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Second steering group meeting for the management plan of Baltezers Mire Nature Reserve, Latvia

On 12 February 2018, the second steering group meeting was held for the site management plan of the Baltezers Mire Nature Reserve. The development of the plan is funded by the LIFE Peat Restore project. During the stakeholder meeting, the participants were introduced to the progress of the plan, as well as the contents and proposed actions.

The Baltezers Mire has suffered from drainage, deposition of alkaline dust from the nearby cement factory, beaver-caused water level changes in the lake, leading to increased eutrophication, etc. The proposed actions include restoration of the mire (e.g. building of dams on ditches, removal of excessive tree cover), covering at least 40 ha, ensuring favourable conservation status of the Baltezers Lake (by controlling the beaver population, maintaining optimal water level in the lake, removal of reed stands on the eastern shore), and non-interference in the forest habitats. The draft plan provides also some suggestions for administrative improvements and preparation of information for the general public.









Photo: M. Pakalne

The hydrology expert, Oļģerts Aleksāns, presented the results of hydro-geological modelling and the proposed number and location of the dams on drainage ditches. The modelling provided several scenarios; among which, the scenario selected as the most appropriate proposes raising the water table in about 40 ha of drained mire. The expert emphasised that there is no intention to cause waterlogged conditions in the adjacent forest. The water table should remain in ca. 0,30 cm range below the peat surface, thus allowing re-establishing the currently disturbed peatland functions – carbon and water accumulation. Restoration of water table would improve also the conditions for rare, protected plant species.

The actions proposed arose discussions among the involved stakeholders, including practical aspects of the management, e.g. removal of trees in the mire, possible dieback of trees due to raising of water table, etc. As the experts emphasised, the dieback of trees may occur, however, this can be expected in small areas only in the vicinity of ditches. There is no evidence of potential damage to vast forest areas.

In the near future, the plan will be available for public discussions (in Latvian only).