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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 very poor (< 40%) very poor (< 40%) very unfavourable
Wetlands (inland) Water fringe vegetation  0 0 good (> 90%) poor (40-69%) 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)  
Vistula Lagoon Baltic Sea Protected Area (Helcom) 40,831 protected area overlaps with site 33,132  
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 (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Vistula Lagoon. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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