Invasive Species Management
Weed harvesting is an efficient method to eliminate invasive species and it is extensively used in many countries. Practically it is the only certified measure that can reduce the species competing with various protected species without using chemical compounds (herbicides), dredging or draining the wetlands. Harvesting the excess aquatic plants the biomass quantity of invasive species and those competitive for the protected species is reduced under the critical value. Also, the amount of organic matter decreases and the clogging rate is reduced. Thus, the protected habitats of wetlands are maintained for a long period of time, eliminating the threats induced by eutrophication and invasive aquatic species.
Weed harvesting procedure has never been used before in Romania and the project will prove the efficiency of this method in the social – economic and ecological context of wetlands along the Danube River and not only. The harvesting sessions will take place avoiding nesting periods, seeds germination, etc., so that won’t get endanger the protected species. The implementation of this action will provide favorable habitats for wintering and feeding for more than 500 pygmy cormorants and secondary habitats for 12 others protected species (e.q. Aythya nyroca). The method will be applied within other protected areas first disseminating the action plan to all SPAs managers with wetlands and watershed management authorities and after will be organized 2 weed harvesting field trips.
In the first phase, the operating system of the water weed harvester machine will be evaluated in order to not endanger species and habitats of Community interest and thus will be established the safety area limits for functioning. The activity includes analyses of effects of harvesting machines on protected amphibian, reptiles’ habitats and plant species. In the second stage of the action a harvesting session will be done on a 60 ha area to reduce the aquatic biomass. For the 3rd phase there will be organized weed harvesting field trips with participation of SPAs managers of Natura 2000 in order to promote benefits of using of this type of equipment in other protected area.
The weed harvester equipment (water weed harvester, GPS and sonar, trailer, car transporter, conveyor, safety equipment) will be acquired as one and is produced only at request being designed to meet the project area needs.
In the project will be implemented an early detection system for aquatic invasions in accordance to the SEBI 2010 indicators (Streamlining European 2010 Biodiversity Indicators) and the Towards EU strategy on IAS strategy.
- In order to determine the weed harvesting safety area (limits, depths, bottom structure) it will be performed bathymetric mapping and hydrological characteristics of wetlands. The mapping session will be performed using high-performance cartographic methods, sub-metric GPS. Bottom bathymetry will be performed using GPS and sonar measurements. The mapping actions will be performed in situ in ROSPA0026 (especially in Gurile Nerei, Calinovat Island, Divici, Pojejena, Moldova Nou[, Liborajdea, Cozla).
- Weed harvesting sessions in Calinovat, Divivi, Pojejena, Susca, Moldova Noua, Liuborajdea. The activity will be organized in 4 sessions in order to reduce the biomass especially, to eliminate the aquatic invasive species. The main aim is to eliminate the excessive invasive aquatic species, without endangering protected species or habitats.
- Weed harvesting trips with other Natura 2000 administrators will be performed in two sessions along Danube River. During each field trip, SPAs managers will be trained on “learning by doing” experiences and the efficiency of the applied method will be demonstrated to them in order to transfer it to the areas where they work in.
The Warning System on Aquatic Invasions (IAS – Invasive aquatic species) components:
- IAS assessment – Species, phenology, invasion magnitude, invasion ways.
- Park administrators, wildlife managers and fishermen training.
- Toolkit for invasive species identification.
- Webpage for reporting invasive species.