Foto: NABU Niedersachsen
As the year 2012 comes to a close, so does the third year of AMPHIKULT's projected 5-year project. This is a good time for stock taking. Of the planned 190 spawning grounds sized from 500 to 5.000 m², 133 have been created or redeveloped so far. Altogether, water bodies with a total area of 120.000 m² have been created. In five of the 15 project areas, the envisaged measures have already been completed; in fact, it was possible to create more than the originally planned number of water bodies in some areas.
Foto: NABU Niedersachsen
In addition, large parts of the terrestrial habitat optimization measures have already been implemented. This is particularly true for the project area Liekwegen Quarry in the Schaumburg district: By removing woody groves and creating raw soil, the living conditions for the Natterjack toad were significantly improved in this area. In order to safeguard the measures in the long run, extensive pasturage was created that is protected by an electric fence financed by the project. Three Sorraia horses taken from the population at the Wiesentgehege Springe (a wildlife park near the Deister) serve to keep open the terrestrial habitats while also sustaining the pioneering approach to the creation of spawning grounds.
The effects on the populations of the target species can, however, not yet be evaluated. Based on experience, the colonisation of new water bodies takes a few years; evidence of first populations of the European tree frog and Moor frog is, however, already given. A first systematic population survey to be carried out in conjunction with the project's efficiency monitoring efforts, is scheduled for next spring and is expected to provide evidence of numerous target species. Species that are generally still fairly common, including the Common toad, Common frog and Common newt have already benefited from these new water bodies for reproduction.
Press releases and more than twenty lectures have provided extensive information on the project's goals and measures. Thanks to outstanding communication with local protagonists and supporters, water pollution protection and nature preservation authorities as well as with the general public, additional areas for project measures were secured. In co-operation with the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation, a well-attended seminar on the creation and management of water bodies for amphibians was organised for the staff of nature conservation administrations and planning offices. The project's own website has registered increasing popularity. During the past year, it has seen more than 2500 visitors per month.