Protecting Krakow’s wetlands

Thanks to the Department of Environmental Protection of the Municipal Council, the Jagiellonian University and the Malopolska Ornithological Society, Krakow will gain three additional areas for ecological use. Until now, the two existing sites have been the Nowa Huta grasslands (some 57 hectares) and the forest area at Rzaska with historical, cultural and environmental significances.  The three new areas according to Dziennik Polski that are to be added to the list are: the pond at ul. Kaczencowa, the wetlands near Zawila and the watercourse along the tree line of the Pradnik. All sites are water related as the risk of their destruction is increasing.Due to urbanization of these areas, the water ecological systems require protection. Once construction begins, watercourses and wetlands are the first to suffer by drying up as the water table lowers. Another common form of destruction is the illegal dumping of debris and soil into the wet areas from construction sites, either by individuals or by companies.  As Dziennik Polski reports, once these areas for ecological purposes are established by the city, the landscape in these areas will not undergo changes. The aim of such official allocation is to sustain the environmental quality of each of the areas. Construction work will be prohibited. Only minimal landscape architectural changes will be allowed, such as park benches and walking tracks. The hunting and destruction of fauna and flora will be prohibited. The wet areas will not be drained, filled or polluted.  Currently the pond around Kaczencowa street has rare species of birds such as the small woodpecker (the smallest of the woodpecker family in Poland), the golden oriole, and the kingfisher. The pond is also home to the long-haired snail that is on the endangered species list.  The 15 hectares of the alder forest area and the watercourse in the Pradnik region also accommodates many bird species requiring protection.  The wetlands of Zawila (2 hectares) are especially significant as they are home to various reptile species such as the grass frog and the tree frog. The Zawila area also has marshes, pines growing on its embankments and migratory birds such as the lonesome sandpiper and the rust-colored nightingale.  The three ecological areas will be established by autumn of this year. The Municipal Council intends to continue this ecological expansion with one new area added each year. Documents are being drafted for the pond area around the Plaza shopping center, to be added to the list for next year.

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