Articles

The Project Site is part of a large area, which originally was overgrown with impassable riparian (floodplain) wilderness with numerous natural meadows, lakes and dunes formed by the great masses of water. All of this was one of the largest marshes in Europe.
 

Additionally located in a geological structure - an inland delta, where the waters of the Warta river connect with the Oder. This area was famous for its beautiful nature - the great abundance of animals and all natural resources. Human settlements developed on the plateaus surrounding the ancient valley of the Warta which in places is tens of kilometres wide!
 

This area was completely drained in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The major work began in 1765 and lasted until 1842. The initiator of the whole project was the Emperor Frederick the Great. The entire estuarine section of the Warta River (from the Gorzów Wielkopolski to the end of the river mouth at Kostrzyn) with its marshes and its tributaries have been drained on a scale unprecedented in Europe. The goal of the project was to streamline the Warta for shipping and drain the basin for settlement and agriculture. The work had a giant budget and claimed many lives. It started despite protests from locals who had successfully built their wealth on what was very generously provided by nature.
 

The whole region was soon to be known as the New America and the emerging settlements took names such as New York, New Orleans, or Jamaica. Their inhabitants were exempt from taxes and military service.
 

The implementation of out Project is limited to the area of the so-called Northern Polder – which is about 5 000 hectares located between the main channel of the Warta is the south, and to the north by the railway line Gorzow Wielkopolski – Kostrzyn running on the former dike.
 

There is no settlement in the area at present. It was used for agriculture until the late 1980s. During the communist regime state farms operated here carrying out intensive hay farming (four cuts per year!). The modernization and intensification of agricultural use (including the conversion of grassland to arable land on the edges) in time led to the collapse of the water regime and left degraded meadows.
 

In the 90s, with the switch to the open market economy and the collapse of state farms, land was no longer used. The remaining dense network of drainage facilities was destroyed over time through lack of maintenance or vandalism. The only exception are the pumping stations (used only for drainage and not for irrigation).
 

This network is no longer suitable for water management, either in terms of agricultural benefits, or in terms of aiding habitat or natural conditions. Weirs are, without exception, plundered and devastated. Their re-use is possible only after proper renovation and upgrading, as is the case with the trenches. At present, drainage facilities do not work and in practice cannot fulfil its primary function - they are not able to hold water.
 

Thus, the major problem of the protection of moist and wet habitats in the Polder is drying and the subsequent degradation of the soil. The immediate cause of this condition are defective water relations with processes typical of arid areas: remineralisation, rot, lack of retention properties, the rapid flow of seasonal surface water (rain), increasing pace of the succession of shrubs.
 

All this resulted in significant depletion of biodiversity and the withdrawal of many species from the area which, due to the location, should be one of the most valuable in the country and in Europe - mainly because of its bird life.
 

A comprehensive feasibility study for the implementation of the Project "Wetlands Work Wonders!" was undertaken at the first stage of the project, in the years 2008-10.