Our LIFE+ project “Restoration of Habitats in the Federsee Fen” began in January 2009 and ended in March 2014. The main stages of the project are detailed below:
1. Acquisition of the airfield and relocation of air traffic out of the Natura 2000 reserve
The Land and Property Department purchased the land and buildings of the airfield in summer 2009. Fliegergruppe Federsee e.V. (Federsee Gliding Club) moved to the Mengen airfield at the end of September 2009. The Club has officially relinquished its air traffic rights to the state government and its alcohol licence to the Regional Administrative Authority. The buildings and access roads were removed by the end of May 2010. The existing drainage system was deconstructed and the land will in future be managed as grassland.Further information
2. Removal of invasive plant species
Non-native plant species that have established themselves at the Federsee fen and displaced native plants (known as invasive species) include Canada Goldenrod Solidago canadensis, Himalayan Balsam Impatiens glandulifera, Red-Barked Dogwood Cornus alba and Jerusalem Artichoke Helianthus tuberosus. They were cut back two to three times during the growing season. This work was carried out by the following mechanisms depending on species, location and spatial coverage: areas accessible to tractors were mulched; isolated occurrences were removed by hand, before the plant has bloomed and during wet weather (the plants will then be removed from the site); small stands were mown with brushcutters down to the root, and the area was then covered with black plastic sheeting to prevent regrowth. These locations were recorded digitally so that the progress of this plant removal work can be tracked in subsequent years.
3. Production of a project information leaflet
Following our application, a project information leaflet was produced at the start of the project. It contains information about the Natura-2000 Federsee site and key project dates as well as project aims and activities. A map was included to show the location of various activities within the project area. The flyer (in German) can be downloaded here:Download Flyer "LIFE+-Projekt Federsee"
4. Comprehensive description of the project on the Federsee Nature Conservation Centre Homepage
Details of the project were made available on the Federsee Nature Conservation Centre website at the start of the project. At www.nabu-federsee.de, information is available regarding the importance of the Natura-2000 Federsee area for nature conservation, the project aims and activities and the current status of the work. A link leads to the previous LIFE project “Preservation and Development of Nature in the Federsee Landscape”. These pages were supplemented with updates on project progress over time.
5. Purchase of machinery and equipment
A balcony mower, a chainsaw and two brushcutters were bought for removing invasive plants and for landscape conservation. A digital camera, a colour printer and a laminating machine were purchased for the community engagement work.
6. Comprehensive community engagement
The public was informed about the project aims and developments through intensive community engagement work from the start of this project. This should help to secure support from the public as a whole, and also encourage acceptance by those directly affected by the LIFE+ work: farmers, land owners, local officials and other decision-makers. Numerous consultations and site visits have taken place and the project has been presented at many public meetings. Furthermore, LIFE+ was a theme discussed at multiple nature conservation training sessions held for groups of people in the Federsee area who work with tourists and health visitors. Staff at the Federsee Nature Conservation Centre all present information on the project at the start of every guided tour (ca. 400 per year). Intensive public relations work accompanied major project developments and, through ongoing press coverage of the natural beauty and amenities at Federsee, supported acceptance for the conservation activities needed to protect it. The Baden-Württemberg Minister for Agriculture, Peter Hauck, provided a big boost to community engagement when he visited in August 2009 to find out more about the planned rewetting activities in NSG Nördliches Federseeried (Northern Federsee Reedbeds Nature Reserve). Minster Tanja Gönner also took time to learn about the key project stages at the Symposium der Stiftung Naturschutzfonds (Foundation for Nature Conservation Symposium) in Stuttgart on 22nd April 2010. NABU staff presented the LIFE+ project at the opening events of the Biberach County Environment Days, in May 2010 and in September 2013. The importance of removing the gliding airfield was explained in detail at a press conference on 10th May 2010, which accompanied the release of a publication by an archaeological research group on the subject of the Bronze Age “Forschner” settlement, located underground beneath the former landing strip. LIFE+ was also an important part of the application for the Bad Buchau anniversary celebration “100 years of the Federsee boardwalk and 100 years of nature conservation at the Federsee fen”.
7. Distribution of a newsletter
One month after the start of the project, the Nature Conservation Centre began publishing a free monthly newsletter, which is available to subscribers via email. It provides updates on project progress, as well as other nature conservation work, up-to-date nature watching tips and details of educational activities on offer.Further Information
A monitoring network of around 150 water level gauges, distributed around the entire nature conservation area, was read and analysed. Vegetation counts have been carried out, e.g. for the Fen Orchid Liparis loeselii. Bird monitoring, which has been carrying out for over 30 years by the Federsee Nature Conservation Centre, was carried out; an example of the important findings from this work is that in winter 2010 a pair of Hen Harriers established a new nesting site on land that was restored ten years ago as part of the previous LIFE project. Besides the breeding bird surveys, monitoring of snail populations at a particularly important project site was contracted out in 2010, and populations of the Common European Adder were surveyed.
Information regarding the project aims and further measures are available here:Project Overview
9. Procurement of a transport vehicle
A new project vehicle was purchased to assist with transport of landscape conservation machinery as well as inspection of the water level gauges in the Federsee fen. The car is a Volkswagon Transporter with a double cab and four-wheel drive. The vehicle is fitted with a diesel particle filter and, with an exhaust emission standard of “Euro 5”, meets the latest environmental requirements. It replaces a Range Rover Defender, purchased in 1997 through the previous LIFE project, which is no longer suitable due to a high level of wear, high diesel consumption and lack of emissions controls.Picture of the key handover
10. Scrub removal at Kalkquellmoor Oggelshausen
Scrub removal has been carried out at a particularly valuable site where rare plant species are found. This is an area of chalk spring fen in the Federsee Nature Reserve, in which an unexpectedly high number of Fen Orchids was discovered – this is an orchid species protected at European level under the Habitats Directive. The Moor-King Lousewort Pedicularis sceptrum-carolinum, a relic from the last Ice Age, is also found there. Woody plants were being removed at this site in order to maintain the required light levels.
11. Production of a project information poster
A project poster was produced to inform visitors to the Nature Conservation Centre and for external project presentations. It provides information regarding key project dates as well as the main project aims and activities. A map is included showing the location of various activities within the project area. The poster (in German) can be downloaded here:Download Poster "LIFE+-Projekt Federsee"
12. Preparation of a summary in English
A summary in English of the planned measures and current developments in the LIFE+ project has been produced for English-speaking nature lovers. Download the English summary
13. Rewetting in NSG Wilden Ried
Rewetting work was carried out on state-owned land in NSG Wilden Ried (Wild Reedbeds Nature Reserve) in June 2010 and January 2014. It was possible to begin blocking up the large number of drainage ditches, as there is no privately-owned land in this area. Soil was removed from nearby using a small digger and used to block up the ditches so that they no longer drain the land.
14. Communication with similar projects
The LIFE project team participated in a fenland restoration conference in Bad Wurzach on 23rd/24th June 2010. Under the slogan “Reactivating CO2 sinks: preservation and restoration of fenlands”, the role of fenlands as CO2 stores was highlighted. The LIFE+ project was also mentioned at the closing event for the LIFE project Oberer Hotzenwald. Stefan Schwab from the Tübingen Regional Administrative Authority introduced the fenland restoration work at Federsee in the course of a three-day conference in September 2010 as part of a series of talks, poster presentations of other LIFE projects and excursions.
15. Commissioning of plans for the restoration work
Plans for the restoration work in the northern and southern Federsee reedbeds have been submitted to the planning office. Proceedings began in early 2011. The plans were presented to the local community in March 2011.
16. Visitor facilities in Nördliches Federseeried
In Nördliches Federseeried a viewing platform was constructed. Complete with clearly presented information boards and seating areas, these sites will act as an important tourist attraction in the northern reedbeds. The boards explain the importance of the restoration activities for these archaeologically significant areas.