Program LIFE
Príroda a biodiverzita - NATURA 2000

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Project Site SPA Senné


The area of SPA Senné project site is located in Senné depression, a large flat wetland within the Východoslovenská nížina lowland. The relief has a pre-historic, Pleistocene origin. The area was regularly flooded in spring by water from melting snow in surrounding Carpathian Mountains. It was water, which formed the land and influenced the life of local people. The main source of nutrition was fishery, less hunting and agriculture.
The amount of birds gathered on flooded meadows has attracted early ornithologists and naturalists. At the time between two wars, first efforts were made to protect the area. In 1955 the State Nature Reserve was proclaimed. In 1960s the area was a part of the project to restrict future flooding. The Zemplinská Šírava water reservoir was built at that time with the same aim. For better utilization of underflooding meadows of Senné depression a decision to build fish pond system was made. It offered great breeding opportunities for water birds.

Site description

The centre of the Special Protected Area which is 2703 ha, is a fish pond system. It involves 26 production ponds and one non-commercial as a part of the National Nature Reserve (NNR), 213,31 ha with buffer zone of 211,28 ha. The total fish pond area is about 700 ha. Within the NNR three bird islands are important breeding sites of Night Herons, Little Egrets and Cormorants. In reedbeds other birds like grebes, coot, rails, ducks, swans, herons, harriers ect. are found. In July 1990 the area was involved in Ramsar sites with an international importance.

Around the fish ponds several seasonally inundated meadows, dry meadows and small marshes are located. These places, still with natural depressions, offer excellent conditions for birds breeding and feeding. One of the most important is Ostrovik meadow. Some conservation efforts, like sluice reparation, have been already done there. The meadow is attractive for rare Purple Heron, many waders as feeding habitat and for more duck species as breeding habitat.

Detailed Description with Project Activities

Fish pond system
Fish ponds are used for intensive fish production by fish farmers. One of the activities related to fish farming is the removal of marginal, coastal vegetation in ponds. The reedbeds in relatively good stage are still found on Pond No. 6 and 7. Those ponds offer very good breeding conditions for spoonbills, grey herons, ducks and grebes. The proposed aqua-environmental scheme should suggest and motivate the fish farmers to help find solution and co-operate with conservation efforts in order to fullfill the Project goals.

National Nature Reserve
After the privatization of fish ponds followed by intensive fish farming, the importance of National Nature Reserve in the close vicinity has increased substantially. Several thousand birds are regularly present there. Birds like Little Egret (8-14 pairs), Night Heron (40-80 pairs) and Cormorants (10-12 pairs) regularly breed on a larger island within the Reserve. Some 80-90% of all Black-necked Grebes nest there, along with Coot, gulls, Purple Heron, Bittern and Marsh Harrier. The water surface serves numerous ducks to rest on their migration. The reparation of the dyke and water inlet and outlet would help to maintain favourable water regime in National Nature Reserve.

Šianec meadow
There are meadows with the last old meanders, and big solitary trees, to the east of fish pond system. The depressions have until recently been filled with water all year round. Many water plant communities flourished there. In spring the place attracted numerous herons and ducks. The area is a hunting ground for Marsh Harrier and feeding habitat for Purple Heron. Other vicinity area hosts numerous passerines and Corncrake, one of the target species of the Project.
The Topoľový kanál channel now drains the area and meadows dry up quickly. One of the aims of the Project is to build a water gate on the channel to regulate water level and to revitalize old meanders of Cibavka stream.

Ostrovík meadow
One of the most valuable habitats in the close vicinity of the fish ponds is Ostrovik meadow. After the reparation of two sluices the meadow is properly managed with adequate water, so important for birds. The meadow is a feeding biotop for herons, night-herons, spoonbills, coot and ducks. If not mowed regularly, the meadow changes its character, slowly becoming a marsh. Some birds have alredy dissapeared as breeding species in the last decade from Ostrovík meadow. By controling the water regime, new possibilities for breeding birds would arise.
The meadow was threatened in the past by different sort of interests not in accordance with conservation efforts. Eventually, the SOS / Birdlife Slovakia has purchased an area of 80 ha.

Meadows south of Senné village
Wet meadows south of Senné village are important feeding area mainly for herons, and are important stopover for migrating species. Around the channel the valuable marsh has formed offering breeding opportunities. By building the sluice on a channel, more breeding conditions will be created in adjacent meadows as well.

Blatá meadow
The Blatá is a large meadow with depressions filled with water all year round. The area is drained off by two channels. In the past, the meadow was breeding area for Black-tailed Godwit and Short-eared Owls. Nowadays, the Blatá meadow is the only known roosting site of Cranes in Slovakia. The meadow has not been mowed for long time and appropriate management is needed to meet the requirements of target species. The purchased tractor will be used for the action.

Project Site SPA Medzibodrožie


The Medzibodrožie area has originated in Neogene era. At that time the whole Východoslovenská nížina lowland was formed. The rivers in the area form numerous meanders, oxbow lakes, marshland and moorland, characteristic for the lowland country. The early people have used the large flooded forests as a source of lumber, and after centuries some fragments of the landscape were slowly transformed into pasture. Nevertheless, big floods were still problem, and the agricultural production has developed only slowly and patchily. Despite many water regulation projects in last century, the large area of Medzibodrožie has still retained its nearly original pattern. In 1990 the Medzibodrožie was proclaimed the Protected Landscape Area and since 26th May 1993 the Ramsar wetland site.

Site description

Special Protection Area Medzibodrožie is situated in south-east corner of Slovakia, in the central part of Východoslovenská nížina lowland. It is a typical wetland type of habitat with diversity of plant associations and animal species with lowland character. The site has a high density of dead river arms, shallow wetlands, alluvial meadows, canals and rivers. The country is relatively rich with forest and flooded woods. Dominant habitats are intensively utilized as arable land, meadows and pastures. The area is mainly used for agricultural purposes. Medzibodrožie is considered to be one of the most important sites for water birds in Slovakia.

Detailed Description with Project Activities

The project site is located in close vicinity to Beša and Čičarovce villages. It includes a part of Bešiansky polder (dry basin for high water protection), Veľký les forest, meadows and pasture land by Čičarovce village. The dike of Latorica river is a border of project site on the south. A part of the site belongs in the protected landscape area Latorica. We can find meadows and pasture land with natural depressions, marshes but also sand dunes. The remnants of flooded forests are plumbless too, so the area is characteristic by various habitat types and communities of lowland nature.

The project goal is to heighten the ground water level and avoid the quick water run-off on the landscape. This is possible by building of 2 water gates in “Bešianský kanál” channel and 1 water gate in “Veľký kanál” channel. This way we obtain suitable habitats for breeding and feeding of birds and living of fishes in natural depressions. It won’t have any negative effect on extensive agriculture. There are already such experiences in Leles village in Medzibodrožie. We are going to contribute to restoration of livestock production an extensive cow-punching by restoration of degraded pasture land (mowing, mulching, bushes removing). Buying of small cattle herd should help to provide suitable habitat management.
© 2006