..nature..

LIFE - ÷’”« ..life..
THE WETLAND OF AGRAS-VRYTA-NISI
   

LIFE PROJECT 

 END OF THE LIFE PROJECT

The Life Ė Nature project entitled ďImplementation of management at the Agras wetlandĒ, encoded as LIFE03 NAT/GR/000092, was implemented by the Edessa Municipality , aiming in the conservation of priority species of the SPA site.

The project was planned to last 3 years, starting in July 2003, but a significant delay was observed during the first year, resulting, after adequate consultation with the Life external team, in the submission of a request for the modification of the original project time Ėplanning, with one year extension. This request was submitted on 23/02/2006 and was approved by the European Commission, with the ENV.E4/AT/D/(2006) 8312/04-05-2006 official letter, where the 01/07/2007 was set as the new project end date.

Apart from the Municipality of Edessa that was the project beneficiary, the project consortium involved the following partners:

1)     The Pella Prefecture

2)     The National Agricultural Research Foundation (with two Institutes)

3)     The Pella Development Agency

4)     The environmental consulting firm ENDIAITIMA

The project involved 16 actions, related to the main objectives that were the implementation of urgent management measures for the conservation of priority species and restoration of their habitats. Some of the actions were directly related to the implementation of onsite management measures such as reed bed management, wet meadows management, creation of floating rafts, construction of a wetland interpretation room, in conjunction with the Information Center , operation of the Info Center , guarding - patrolling. The rest of the actions produced a number of outputs and deliverables, including consultation documents and studies, information and interpretation materials and infrastructures, according to the original objectives of each action.

SUMMARY RESULTS OF THE PROJECTíS ACTIONS

ACTION A1 : Formulation of the wetland Management Agreement and operation of the Wetland Management Committee

Main objective of the action was the composition of a memorandum of co-operation for the conservation of the wetland, including the establishment and operation of a Management Committee for the wetland, which have been achieved. The further aiming for the formulation of an administrative body for the SPA site is considered to be promoted by the Committeeís operation, which is unique in Greece and has set an example for other areas.

 ACTIONA A2 : Elaboration of the wetland restoration Plan

On May 2006 the wetland restoration plan was delivered in its final form, including all the necessary excavation work for the creation of the islets for the wild life, as well as the techno-economical study for the exploitation of the reed bed biomass which is produced as a result of Action D3. The study proposes specific solutions that could be promoted by the contractor and result to a complete and self-sponsoring program of managing the vegetation of the wetland. The action was successfully implemented, overachieving the objectives of the initial proposal, at least regarding the techno-economical study concerning the viability of the reed bed management program.

 ACTION A3 : Elaboration of a grazing management plan for the wet meadow habitats

The action was completed in January 2005 with the syntax of the special study for the Improvement and Management of the Wet Meadows at Lake Agras by NAGREF. The study includes a detailed description of the structure of the wetland, the current management conditions and the effects of grazing in the wetland, as well as a determination of the grazing capabilities of the wetland. It also describes the natural and socio-economic conditions of the area and traces the problems and the possibilities for a rational management of the wet meadows.

 ACTION C1 : Re-establishment of riparian tree stands

The objective of the action was the re-establishment of riparian tree stands to an extent of 1 hectare , a total length of 2000 meters across the lake. Finally, a total extent of 3,6 hectares of plantation was established, at a total length of 1800 meters . Also, despite the fact that it was not foreseen, a special study for the Improvement and Management of the Wet Meadows at Lake Agras was submitted and approved. The re-establishment of the plantation was followed by two years (2005, 2006) of reports and maintenance of the plantation.

 

ACTION C2 : Establishment of two observation hides and expansion of nature trails

The foreseen objectives (two observatories, wooden jetties, 3 km of nature trails, environment interpretation and direction signs), were achieved in full. The second wooden observatory, was replaced by a wooden observation wall. The infrastructures that were created are considered complete.

 

ACTION C3 : Improvement of nesting, foraging and refuge habitat for priority species

The construction of floating wooden rafts and islets was associated with the improvement of nesting refuge habitat for the water birds. Even though we havenít recorded cases of nesting on the rafts yet, our observations show their intensive use from various species that often use them for resting and shelter. A secondary but remarkable role of some specific rafts is their relation with the observation infrastructures, because they facilitate the observation of birds from the wooden observatory. Regarding the experimental cutting of reed beds to improve the foraging habitat of the birds, the particular area that was cut in 2006 was used from various species between July and October 2006. Therefore, as pilot administrative practice, it can be considered absolutely successful.

 

ACTION D1 : Management of wet meadow habitats through controlled grazing

The action aimed to the management of wet meadows through managing practices which would come up as conclusions after the elaboration of a grazing management plan (action A3). Some of the more important conclusions of the above plan were the improvement of the territorial distribution of grazing with the restoration of the old wooden bridges and the construction of a new one, along with the fencing of some particular extends in the wet meadows.

 

ACTION D2 : Establishment and operation of the wetland guarding project

With the employment of two guardians, instead of the one that was initially foreseen, the objectives of the action were covered in a more satisfactory degree, because the patrols were performed in shifts and the guarding of the wetland covered a bigger part of the day. Furthermore, the fact that the guardians were residents of the local villages helped in the easier removal of hunters from the region of the wetland. Finally, the observation of daily bulletins of assessment of work helped in the localization of places that presented frequency of problems and the prevention of them.

 

ACTION D3 : Management of reed beds, aquatic habitats and restoration of fish spawning grounds

Objective of the action was the acquisition of experience, know-how, necessary equipment and operational sufficiency from the administrators of the wetland, in the direction of the reed bed management, as a measure of restoring the wetland and improving it for the benefit of biodiversity (birds and fishes), as well as the local society (fish farming). In that direction started the reed bed cutting program, so to result the first direct profits for the biodiversity. The wetland restoration plan forecasts escalation of cutting, winter and summer, with the combined use of the portable mowers and reed cutters along with the floating multipurpose machinery, that was purchased by the Public Electricity Corporation. The initial planning forecasted cutting up to the 5% of reed beds annually (about 140 acres ), but because of the fact that the multipurpose machinery has not been operationally activated yet, the reed beds that have been cut so far cover an extend of about 50 acres , a percentage of roughly 2% of the total extent. It is expected that with the activation of the multipurpose machinery in the cutting program the objective of the 5% annually removal of reed beds will be achieved.

 

ACTION E1 : Operation of the Wetland Information Center

The Wetland Information Center accepts visitors on a daily basis (individuals and groups), while during the winter period a lot of schools visit the wetland and get information about it. Moreover, a significant number of eco-tourists and visitors of the area have been informed and guided inside the Centre while they were given informative material (booklets, posters etc). The location of the Information Centre is appropriate, after it is found on the National road Edessa - Florina. Because of the presence of ďBorasĒ Ski Centre in the area the number of visitors increases during the winter, while in the summer the Centre accepts a lot of tourists from North-Western Europe countries (mainly from Germany, Holland, Belgium and England).

 

ACTION E2 : Enhancement of wetland interpretation capabilities by creating a wetland interpretation room

The action was successfully completed, with the construction of a wetland interpretation room and its supply with the proper equipment. The final result, regarding the space of the new room as well as the quality of the manufacture, is better than initially expected.

 

ACTION E3 : Production of interpretation material

A bilingual (Greek and English) leaflet was forecasted to be printed in 10.000 copies. Finally the solution selected was the production of two separate leaflets, one in Greek and one in English. An eco-touristic guide was printed out in 5.000 copies, as foreseen. Both publications were considered particularly successful regarding their content and their general design, so that today they have been exhausted. The web site of the program functions as it was forecasted, both in Greek and English language.

 

ACTION E4 : Creation of environmental education material for the SPA site

An Environmental Education Package for the wetland was produced in 1000 copies as it was initially forecasted. Its use turned out to be so successful, that the Environmental Education Centre of Edessa reprinted 500 copies on its own expenses.

 

ACTION E5 : Organization of public meetings and an international workshop

The implementation of the action was completed with the successful organization of two open public meetings and an international workshop that were forecasted, through which were achieved the dissemination of the project objectives and the increase of local consensus for the SPA management issues.

 

PROJECT LIFE- NATURE, IMPLEMENTATION OF MANAGEMENT MEASURES AT THE AGRAS WETLAND
LIFE  (C) 2005-2008  .

WETLAND INFORMATION CENTRE

 

Project LIFE NATURA 2000
Wetland The Problems
Nature The Man
Coexistense Actions

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