The project primarily focuses on improving the natural condition of wetlands and peat bogs and on the overall restoration of the water regime in the landscape. A substantial part is also devoted to enlightenment and increasing public awareness of the significance of wetlands for the landscape and mitigation of the consequences of climatic change and extreme weather fluctuation (especially extreme droughts). The project will also significantly contribute to increasing public awareness of the Natura 2000 network of nature protection areas and the importance of the European Union’s LIFE Programme, a funding instrument for the environment and climate action.
The main expected project outputs in the area of direct protection and restoration of mires in the landscape include, in particular:
- Restoration of 1672 hectares of drained peat bogs and wetlands, 894 hectares of which are priority habitats within the Natura 2000 network like active raised bogs and bog woodlands;
- Regeneration of the Vlčí jámy commercially cut peat bog on an area of 17 hectares;
- Improvement of black grouse biotopes on an area of 152 hectares and regeneration of functioning water regime on an area of 427 hectares;
- Protection and revitalisation of minor mires and peat bogs near human settlements on the Bavarian side, on an area of 21 hectares;
- Blocking more than 80 kilometres of drainage channels and restoration of approx. 13 kilometres of mountain streams during the project implementation.
It is expected that the above measures will also help reduce CO2 emissions from the drained peat bogs by ca. 125 tonnes/year, and will increase the total water volume accumulated in the mires by ca. 170 000 m3.
The restored sites will be closely monitored with the aim of assessing the success rate of the revitalisation measures. An important project contribution will also be the monitoring results, showing how the wetlands react to the measures implemented and how efficient these measures are.
- A specialised publication (technical manual) will be published as part of the project, summarising the detailed methodology and technology of the measures as well as specific quantification of the restoration effects on the mire and peat biotopes. Assessment will focus on the effects of the measures on increasing the groundwater levels, on the total water retention in the landscape, water quality, reduction in temperature extremes and landscape overheating, and on biodiversity.
- The publication and other experience gained through this project may be utilised by other research teams for revitalisations elsewhere in the Czech Republic and abroad, but also by other organisations and entities to determine optimum management and protection of the wetlands and peat bogs.
- The monitoring results will serve as a basis to compile a list of indicators or symptoms indicative of serious degradation changes in the priority habitats, which can be used to select and determine the restoration methods.
- Two conferences will be organised as part of the project, aimed at sharing experience in the area of restoration technology, monitoring of wetlands and peat bogs, and interpretation of restoration effects.
A major contribution of the project is expected in the area of enlightenment and cooperation with the public. The project comprises various activities; several of them even count on direct public involvement in wetlands protection.
The main expected results of this part of the project include:
- Direct public involvement in peat bog preservation through volunteer Days for Mires – ca. 50 volunteer events are planned;
- A comprehensive educational programme for schools focusing on water and wetlands, including a pictorial textbook and other teaching materials and events for students and their teachers (The great mire competition, field training, field trips for students, teacher training for the instruction in wetlands, etc.);
- A popular science film about water, wetlands, and restoration;
- Water Lost and Returned – a pictorial and photographic book for laypersons, dealing with water, the Šumava wetlands and peat bogs, and their revitalisation;
- A comprehensive programme for tourists as well as local inhabitants on both sides of the border focusing on water in the landscape and wetlands, including lectures, public discussions, field trips, information materials, etc.;
- A cross-border LIFE for MIRES – Green Belt Festival for the local inhabitants and community leaders regarding water and nature protection on both sides of the border.
Other project benefits:
- Enhancing cross-border cooperation with Bavarian partners (Bavarian Forest National Park, BUND Naturschutz in Bayern);
- Making available knowledge and technologies for the restoration of the water regime for other entities outside the nature-protection sphere (municipalities, river basin authorities, non-profit organisations, etc.);
- Enhancing international cooperation with groups and institutions addressing the same issues;
- Direct fulfilment of points targeted within the national nature protection strategies: State Environmental Policy of the Czech Republic 2012–2020; National Programme to Abate the Climate Change Impacts in the Czech Republic;
- Economic benefits for the region (local contracts – timber, material pre-processing, light forest technology, possibility to engage in public procurements on design documentation as well as the implementation level, long-term accommodation of work teams – utilisation of local accommodation capacity, new destinations and programmes for visitors, attractiveness of the territory for tourist purposes).