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The second steering group meeting for the site management plan of Augstroze Nature Reserve, Latvia

In 6 February 2018, the second steering group meeting for the site management plan of Augstroze Nature Reserve was held in Limbaži. It was attended by the stakeholders involved in the development of the plan: local municipalities, relevant governmental institutions, JSC “Latvian State Forests”, the landowners, and LIFE Peat Restore project team.

The coordinator of the management plan, Sandra Ikauniece, introduced to the auditorium the progress in the plan development and its contents. Since the previous meeting in October 2017, a draft plan has been prepared. It contains the obligatory contents as required by the national legislation, including the action plan for restoration and protection of ecosystems/habitats and species.

The LIFE Peat Restore project habitat expert, Līga Strazdiņa, and hydro-geologist, Oļģerts Aleksāns, provided detailed presentations on peatland habitats in the nature reserve, their conservation status, problems and necessary restoration measures, including those which will be carried out within LIFE Peat Restore project.

The questions that arose the largest interest were the hydrological restoration, including its potential impacts on the surrounding private lands. The hydro-geologist, O. Aleksāns, explained the situation in detail and emphasised that the actions are planned so that they do not pose any threat on the adjacent areas.

Moreover, proposals by bird experts were discussed in the meeting. To ensure appropriate protection of rare bird species, especially in bog areas, a decision must be made on whether a total ban of bird hunting throughout the nature reserve and a seasonal visiting restriction should be applied in the Madiešēnu Bog. The essential actions important for the particular nature reserve include also restoration of the habitats for the rare hermit beetle (clearing of shrubs around old, large trees and restoration and management of the currently overgrown wooded meadows). Additionally, proposals for developing the tourism infrastructure were discussed.

The expert team involved in the plan development continue working on specifying the action list and processing the suggestions provided by the steering group. The plan will be available for public discussion in the beginning of March, 2018.