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Project of the month

Habitat sand pit and life-saving guiding devices

Group photo in the sand pit

Group photo in the sand pit © Leonie Braasch, NLWKN

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Representatives of official, association and voluntary nature conservation from different regions of Lower Saxony gathered on 4th October 2023 in front of a pasture in the SAC ‘ Kammmolch-Biotop nordöstlich Langenbrügge’. The Lower Saxony State Authority for Road Construction and Transport (NLSTBV) was also represented by a staff member. The Lower Saxony LIFE IP team had invited the 20 participants to the expert excursion in order to present two successful projects for amphibian protection and to stimulate the exchange between the different actors.

Instead of toads, however, the focus was first on cattle: Mr. Wesche, a local farmer, presented the grazing project of his BGB company, founded three years ago, which ensures extensive permanent grassland management in the SAC. In this way, the overgrowth of the water pools created for the natterjack toad within the grazing areas is prevented and a height of vegetation for the amphibians to walk through is created. The basis of the project was the good cooperation with the lower nature conservation authority of the district. Initially, EAFRD funding was crucial for the start (among other things, for the necessary wolf-proof fence). In the long term, the grazing project will be supported by the compensation for impediment and the planned marketing of the meat.

The excursion group was then able to visit a water body for the common spadefoot next to the pasture that had been restored within the framework of the LIFE IP in 2022, and the newly created water pool inside the fenced area. Joachim Neumann who had taken over the construction supervision presented the measure which complements the water bodies created in the vicinity by the district. Mr. Wesche reported that the water bodies had been filled with water at the crucial times in spring and summer. Nevertheless, the sinking groundwater level is also an increasing problem here, especially in drier summers. The next stop for the group was the main area of the amphibian population in the neighbouring former sand pit, where also sundew and dwarf rush communities occur. Here, the LIFE IP had financed the clearing as well as the restoration of the existing water bodies. Not only Joachim Neumann was enthusiastic about the result of the action, but also the project monitoring of 2022 showed a clear success for the reproduction of the natterjack toad: Eight calling spadefoot toads had been detected.

The second site the group visited was the new amphibian guiding device in the SAC ‘Kammmolch-Biotop Mührgehege/Oetzendorf‘. There, Florian Bibelriether from AmphiConsult Germany who had planned the guiding facility on behalf of the district of Uelzen gave an insight into the construction of the structure consisting of 23 tunnels. The aim is to connect terrestrial habitats and several spawning waters of the great crested newt, but also those of the common toad, grass frog and moor frog which are located on two different sides of the district road. The migration movements had been investigated in a potential analysis with an amphibian trap fence. The facility which covers 900 metres of the road had been planned and completed in only 2.5 years! The expenses of 980,000 euros, financed by the district of Uelzen, replacement funds and the funding guideline ‘Landschaftswerte’, were quite high though. Florian Bibelriether and Eike Lüders from the district of Uelzen presented the wells, concrete guiding elements and tunnel construction.

Part of the group ended the excursion with a joint dinner. After the positive feedback, the LIFE IP team is already thinking about further excursion destinations.

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