Poor water management, succession processes and changes in landscape and land use are having a long-term negative impact on bird habitats in many Natura 2000 network sites in Slovakia. The main threats are unsuitable water regimes, insufficient water management and infilling of wetlands, and the inappropriate management of grassland and reed stands leading to degradation of nesting places and nesting possibilities. Uncontrolled recreational activities also contribute to habitat disturbance.
The main aim of the LIFE IPORSEN project is to reduce factors adversely affecting wetlands of international importance by restoring their ecological functions in favour of the targeted waterbird species. Specific objectives include: Restoring the water regime in three Natura 2000 network sites; Removal of accumulated biomass from wetlands and river meanders overgrown with shrubs; Introduction of a grazing and mowing regime to restore wet meadows; Restoring and creating nesting sites for colonial and ground-nesting birds; and Raising public awareness about Natura 2000 sites and biodiversity, promotion of birdwatching and nature-based tourism, elimination of disturbances caused by unregulated movement of visitors in the protected areas and construction of a small tourist infrastructure with educational purposes.
Expected results: The project expects to achieve the following results: Draft a management plan for the Senianske rybniky Natura 2000 network site; Improve the water regime in at least 850 ha of wetlands by repairing four sluice gates, 1 600 m of water channels and 1 000 m of dykes, reconnecting two oxbow river arms (2 km) and installing a well with a windmill pump; Remove accumulated biomass from 32.8 ha of infilled wetland habitats and natural river meanders to enhance their hygienic function; Restore 175 ha of wet meadows and wetland vegetation by grazing, cutting and removing ruderal and invasive plant biomass; Create an animal eco-farm; Restore a 200 metre section of nesting walls used by target bird species; Restore two nesting islands and create an artificial nesting island (combined area 25 000 m2) in the Horná Orava and Senianske rybníky Natura 2000 network sites; Install 50 artificial nesting platforms for the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and 20 platforms for the white stork (Ciconia ciconia); Purchase 50 ha of land and introduce compensation payments for conservation management on a further 20 ha; and Construct the following visitor infrastructure: information panels, observation towers, lookout shelters, tourist paths and surveillance measures to prevent disturbance in the breeding colonies.