LIFE.VISTULA.PL - Protection of waterbird habitats in the Upper Vistula River Valley (Dolina Górnej Wisły)

LIFE16 NAT/PL/000766

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Contact details:

Contact person: Damian Czechowski
Tel: 48324206837
Fax: 48324206884
Email: damian.czechowski.katowice@rdos.gov.pl

Project description:


Breeding sites for birds on islands located in large ponds and reservoirs are subject to degradation caused by waves undermining the banks or by flooding at high water levels. Where this happens, reinforcement is required. A majority of islands in the Upper Vistula River Valley (in southern Poland) are overgrown with high and thick vegetation which prevents nesting of the common tern. Damage to pond dykes results in seepage and outflow of water, thus causing a threat of pond drainage. Therefore, clearing overgrowth on islands and retaining water in ponds are necessary measures to conserve habitats for water birds in the Natura 2000 network sites of the Upper Vistula River Valley. Moreover, the current state of knowledge of habitats preferred by the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is insufficient to enable comprehensive protection of the species.


The main objective of the LIFE.VISTULA.PL project is to protect and improve habitats of water birds, in particular the common tern (Sterna hirundo) and the night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax), in four Natura 2000 network sites of the Upper Vistula River Valley in Poland.

This objective will be achieved through actions that:

  • Improve habitats of birds nesting on islands;
  • Improve conditions of bird habitats on fishponds through restoration of pond infrastructure;
  • Enhance knowledge of the sites used by the night heron to facilitate the species’ conservation;
  • Regulate tourist movement and access; and
  • Disseminate nature conservation methods for commercially used man-made water reservoirs.
  • Expected results:

  • Protection against shoreline erosion in 22 islands (10 islands for the night heron and 12 islands for the common tern);
  • Construction of one gravel island for the common tern;
  • Creation of gravel beaches for the common tern on 13 islands;
  • Protection of a total of 3 855 metres of dykes on eight fishponds;
  • Production of the document, “Identification of feeding sites of the Night Heron including recommendations as to further protection measures”;
  • Ornithological assessment of four Natura 2000 network sites developed along with a concept for the channelling of tourist traffic and reducing the impact of tourist pressure on these sites;
  • Regulation of tourist traffic around the ponds exposed to pressure by creating roads and paths, and installation of 30 education boards and 150 guidance signs;
  • Draft of rules on the use of the fish-farm areas for tourist and recreational purposes;
  • Construction of four bird-watching facilities (watchtowers, look-out points) in the most frequently visited sites;
  • Assembly of two piers for anglers on the southern bank of the Goczałkowice reservoir;
  • Publication of promotional and educational material, and organisation of workshops, conferences and exhibitions; and
  • Publication of "Good Practices for the Protection of Birds on Ponds".

The beneficiary expects the increase of the night heron population to about 850 breeding pairs (compared with 763 breeding pairs in 2015) by the end of the project, and to 1 000 breeding pairs five years after the project’s completion. The expected increase of the common tern population is 650 breeding pairs (compared with 541 breeding pairs in 2015) by the end of the project, rising to 850 breeding pairs five years after the project end.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


island‚  restoration measure‚  environmental impact of tourism

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directiv ...

Target species

 Nycticorax nycticorax   Sterna hirundo   

Natura 2000 sites

SPA PLB240001 Dolina Górnej Wisły
SPA PLB120004 Dolina Dolnej Soły
SPA PLB120005 Dolina Dolnej Skawy
SPA PLB120009 Stawy w Brzeszczach



Coordinator Regionalna Dyrekcja Ochrony rodowiska w Katowicach
Type of organisation Regional authority
Description Regionalna Dyrekcja Ochrony Środowiska w Katowicach (the regional directorate for environmental protection in Katowice) is a state office created with the goal of protecting nature in the Silesia province in southern Poland. It implements tasks related to environmental policy, including the management of Natura 2000 network sites.
Partners Polska Akademia Nauk Zakład Ichtiobiologii i Gospodarki Rybackiej w Gołyszu, Poland Ośrodek Hodowli Zarodowej w Osieku Sp. z o. o., Poland Towarzystwo na rzecz Ziemi, Poland Górnośląskie Koło Ornitologiczne, Poland Rolnicza Spółdzielnia Produkcyjna "Zgoda" w Malcu, Poland Instytut Rybactwa Śródlądowego w Olsztynie Rybacki Zakład Doświadczalny w Zatorze, Poland Regionalna Dyrekcja Ochrony Środowiska w Krakowie, Poland


Project reference LIFE16 NAT/PL/000766
Duration 01-OCT-2017 to 30-SEP -2022
Total budget 4,315,534.00 €
EU contribution 2,589,321.00 €
Project location Malopolskie(Poland Polska) Slaskie(Poland Polska)


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Project web site Project's website


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version