Oder Delta

Wild hub on a green crossroads

Oder Delta

Wild hub on a green crossroads

Oder Delta

Wild hub on a green crossroads

Oder Delta

Wild hub on a green crossroads

Oder Delta

Wild hub on a green crossroads

The Oder Delta, spreading between the border of Poland and Germany, is a unique region with a rich mosaic of large wild continental, marine and freshwater ecosystems.

It is strategically located on one of the ecological crossroads in Europe being one of the most exciting wild areas in north-central Europe. The vast natural areas are mainly taken care of by nature itself and wildlife has begun to thrive in more natural densities. The region stretches over more than 250,000 hectares, of which nearly 70,000 hectares are the open waters of the lagoon.

The Oder Delta is an important stop-over site for migrating water birds using the East Atlantic Flyway. The abandonment of agricultural lands happening during the last decades has benefitted rising populations of the white-tailed eagle now having the highest breeding density in the European Union, otter, beaver, salmon, sea trout and many other species.

Not far from Berlin and close to Szczecin and resorts along the Baltic coast, this wild landscape can create new sources of income and pride for the local people. A sustainable development combined with rewilding activities can secure these wild treasures of the Oder Delta so that they can serve as new economic opportunities for local people.


Rewilding vision

For each rewilding area we developed an inspiring vision that shows our ambition for the next ten years. Together with our local partners we work to make this vision a reality.

What are we doing here?

Enterprise networks supporting rewilding

The Oder Delta is becoming increasingly well-known as a rewilding area and prominent nature tourism destination. Rewilding Europe and local partners have started work on several pilot business projects here, based on the exploration of nature-based economic opportunities. A developing network of local wilderness guides, wildlife watching tours and hides, lodging and other nature-based enterprises is creating jobs and burgeoning support for rewilding. The eventual aim is to develop an alternative, sustainable and competitive model of land and sea use for local landowners, entrepreneurs and residents.

Efforts in tourism promotion, education and communication are also creating positive attitudes for a wilder delta and a wilder Europe. Growth in the local wildlife watching business is increasingly benefitting delta communities, with the first tourism packages offered from local outfitters via the European Safari Company.

Supporting wildlife comeback

Funded by the Krombacher Brewery Species Conservation Project, the Oder Delta team is working with partners to boost biodiversity in the delta by improving habitats. One of the Krombacher-funded projects in 2017 (now finished) saw DUH identify and protect suitable feeding habitats for the lesser spotted eagle in the delta’s Ueckermünde Heath area. In Germany this beautiful raptor is one of the rarest breeding bird species, with only about 100 breeding pairs left in the northeastern part of the country, most of them in the Oder Delta rewilding area and its surroundings. Nest protection shields were also installed to protect eagle nests against predation in order to boost breeding success.

Further funding in 2018 will be used to to improve habitat for grey seals and waterbirds in and around the Stettin Lagoon, a Natura 2000 site and Important Bird Area on the Polish side.

Restoring fish populations

Many streams and smaller rivers on the northeastern Baltic Sea coast of Germany are currently in very poor condition. The reintroduction of species (such as salmon, sturgeon and sea trout) here means that aquatic habitats urgently need to be improved.

The Rewilding Oder Delta team is now working to restore fish populations and fish migration in the Stettin Lagoon and associated rivers, in collaboration with local communities and the State Office for Agriculture and the Environment in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Activities, which focus on rivers in the Vorpommern-Greifswald district, include the rewilding of river banks, the restoration of natural hydrodynamics, the removal of obstacles to support fish migration, and the re-wetting of areas adjacent to waterways.

“Oder Delta is a wild jigsaw of habitats”

Suleika Suntken

Suleika Suntken
Team leader of Oder Delta

How would you characterise your rewilding area?
The Oder Delta is a wild and complex jigsaw of habitats that includes naturally flowing rivers, heathlands, deltas, marshes, vast reed beds, alluvial and riparian forests, wild grasslands, bogs, coastal dunes, sand beaches and the open sea. Here you can find animals such as the beaver, bison, wolf and moose. The delta is part of the East Atlantic Flyway and the number one hotspot for breeding white-tailed eagles in Europe.

What have the major achievements been in your rewilding area to date?
A collaborative network of NGOs and some very engaged tourism organisations has been formed. Land owners are becoming interested in our initiative too – the first models of cooperation have been developed. Nature and wilderness tourism is still in its infancy, but we’re working hard to make it happen.

What would you like to see achieved in your rewilding area in the next five years?
I hope to see a strong network of partners mutually leading the way forward in support of our overall vision. I hope that nature-based tourism, involving a strong network of local guides, attracts an increasing number of visitors, encouraging landowners to allow wildlife comeback and enabling local people to make a living from wilderness tourism. And I hope that local stakeholders will enjoy a new sense of pride in their rich and exciting natural heritage.

Our main achievements

Visit the area

The Oder Delta is a unique region rich with a large mosaic of land, marine and freshwater ecosystems which spreads across the border between Poland and Germany. Located on the edge of the Baltic Sea this ecological crossroad in Europe is one of the most exciting wild areas in north-central Europe.

Learn more

Image gallery

Team members

Ulrich Stöcker

Team leader Oder Delta (Germany)

Suleika Suntken

Team coordinator (temporarily on maternity leave)

Katrin Schikorr

Team coordinator (replacing temporarily Suleika Suntken)

Arthur Furdyna

Rewilding officer

Stefan Schwill

Rewilding officer

Partners


There are three main partners that we work with in this rewilding area: Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) in Germany, HOP Transnationales Netzwerk Odermündung e.V. (Germany & Poland) and Society of Friends of the Rivers Ina and Gowienica (Poland).

Currently, DUH coordinates all the work in the areas, with whom Rewilding Europe has signed cooperation agreements. Recently, a process has started to establish a new legal entity, called Rewilding Oder Delta, an association registered in the region with both German and Polish board members. This process will be completed in 2018 and this new entity will be come the preferential partner of Rewilding Europe.

A whole range of local partnerships has been established by the three main partners.

Contact

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