Project areas

Lower Saxony

The occurrence of Corncrakes in the Special Protection Area Unterelbe has been confirmed every year in the last 40 years. In addition to this continuity of settlement, some evidence for breeding through observation of chick-leading females has to be highlighted (e.g.: 17–20, or at least 16 different families in 1999 and 2000). The breeding population ranged from 13 to 77 between 1998 and 2009. Only in three, most unfavourable years (2001, 2004, 2005), less than 20 breeding territories were counted. In most years more than 40 territories were detected. This makes the Special Protection Area Unterelbe one of the few annually populated areas in Lower Saxony. It regularly accounts for a quarter of the national Corncrake population.

The Special Protection Area Unterelbe is one of the most important breeding areas for the Black-tailed Godwit in Lower Saxony. Since the early 1980s the breeding population went down from about 1,000 breeding pairs to 230 in 2017. Without the numerous measures taken for meadow bird conservation, it would probably have been much worse. Only grassland areas that were managed with regard to nature conservation are still populated. Accordingly, much remains to be done to restore a favourable conservation status for the Black-tailed Godwit.

Since these two focus species occur in the project area with a viable population, the conditions for the implementation of measures in this project area are particularly favourable. Here, experiences from other projects can be used: Previous conservation measures of the federal state, like the "Conservation Programme Unterelbe" and the LIFE project "Corncrake Unterelbe" already show clear signs of success.