LFA für Feldherpetologie und Ichthyofaunistik

LIFE AMPHIKULT 350 Ponds for Lower Saxony

Welcome to the website of the LIFEproject AMPFHIKULT which is being carried out by Lower Saxony's Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). We provide information on the project's background, the measures to be taken as well as news updates.

Workshop for Volunteers in the Amphibian Protection

on 12 July 2014 in Stemshorn at the Dümmer

As part of NABU Lower Saxony's LIFE-AMPHIKULT project, a seminar on "Creation and Management of Amphibian Spawning Grounds" is offered. The seminar, which is conducted in cooperation with the Regional Expert Committee on Field Herpetology and Ichtyofaunistics, as well as the Naturschutzring Dümmer e.V. (a local nature conservation and environmental protection organisation), is targeted mainly at volunteers.

It will take place on 12 July 2014 in the "Alte Schafstall" ("Old Sheep Pen") of the Schäferhof (Sheep yard) at the Dümmer in 49448 Stemshorn.

For an entire day, the seminar will deal with the key aspects of creating amphibian spawning grounds. Next to issues of size, depth and pond flow conditions for the various target species, questions as to site selection, mandatory licenses and how to find a suitable civil engineering company will be discussed. The seminar will also deal with the issues of cost and promotion possibilities, as well as necessary long-term maintenance and management. An excursion to several water bodies in the Dümmer Lowlands will round out the event schedule.

pdf button Flyer Seminar 'Anlage und Pflege von Amphibiengewässern'

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On the Tracks of the European Green Toad

May 2014

Study group hold meeting in the Helmstedt district

The annual meeting of the study group that goes hand in hand with the NABU's LIFE-AMPHIKULT Project was held in the Helmstedt distict. This study group meets frequently to ensure intensive information exchange among all parties involved and to warrant highest quality for the measures that are taken.The participants included representatives from local nature conservation authorities, the districts, the agency for nature conservation in Lower Saxony’s Department for Waterway, Coastal and Nature Conservation as well as officials from Lower Saxony's Ministry for the Environment. NABU representatives and amphibian experts from Lower Saxony rounded out the attendance list.

At the Umweltburg ("Environmental Castle") in Königslutter, Andreas Jacob of the NLWKN (Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency) outlined the current situation of the European green toad in Lower Saxony. According to the results of the annual monitoring on behalf of the NLWKN, the specie's population has continually dropped in recent years.   In 2013, thirteen populations in the Helmstedt and Wolfenbüttel districts as well as the city of Salzgitter were identified. Many former distribution ranges are now abandoned, successful reproduction is hardly documented any more.Initial results from 2014, however, give reason to hope; for the first time, considerably more calling mates than in previous years were documented at the spawning grounds.

Subsequently, project manager Dr. Markus Richter gave the participants an update on the current state of the project.Aside from a few delays with regard to the excavation works due to weather conditions, the project is progressing well.   Preparations for the measures to be taken for the benefit of the European green toad, however, are proving to be rather complex.

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Tagebau Treue (Foto: Marieke Nessmann)

An excursion to the project area "Open pit mine Treue" near Helmstedt rounded out the meeting. The „Helmstedter Revier GmbH“, a subsidiary of the Mitteldeutschen Braunkohlen AG (MIBRAG), has recently assumed ownership of this former open brown coal pit. Representing the company, Edwin Okrug (Mining operations planning) and Ewald Löwe (Land restoration) provided information on the history of the mine and the status of land restoration. The event was completed with an excursion to the water body in Lower Saxony that is currently the most significant with regard to the European green toad as well as with regard to the areas where the intended measures will be implemented. This field trip showed that considerable efforts will be necessary to sustainably improve the situation of the European green toad in Lower Saxony.

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European green toad

August 2013

Offspring for the European green toad in the Wolfenbüttel district

Not only is the European green toad Lower Saxony's rarest amphibian species, their population has also been continually declining over the past years. The fact that the annual population surveys conducted by the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency (NLWKN) were able to report hardly any reproductive success at all is particularly alarming.

Help for the European green toad

July 2013

LIFE-AMPHIKULT's scope is to be expanded as the programme is also extended.

Photo: The European green toad (Bufo viridis) is the rarest amphibian species of Lower Saxony (Photo M. Richter)

2013 Akt Wechselkroete klein2The conservation of native amphibian species is a key objective for Lower Saxony's NABU. NABU will now also direct its attention to the conservation of the rarest amphibian species in Lower Saxony, namely the European green toad. The broadening of the scope of the LIFE-AMPHIKULT project, which was recently approved by the EU commission, makes this possible. To meet the project's objectives, since the beginning of 2010 numerous new spawning grounds for endangered amphibian species have been either created or restored within 15 project areas in central Lower Saxony. Five more areas in the south east of the state have now been added to the list. The local districts of Helmstedt and Wolfenbüttel, as well as the city of Salzgitter, are the only areas with established populations of the European green toad.

Natterjack toads go ashore

June 2013

Water bodies at Liekwegen quarry have made an impact

Photo: Young Natterjack toads (Photo M. Richter)
Photo: Newly metamorphosized Natterjack toads that are only a few millimetres in size (Photo M. Richter)

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While they are only a few millimetres long, they are very numerous - the first young Natterjack toads have left their spawning grounds at the Liekwegen quarry.
As part of the programme's efficiency monitoring efforts, since April, the numerous newly created small ponds are being monitored frequently for calling males, spawn and tadpoles as well as recently metamorphosized Natterjack toads.
First spawns were reported in mid- April; the young toads that were recently observed originate from these. Following the abundant rainfall at the end of May, new spawn was deposited in quite a few of the water bodies and a second batch of tadpoles is currently developing. Chances are good, thus, that these tadpoles will have completed their development before the spawning grounds dry up. All of these circumstances point to good prospects of an above-average reproductive success this year.