Habitat design for bog frogs and their partners in the European urban conservation area Lendspitz-Maiernigg (Klagenfurt)” are summarized in the project period from May 2020 to November 2021:

  • A quiet area for cane keepers was made visible in the lake using wooden pilots
  • Three new species of amphibian spawning water have already been created and inhabited by interesting representatives of the fauna of amphibians and dragonflies
  • Three hectares of purple grass has been removed from the bushes and can be mowed again in the long run
  • 30 mussel samples were tested in Lake Wörthersee
  • The occurrence of the small red-backed shrike, the Balkan swamp frog and the dice snake can be confirmed in the N2000 . area
  • Several hundred recreational athletes have been educated in the lake to consider the animal population

The natural oasis, unique in Europe, houses the last remnants of the formerly extensive swamp around Klagenfurt, where, according to legend, the roundworm once lived. Many rare animals and plants, such as the little myrrh, flower snake or bloated snail, find their habitat here. In a relatively small area, the conservation area includes quiet areas designated for shy animal inhabitants and information areas where visitors can experience and enjoy the city’s natural area.

“It is necessary to strike a balance between protection and use”, says Deputy Mayor Professor Mag Alois Dolinar, who is himself a beekeeper and is particularly interested in the bee-friendly use of lawns. Three hectares of purple grass has been removed from the bushes and will have to be mowed again in the long run. As an environmental consultant, he is also aware of the role of peatlands as carbon storage areas. Healthy peat soils store carbon dioxide, and its preservation and re-saturation makes the city resilient to climate change.

Protecting the natural gem is important to the people of Klagenfurt

In the fall of 2021, preventive measures were evaluated as part of visitor control. There was a significant increase in the number of standing rowers in the outflow area of ​​the lake. The wooden pilots, set to smooth out the reed belt, were considered as an optical barrier. With a few exceptions, the majority of water sports enthusiasts who were counted kept the minimum distances set. The public at the lake is very fond of nature – and its preservation is especially important for those who are often at the lake, says Carmen Fikar, who has spoken to many visitors as an area ranger. A sensitive approach to nature is necessary so that the area can be preserved in the long term. The reed belt and aquatic plant area are nurseries for waterfowl and fish and should not be disturbed.

Deputy Mayor, Mag Philip Lessing, is convinced that the area provides an opportunity, especially for young people, to experience and learn about nature: Summer rangers are contact persons and convey the need for a considerate behavior. An awareness of the need for sanctuary areas should be created for the residents of the reeds. Appropriate school materials will be developed in 2022.”

Return of mussels to the pond

For the state of Carinthia, the fate of the mussels used in 2020 is of particular importance. “We are excited about the development of the mussel lake in the lake and would like to continue to monitor the success of the resettlementsays the Minister for the Environment and Nature Conservation, Sarah Sharr. The last natural areas of the Wörthersee, which have been heavily influenced by tourism, must be preservedAnd So that the occurrence of typical water dwellers is secured in the long term and so that future generations can also find a healthy environment and nature in the European Protected Area Lendspitz-Maiernigg. “

New habitats for endangered Balkan swamp frogs

Amphibian migration is underway and the critically endangered Balkan swamp frog is shown in blue. Spring drought presents a particular challenge for amphibians. Each intact swamp basin helps maintain a number of these species in the area. “We are proud to have been able to implement this project with the state of Carinthia, the city of Klagenfurt and the ECO”, says Ronald Werflinger, managing director of the Blooming Austria Foundation, which has supported conservation of the natural coast in Klagenfurt with €58,000, nearly half of the project’s costs. It is important to continue cooperation so that more preventive measures can be implemented regarding adaptation to climate change.

For Project Director Susan Glatz Gord of the ECO Environment Institute, several actions are necessary: Thanks to the support, many activities can be started. It is now a matter of sticking with it, putting initiatives and alliances on a long-term basis and, above all, adapting area management to the needs of protected species so that the initial actions taken continue to have an impact. In the future. The goal is a stable partnership to control the challenges in the protected area.

Klagenfurt residents and anyone interested in nature can learn more about the nature reserve’s unique fauna and flora on one of the excursions offered by the ECO Institute of Ecology (contact: Susanne Glatz-Jorde, glatz-jorde@eco.at).

Online listening lectures will soon be available at https://eco.at/videos.html.

About the project

With the support of the Blühendes Österreich, the city of Klagenfurt and the state of Carinthia, about six hectares of riparian areas in the European Protected Area are actively being designed using reed belts and reed areas, adjacent grass meadows, swamps and small bodies of water.

About the protection zone Natura 2000 Lendspitz-Maiernigg

Since 2005, the Wörthersee-Ostbucht in the Lendspitz-Maiernigg region has officially become a Natura 2000 region and is therefore subject to EU-compliant standards that ensure the protection of endangered wild, plant and animal species and their natural habitats. Snake dice, beaver, bellied snail and Balkan swamp frog make their home in this region. Along with other species of bats, birds, insects and amphibians, they live in an area of ​​​​77.4 hectares.

About the prosperity of Austria

BILLA Foundation Blooming Austria is committed to a healthy environment and environmentally sustainable agriculture. Therefore, since 2015, Blooming Austria has supported around 230 farmers, nature conservation organizations, local communities and other initiatives that protect our habitats, animals and plants through responsible farming and valuable environmental projects. 951 hectares of specifically critically endangered biomes have already been secured. Bluehendesoesterreich.at is the most powerful digital platform for nature tourism and nature content. The Nature Experience Gateway brings together 95 organizations and thousands of events in nature each year. With 50,000 downloads and its associated desktop version, the citizen science app “Schmetterlinge Österreichs” is one of the largest nature-observing apps in the German-speaking world. www.bluehendesoesterreich.at

About ECO Institute for the Environment

ECO is a research and consulting firm for “Nature Conservation in the 21st Century” with a focus on protected and indigenous areas. The team has been active in its projects for more than 20 years and helps conserve and improve natural habitats around the world, to enable extraordinary nature experiences and further develop the living and economic conditions in the respective regions.

Questions and contact:

Sylvie Bergant, Head of Communications Austria, +43676711 74 50, S Bergant@bluehendesoesterreich.at, www.bluehendesoesterreich.at

Romana Piiroja, ECO Communication Institute for the Environment, +43 463504144-36, piiroja@eco.at, www.eco.at

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