Petrifying springs with tufa formation (a priority habitat type of the Habitats Directive) are among the most valuable and ecologically interesting European ecosystems, and also among the most difficult to protect. Protection of springs is not only a question of protecting the physical feature defined as the spring. In Estonia, the springs can form complexes with transition mires, fens, calcareous grasslands, etc. In order to preserve this habitat, it is also essential to preserve its surroundings and the entire hydrological system, not only within the habitat type’s topographical catchment area, but also its hydrological catchment area.
The LIFE Springday project aims to prevent the degradation of petrifying springs and to achieve or maintain their “favourable” conservation status in three Natura 2000 sites in Estonia. This will also help to improve the conservation prospects of the many associated rare and endangered species and habitats that they support. The project’s main objectives are to: • Carry out detailed field surveys and data analyses using best available methods; • Draw up a conservation plan and monitoring guidelines; • Formulate protection proposals that will be provided to competent authorities; • Restore the surroundings of springs (clearing of shrubs, trees and forest-like vegetation); • Restore the natural hydrological regime of springs and their surrounding habitats (fine tuning of the water level through drainage-ditch filling, dredging of neighbouring streams, etc); • Remove mud, reeds and floating herbage from spring streams and lake Prästvike; • Design and create rapids (to disperse stones into the stream-bed of the springs); • Remove obstacles from spring streams; and • Construct/reconstruct wooden nature trails with information boards, in order to prevent trampling around the springs.
• A maintenance strategy and detailed conservation plan for petrifying spring habitats; • Publication of long-term monitoring guidelines; • The restoration of the natural hydrological regime of petrifying springs and their surrounding valuable habitats, covering an area of 1 960 ha; • Improved habitat and hydrological characteristics for 50 spring habitats in three project areas; • 14 500 m of drainage ditches filled, in order to restore the natural water levels; • Shrubs, reed and floating plants removed from a 30- ha area related to petrifying springs and their surrounding habitats; • Approximately 1 000 m of nature trails constructed/ reconstructed around the spring habitats, in order to prevent major trampling; and • Greater awareness about petrifying spring habitats, conservation approaches and maintenance measures among the wider public and relevant field experts/ specialists.
NGO Wildlife Estonia is established in 2000. Our aim is to protect rivers and other aquatic habitats. We care about the nature, biodiversity and fish in particular.
Springs, rivers and lakes are our common treasure. The more natural status they have the more precious they are.
Successful application and implementation of river restoration and fish population status improvement projects. Scientific ichthyology studies with traditional and modern bio-telemetric methods.
Eesti Loodushoiu Keskus, registration 80124928,
Address: Veski 4, 51005 Tartu, ESTONIA
Contact phone (+372) 51 76886