|Town/Region||Lacha River, Odra River Basin|
|Date||14 Aug 2001|
Wetlands are among the most endangered habitats in Poland, where the intensification of agriculture has encroached on river systems, upsetting the delicate ecosystems. Krzysztof Konieczny works with the Polish environmental group ProNatura, on a project which brings together biologists, hydrologists, volunteers and farmers to work together to restore important wetland habitats to the Lacha river system in the Odra river basin, Southwest Poland. The Lacha river is home to the internationally red-listed Corncrake. Other endangered birds include the Black Stork, White stork, White-tailed eagles, buntings, redshanks (whose breeding grounds have now disappeared) and great grey shrikes. Plants include orchids, cotton-grass and sedges and rare frogs and bats have been found here.
Krzysztof Konieczny and his team have already restored about 70 ha out of 200 ha of land owned by ProNatura, one of nine sites planned to broaden the range of species protected and to effect the project across the whole catchment. The work involves mowing meadows, moving excess bushes and trees, the digging of small pools to encourage insects, plants and dragonflies, and the creation of shallow water zones for snipe, redshank and stork communities. The project is crucial for several reasons. It not only preserves the important habitat, but will also attract visitors to the area and be of educational value to local schools. The Odra Valley is now also threatened by the possibility of large dam construction, and the work being undertaken by Krzysztof Konieczny would provide valuable scientific evidence of the havoc which would be wreaked on the local river systems by such constructions.