Europe and Central Asia

Artificial Islands to Support Breeding Birds in Sand an Gravel Pits - Poland



Mineral extraction process creates novel habitats, like islands, peninsulas and banks, which may play an important role as breeding place for many water birds. Islands are particularly favoured by some threatened and conservation dependent species because they offer relatively undisturbed places for breeding. Man-made islands become especially important in regions, where natural river habitats have been destroyed. Mining sites of Górażdże Group  add an important element to the conservation of island-breeding birds at a regional and national level.
Location : Opolskie and Lubuskie region, Poland
Size : 250 ha
Mineral type : Sand and gravel
Habitat(s) created : Islands in freshwater lakes
Target species : Little Tern, Common Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull
Protected areas : Natura 2000 area – Zbiornik Nyski  PLB160002 (SPA)
Organisations : Polish Society for the Protection of Birds, Górażdże Group

Why is this project needed?

Three bird species threatened at the EU level (listed in Annex I of Birds Directive) and 2 species endangered in Poland breed on islands in Górażdże mining sites: Common Tern, Little Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull. But the available islands  are often not enough or in poor condition due to erosion or overgrowth by vegetation (linked with natural succession). Therefore conservation actions are needed to increase the accessibility of island habitats for birds and to increase breeding populations.


Project objectives

The aim of the project is to improve island habitats in selected Górażdże mining sites to target bird species. The activities will be carried out at three sand and gravel pits.
  • Creation of a sandy island in Malerzowice pit, where a sand peninsula will be cut off from the bank;
  • Creation of two artificial islands of modular concrete type in Nowogród Bobrzański pit;
  • Removal of reeds, trees and bushes and clearing of small gravel beaches on selected islands  in Wójcice  and Malerzowice pits.

This will in consequence increase the populations of endangered bird species, mainly terns and gulls.


Public benefits

  • Increased bird colonies will add value to the natural landscape, providing aesthetic and ecological benefits to the region;
  • Views on the artificial islands in Nowogród Bobrzański mining site will become part of the educational path prepared by local authorities.