Last update: 17.05.2019


A. Preparatory actions, planning

ACTION A.1: Preparatory works for restoration of river Dviete

The action included elaboration and approval of technical project for engineering works related to restoration of hydrological regime of Dviete river floodplain (Action C.1). The final version of the technical project was prepared in 2014.

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C. Concrete conservation actions

ACTION C.1: Restoration of river Dviete natural course

After it’s drainage during the 1930s, river Dviete formed a deep and straight channel. Action C.1 aimed at restoring the natural meandering bed of river Dviete in a 2.1 km long section, as set out in the site management plan for Dviete floodplain.

1.8 km of Dviete river bed were excavated as part of the restoration of hydrological regime within a total section of 2.3 km usptream from the Skuķu lake in 2015 in accordance with the final version of the technical project.

The effects of hydrological restoration will benefit sustainability of Actions C.2 and C.3 by reduced potential for development of bushes and trees in the wet parts of the floodplain.

ACTION C.2: Restoration of open grasslands

The target area for the Action C.2 was the narrowest and most heavily overgrown part of the Dviete floodplain Natura 2000 site around and above lake Skuķu. Dense blocks of bushes formed a barrier that separated larger open managed floodplain areas and contained fragments of grasslands that were mostly too small and isolated for breeding Corncrakes.

113 hectares of open grasslands were restored by clearing the abandoned and overgrown patches from trees and bushes. Restoration was done by land owners and local workers during four winters - from autumn 2011 till spring 2015. In the most overgrown areas, bush removal was not enough as the grazing animals could not suppress the regrowth of shoots, therefore mulching of stumps with special machinery was carried out in an area of 54 ha.

ACTION C.3: Establishing of grazing scheme

To maintain open grasslands for breeding meadow birds, ‘Konik Polski’ horses and cattle suited for year round grazing were introduced in the cleared areas. Pastures arranged within the LIFE+ project cover 113 ha (28 ha on the right bank of the Dviete river and 85 ha on the left bank of the Dviete river) and are connected with previously arranged pastures, for a total of about 350 ha of permanent grazing area.

39 horses and 31 cattle were transported from the Netherlands and released in the new grazing areas of Dviete floodplain in September 2012. The project partner ARK Nature allocated animals to the NGO “Dvietes senlejas pagastu apvienība”, which rents land for grazing from other land owners. At the end of the project about 100 horses and 100 cattle were grazing in Dviete floodplain.

ACTION C.4: Elaboration of habitat suitability model for the Corncrake

On the basis of high resolution remote sensing data obtained within the project, and data on Corncrake numbers, the Institute for Environmental Solutions developed a habitat suitability model for the species according to two different approaches, and the most accurate method was chosen. As a result a habitat suitability map for the Corncrake of Dviete floodplain nature park was created. It is expected that this model could also be used for the identification of Corncrake habitats and management planning in other areas.

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D. Public awareness and dissemination of results

ACTION D.1: Creation and maintenance of project’s website

The webpage for the project was created, including information on the project area, Dviete floodplain Natura 2000 site, project goals and activities. During the project course the website was updated on a regular basis, providing information on project progress, results and planned public events.

ACTION D.2: Production of printed materials

A printed leaflet with information on project goals and planned activities as well as a short description of the Natura 2000 site, the target species and main nature conservation issues of the area was produced at the beginning of the project.

A report on floodplain restoration is prepared and published in the net, including technical details of management works conducted and results achieved in Dviete floodplain. It also includes an up-date on experience from river Slampe restored within the LIFE-Nature project in Ķemeri National Park, and also describe experience of similar projects from other countries.

ACTION D.3: Production of the layman’s report

A layman’s report was prepared and published in the net at the end of the project. It was required to disseminate information on project goals, measures applied to reach these goals as well as project results to the general public.

ACTION D.4: Setting up of an outlook platform

An outlook platform was constructed near the Dviete floodplain nature park visitor centre in 2012. It enhances the visual demonstration of the Dviete river floodplain restoration site.

ACTION D.5: Preparation of information boards and signs

Three large information boards containing information on Dviete river floodplain restoration and the target species – Corncrake, were prepared and set up near the sites of main project activities.

At the sites, where the Actions C.2 and C.3 were applied, 30 small information signs were put up, containing summary on management measures applied.

ACTION D.6: Setting up an exposition on floodplain restoration

A permanent exposition on the river Dviete floodplain restoration was established at the visitor centre of Dviete floodplain at "Gulbji" farm. The exposition includes stands with textual material and images, and interactive touch screens with video graphics presenting and illustrating restoration works and the floodplain wildlife information. Field lessons and excursions were held during the project.

ACTION D.7: Organisation of seminars

Four informative seminars were organised during the project: introductory seminar, two seminars for demonstration of progress of habitat management activities in the field and the final seminar.

ACTION D.8: Production of audio-visual materials

Original audio-visual materials - a documentary film and nature sound album - were created and distributed free of charge. The film reveals principles of the Corncrake habitat restoration work and the progress of project activities. The running time of the film is 45 minutes. The nature sound album includes high-quality soundtracks recorded locally in the project area – songs and calls of birds and amphibians characteristic to the Dviete floodplain area.

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E. Overall project operation and monitoring


These actions include project management by each of the beneficiaries (Latvian Fund for Nature, ARK Nature, Ilūkste municipality, Elm Media, Institute for Environmental Solutions).

ACTION E.6: Establishment of a Steering Group

A Steering Group was established at the beginning of the project in order to monitor the project performance and ensure it’s accountability. It represented project beneficiaries and main stakeholders of the project area. Meetings of the group took place once or twice a year. The project management unit reported on the project progress.

ACTION E.7: Networking with other related projects

Experience exchange Study Tours (national and abroad) were organised to and from other project areas with similar activities, for the experience exchange of the project staff, associated beneficiaries and representatives from relevant stakeholder groups.

ACTION E.8: After-LIFE Conservation Plan

After-LIFE Conservation Plan was elaborated as a separate chapter of the final report. The plan includes information about continuation and development of activities, initiated within the LIFE+ project as well as how the favorable conservation status of the target species, the Corncrake, will be ensured in longer term.

ACTION E.9: Audit of the project

At the end of the project, an independent auditor verified the financial statements provided to the Commission in the final report. Auditor verified correspondence with national legislation and accounting rules as well as LIFE+ Common Provisions.

ACTION E.10: Monitoring of Corncrake population

Corncrake counts were organised to cover both the project’s restoration area and a control area elsewhere in the Dviete floodplain Natura 2000 site. Assessment of the efficiency of management activities was needed to evaluate if they reach the goals proposed and if adjustment of project activities have to be made. Breeding Corncrakes have occupied the area of restored habitats, their number was shown to be increasing in and around the habitat restoration area at a rate significantly higher than in the control routes in other parts of the nature park.

ACTION E.11: Monitoring of groundwater table

Groundwater level was monitored on a weekly basis by making water level measurements at groundwater wells installed in Dviete floodplain meadows for the purpose of a preliminary assessment of hydrological restoration. The monitoring could not confirm an increase in average ground-water level yet. However, effects of restoration on the water table change are expected to happen gradually, with slowly diminishing discharge flow capacity of the fresh river-bed.

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Location of project activities
Location of project activities