About the Project

Wetlands Work Wonders!
Active protection of waterfowl, etc.

The project “Wetlands Work Wonders! Warta River Mouth” is a partnership undertaking between Polish Birds – a non-governmental association and Polish National Park ‘Warta River Mouth’. It is intended to be a long-term action, the ultimate aim of which is the revitalisation of wet meadows habitats for the benefit of threatened bird species. It hopes to combine nature conservation with extensive meadow grazing and anti-flood protection of the northern part of the National Park – the co-called Northern Polder.


The Project is carried out at the Northern Polder of the ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park together with the adjacent areas of the Park buffer zone – within the European Natura 2000 network ((PLC080001), next to the Polish-German border.


The project is directly implemented on an the area of 2800 hectares. In addition, the project will indirectly improve 2000 ha. This is altogether close to 5 thousand hectares of meadows to be influenced by the project.


This undertaking is therefore the largest of this type in Poland and one of the largest such project in Europe and the world.


The main purpose of the project is the conservation of threatened bird species which are dependent on the wet meadows habitats. At the moment this group of birds and this type of habitats are among the fastest disappearing and the most endangered in Poland and in the world. The core of the project is the revitalisation and part-revitalisation of over-dried areas of former marshes which have been degraded and made arid.


In the future these areas should again provide habitat as breeding, feeding and resting grounds for birds during their migration and wintering.
At the same time, these areas will be extensively farmed for grazing and haymaking. At the same time they will create an anti-flood polder which can be used at times when high water and floods threaten the regions neighbouring Warta River and the Odra Valley, below Kostrzyn.


Once the project has been completed, the barren areas of the Northern Polder will be teaming with life, once again enriching this very special National Park – one of the most extraordinary places in the country. Its importance has been confirmed by enlisting it on the Ramsar Sites list – a group of sites which make up the most precious wetland areas on Earth.


The original idea of this project was firstly conceived during the cooperation of the ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park and Polish Birds. Because of it multi-faceted nature and a great added value, the project has been supported by the local government and the local farmers.


Because of the long time-scale of its implementation and the complexity of the planned actions, the project has been split into 2 stages: Because of the long time-scale of its implementation and the complexity of the planned actions, the project has been split into 2 stages:


Stage 1, during the period 2008-2010, was of a research and documentation character. Its main aim was to produce key reports surveying: soil, botany, ornithology and hydrology and to prepare an overall hydrological and building project.


The documentation produced during that phase has strategic importance for the overall project. It has detailed what and how should be done around the water system of the Northern Polder in order to achieve the biological and social objectives of the project.


The reports have been the fruit of co-operation and great involvement of many individuals and organisations: Agricultural Academy in Szczecin, ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park, Polish Birds, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, local governments, Irrigation and Water Infrastructure Management Board in Gorzów Wielkopolski, many hydraulic engineers and advisors.

Stage 2 is to take place between 2011 and 2014 and is of implementation and promotional character. During this time, works are to be undertaken which had been planned during Stage 1. These will directly change the landscape. As a result of our actions water will return to the barren areas. With it, the most precious and rarest of habitats, marshes and wet meadows. These will become home to rare and threatened species of birds but they will also become pastures for horses and cows.


Birds are becoming one of the strongest promotional elements for the region. They will draw in birdwatchers and tourists which in turn will provide additional income for the locals. Farmers will also benefit from restored wetlands thanks to agro-environmental schemes and subsidies. Because Wetlands Work Wonders! For everyone!
Throughout the project duration, we will be sharing experiences and promote wetlands. We will also be building knowledge about Nature - our common legacy.

Conservation actions were planned to include all requirements of species and habitats included in the project: waders, waterfowl and others which depend on wet and open habitats during breeding or wintering. Our project will create the chance to improve their protection. We have also taken into account the local social and cultural conditions (fully identified during Stage 1) which may be important for the implementation of the project for securing its results.




In addition, we are undertaking a promotional campaign connected with the project – both at the specialist level and the popular level. Among others, there will be an international conference for practitioners, local governments and farmers, there will be publications increasing awareness and showing the results of the project (including those for local farmers and school children), a documentary film and a book titled ‘Wetlands Work Wonders!’. All of these in order to share the experiences gained during the project and encourage people to use them, to promote the project, to increase social involvement in nature protection, and to raise awareness about nature and birds, and especially about wet meadow habitats and birds connected with them.




The project ‘Wetlands Work Wonders!’ is coordinated by Polish Birds and is a joint initiative between Polish Birds and the ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park with the involvement of Warsaw University of Life Sciences and with the support of the local governments of Gorzów Wielkopolski, Górzyca, Kostrzyn, Krzeszyce, Słońsk, Sulęcin and Witnica.



The Project is implemented in partnership between Polish Birds and ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park. The Project is funded by the European Commission’s Life+ Fund, ref. no LIFE09 NAT/PL/00025 and by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management, ref. no 502/2010/W04/OP-WK-LF/D.n



Stage 1 of the Project (2008-2010) was co-funded within Compenent II – Environment Protection and Sustainable Development: Support from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through funding via European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and via Norwegian Financial Mechanism and co-funded by the Republic of Poland within the NGO Fund.



If you would like to join us and help protect wetlands in the Warta River mouth (or anywhere else) or learn more about our Project – write to us or visit us at one of Polish Birds offices or at the offices of the ‘Warta River Mouth’ National Park.