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Location Poland, pomorskie,warminsko-mazurskie
Central coordinates 19o 29.00' East  54o 19.00' North
IBA criteria C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 33,632 ha
Altitude 2 m
Year of IBA assessment 2010

Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków

Site description The site comprises the Polish part of this large, shallow coastal lagoon (up to 5 m deep) of brackish water, which is cut off from the Baltic Sea by the Wiœla spit. A narrow channel in the Russian part of the lagoon, through which sea water flows during heavy storms, joins the water-body with the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Gdañsk). There is some river flow to the Polish part of the lagoon from the west, comprising a few branches of the Wis³a (Vistula) river deriving from the uplands. The water-level fluctuates significantly on a daily basis (by up to 1.5 m) because of wind effects. There are extensive reedbeds (Phragmites) along the shore, forming one or two belts up to 100 m wide, as well as rich floating and submerged vegetation (Nymphaea, Potamogeton) which supports a very rich invertebrate and fish fauna. Land-uses include intensive reed-harvesting (`Other').

Key Biodiversity The site regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds, mainly wildfowl Anser/Anas. Breeding species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (at least one pair), Crex crex (4-10 pairs). The most important parts of the site for birds in general are Elbl¹g Bay and the Pas³êka mouth. Non-breeding birds occur mainly in the coastal zone, from Przebrno village to the Pas³êka mouth.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  2006  15,600 individuals  good  C3  Least Concern 
Mute Swan Cygnus olor passage  1995-2003  1,800-3,500 individuals  C3  Least Concern 
Smew Mergellus albellus passage  2006-2009  500-2,000 individuals  poor  C2  Least Concern 
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo breeding  2009  8,918-10,226 breeding pairs  good  C3  Least Concern 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla breeding  2006-2009  8-10 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana breeding  1995-2003  20-100 males only  C6  Least Concern 
Little Gull Hydrocoloeus minutus passage  2006-2009  400-5,500 individuals  poor  C2  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger breeding  2006-2009  80-160 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2006-2008  22,000-26,000 individuals  good  C4   

IBA Monitoring

2010 not assessed favourable negligible
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Wetlands (inland)   0 0 very poor (< 40%) very poor (< 40%) very unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Water fringe vegetation  0 0 good (> 90%) poor (40-69%) unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Water fringe vegetation  0 0 very poor (< 40%) very poor (< 40%) very unfavourable

Phalacrocorax carbo Great Cormorant 8200 10226 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Haliaeetus albicilla White-tailed Sea-eagle 9 10 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Chlidonias niger Black Tern 160 160 breeding pairs 100 not assessed

Some of site covered (10-49%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Dolina Pasteki - PLB280002 Birds Directive 20,670 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Vistula Lagoon Baltic Sea Protected Area (Helcom) 40,831 protected area overlaps with site 33,132  
Zalew Wislany - PLB280010 Birds Directive 32,224 protected area contained by site 32,224  
Zalew Wislany i Mierzeja Wislana - PLH280007 Habitats Directive 40,863 protected area contains site 33,632  
Zatoka Elblaska Nature Reserve 420 protected area contained by site 420  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Water fringe vegetation  -
Coastline Lagoons  -
Forest   1%
Grassland   1%
Other   1%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 60%
other 10%
tourism/recreation 20%
hunting 10%

Protection status National Low International None420 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Zatoka Elbl¹ska, 420 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vistula Lagoon. Downloaded from on 05/05/2015

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