Four large water bodies were created as a result of sand and gravel extraction during the last 60 years in the confluence of two important rivers – the Morava and Bečva, near the town of Tovačov in Central Moravia. Their total water surface is 380 ha; three of the lakes are still used for mining. Apart from mining and as a source of drinking water, the lakes are also recognised for their high biodiversity and are part of the Natura 2000 network.
Location : Central Moravia, Czech Republic
Size : ~400 ha
Mineral type : gravel and sand
Habitat(s) created : Lowland forest, islands and water-fringe vegetation
Target species : White tailed Eagle, ducks, herons, terns
Protected areas : Natura 2000 site “Morava-Chropyňský luh” and National Nature Reserve “Zástudánčí”
Organisations : Českomoravský štěrk, a.s. and Czech Society for Ornithology (CSO/BirdLife in the Czech Republic)
Why is this project needed?
Central Europe has lost nearly all natural wetlands and floodplains to infrastructure and flood protection measures. With this many important habitats, biodiversity and ecosystem services have been lost. Nowadays every natural or semi-natural wetland deserves protection and habitat restoration projects are very much needed to maintan local and migrating birds and other threatened species. At least 70 bird species rely on the Tovačov lakes mainly as a stop over site. The lakes are also used for drinking water which requires careful control of their hydrologic and ecologic conditions.
First a piece of land covered with natural forest will be „cut“ from the shore by a canal to create a 6 ha large island. Birds and other animals can use this undisturbed reserve for nesting and roosting. Secondly, part of the shoreline will be remodelled to create a shallow littoral zone giving more suitable conditions for birds feeding on small aquatic animals.
The planned works will be done in three phases starting with careful planning in 2013, excavation and bank remodelling starting in 2015 and habitat management and monitoring from 2015 onwards. The two main objectives to be achieved by 2020 are:
• To create a 6 ha island covered by lowland forests on the edge of the Tovačov Lakes.
• To construct a viewing tower and information facilities at the Tovačov Lakes.
By demonstrating the ecological value of gravel pits in Moravia, CSO and Českomoravský štěrk aim to increase the support of the local community and visitors for biodiversity conservation and to demonstrate the benefits of business-NGO partnerships.
The planned viewing tower will meet the needs of visiting birdwatchers who mainly come during the migration seasons and in winter.
The planned restoration of the lakes and their use for nature conservation and recreation is widely supported by the local authorities and local people. Nevertheless, the law required a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and hydrologic study was carried out due to the proximity to the Morava and Bečva rivers and the potential risk of flooding.
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