Representatives of several LIFE projects from Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia met in Stadthagen for a network meeting. The newly started NABU Lower Saxony project “LIFE BOVAR” was the host.
This project is dedicated to the protection of the yellow-bellied toad, midwife toad, natterjack toad and the great crested newt on 35 project sites in Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia and the Dutch province of Limburg.
NABU welcomed guests from the project “LIFE Amphibian Network” of the biological station of the city region Aachen, the integrated LIFE project “Atlantic sand landscapes” with a representative from the Münster district administration, as well as from the already finished project “Protection of the common spadefoot” delivered by the NABU nature station Münsterland.
Each project introduced itself and the focus of the event was knowledge exchange on the topic of the creation of breeding ponds for various species. In most cases an occasional drying out of the pond is desired. An important precondition for the successful creation of a pond is to establish the hydrological situation at each site. In quarries or on rocky slopes the artificial sealing of the pond with loam or concrete is required in many cases.
During the afternoon various types of water bodies were visited as part of two excursions. The water bodies had been created as part of a yellow-bellied toad project funded by the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. The first excursion took the 14 participants to the Liekwegen quarry. In this area, conservation actions for the yellow-bellied toad and the natterjack toad were delivered on an area of 22 hectares. Since the late 1990s the population of the yellow-bellied toad has grown from slightly more than 20 animals to over 1,000 individuals. “You can say that this is possibly one of the most successful amphibian conservation projects for the yellow-bellied toad in Germany”, said Bruno Scheel of NABU Lower Saxony with joy.
This success is enabled by management in the form of year-round grazing by three wild horses. In addition to the yellow-bellied toad many other species benefit from the conservation measures at Liekwegen quarry. In addition to the yellow-bellied toads the participants of the excursion could also see tadpoles and young juveniles of the natterjack toad as well as native newt species such as the palmate newt, lizards and a fully-grown slowworm.
The second excursion visited two sites owned by NABU near the village of Raden in the district of Schaumburg. At this site, ponds were created as stepping stones for the yellow-bellied toad. The particular feature of these water bodies is that the bottom of the ponds was covered with a special material called Dernoton. This helps to keep water on site. At the end of the excursion the participants were in for a surprise. At the last pond they visited, the first ever record for a yellow-bellied toad had just been made. ”Two and a half years ago about 2.5 km away from here we introduced the yellow-bellied toad. It is highly likely, that the animals at this site come from there. This highlights the success of the re-introduction measures”, stated Christian Höppner, NABU project manager of the LIFE project BOVAR.