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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