Rewilding Oder Delta advocates to #RestoreNature

June 26, 2023

In the light of the upcoming voting for the new Nature Restoration Law, Rewilding Oder Delta hosted a visit of members of the European Parliament Hannah Neumann and Jutta Paulus to present challenges and best practices in the field of ecosystem restoration.

The Ina River – aerial view
Florian Möllers / Rewilding Oder Delta

A chance to restore nature

On 22 June 2022, the European Commission adopted a long-awaited proposal for an EU Nature Restoration Law. The draft law aims to restore at least 20 % of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and repair all ecosystems needing restoration by 2050. The upcoming vote on 12 July in the European Parliament plenary presents a chance to restore habitats and species that have been degraded by human activity and climate change, estimated currently to be around 80% of all European habitats. 

This legislative proposal is highly relevant for the Oder Delta area, which was negatively affected by the ecocide in August 2022, which impacted a stretch of 500 km of the river with approximately 360 tonnes of dead fish noted.  The year-long environmental catastrophe serves as a stark illustration of rivers’ deteriorating state with eutrophication, water scarcity, drought, and a plunge in biodiversity observed. Quick and effective countermeasures are needed to prevent and mitigate further damage and work towards the regeneration of the affected habitats. 

Euro Parliament members visit the Ina River

Euro Parliament members, Jutta Pauluas and Hannah Neumann, during the visit
Magdalena Urlich / Rewilding Oder Delta

As rewilding offers practical solutions to address these issues, the Rewilding Oder Delta team showcased successful examples of restoration measures and provided a space for dialogue between the MEPs and the local community.  

During the field trip, Hannah Neumann and Jutta Paulus visited the Ina River in Poland, a tributary of the Oder River. They learned about the results of the EU Intrerreg Programme, where the association Friends of the Ina and Gowienica River (TPRIiG), as the founding partner of Rewilding Oder Delta, has constructed eight gravel prisms in the riverbed. These structures mimic the natural form of a healthy riverbed and serve to improve the stream’s biodiversity, self-purification abilities, and resilience to climate change. This initiative has proven successful and is currently being expanded by Rewilding Oder Delta with the addition of three more stoney-gravel beds, thanks to the backing of the Baltic Sea Conservation Foundation. 

Another critical point of the visit was a discussion panel with local entrepreneurs and stakeholders who shared the difficulties they are facing due to the ongoing pollution. Participants underlined the huge natural capital of the area that promises new economic opportunities but is under constant threat from further land degradation. Discussions confirmed that a healthy nature is an asset that brings quality of life in rural areas, and nature restoration can be a driver for new business models. Rewilding Oder Delta hopes that this meeting and the expertise provided will contribute to the success of the upcoming Nature Restoration Law both on a legal and practical level. 

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