A team of the Donau-Auen National park, Austria visited the Erebe and Veneki islands, Hungary on April 26th. The visit was hosted by the experts from the Fertö Hansag Nature Park Directorate (FHNPD).
The team of FHNPD had prepared detailed plans and maps and the Austrian experts had the chance to visit the project sites, together with the Hungarian hydro engineers to discuss the potential outcome and improvement of the provided modifications before the start of the reconstruction work. Additionally, the Hungarian team was invited to visit the Donau-Auen National Park to check the Austrian experience with similar hydrological measures.
The visit was very timely, as the action is still in a planning phase and the construction works are expected to start at the beginning of 2023.
The Erebe islands form a large complex of 6 islands of approximately 120 ha, covered by (semi)natural softwood forest stands as well as poplar plantations, placed in categories B and C in the WILDisland inventory.
FHNPD is using a concept elaborated within the frame of the former Interreg DANUBEparksCONNECTED project to develop a detailed technical plan for the re-opening of the Danube side-arm, including all permissions for the optimization of the navigation infrastructure and removal of vegetation and sediments within the side branch system.
The technical measures currently suggested include the partial opening of the embarkment at key points to improve the water inflow into the system and dredging in the upper part of the side branch to further raise the connectivity with the Danube.
This will result in the restoration of an island complex including 6 islands, all of high quality and/or potential for softwood forests (approx. 120 ha), a Danube side-arm reconnection. We expect that these measures will restore 7,172 m of waterbodies and improve the morphology on 111 ha.
In addition to that, the Erebe islands provide good conditions for the development of natural softwood forests. The main negative impact results from invasive alien tree species (Acer negundo). This is why the LIFE WILDisland provides for measures to combat this species on both Erebe and the nearby Veneki island complexes.
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