Plan of Protection Tasks and Plan of Nature Protection of Natura 2000 Areas

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1 Plan of Protection Tasks and Plan of Nature Protection of Natura 2000 Areas Białystok,

2 After the determination of Natura 2000 Ecological Network in Poland, it was necessary to develop a system of its effective protection. The basic document for the area of Natura 2000 is a plan of protection tasks. If there is a need of more detailed planning on this territory, a protection plan shall be developed for the whole or part of it. In Podlaskie Voivodeship, there are 18 areas of Natura 2000 network. Currently, works are being performed on establishing a plan of protection tasks for the following 15 areas: Valley of the Upper Narew River [Dolina Górnej Narwi] (PLB00007), Refugium in the Valley of the Upper Narew River [Ostoja w Dolinie Górnej Narwi] (PLH200010), Bunkers of the Brest Fortified Region [Schrony Brzeskiego Rejonu Umocnionego] (PLH200014), Suwałki Refugium [Ostoja Suwalska] (PLH200003), Jeleniewo (PLH ), Ravine Valley of the Narew River [Przełomowa Dolina Narwi] (PLB200008), Narew River Refugium [Ostoja Narwiańska] (PLH200024), Wizna bog [Bagno Wizna] (PLB200005), Sejny Lake District [Pojezierze Sejneńskie] PLH200007), Augustów Refugium [Ostoja Augustowska] (PLH200005), Valley of the Upper Nurzec River [Dolina Górnego Nurca] (PLB200004), Knyszyn Primeval Forest [Puszcza Knyszyńska] (PLB200003), Knyszyn Refugium [Ostoja Knyszyńska] (PLH200006), Refugium in the Valley of the Upper Nurzec River [Ostoja w Dolinie Górnego Nurca] (PLH200021), Valley of the Upper Rospuda River [Dolina Górnej Rospudy] (PLH200022). The plans are being prepared within the framework of a project subsidized by the European Social Fund as part of Priority V of the Protection and Environment Programme. Its main beneficiary is the General Directorate for Environmental Protection, and the co- 2

3 beneficiaries are Regional Directorates for Environmental Protection and 7 national parks. The Implementing Institution in this case is the Coordination Center for Environmental Projects 1. In order to develop the plans, applicable provisions were introduced in the Environmental Protection Act, saying that: for the area of Natura 2000, the supervisor of the area shall prepare a draft plan of protection tasks for the period of 10 years (the first draft shall be prepared within 6 years of the date of approval of the area by the European Commission as an area significant for the Community or the date of determination of the Special Protection Area) for the area of Natura 2000 or part of it, a protection plan (PP) may be prepared for 20 years 2. for the area of Natura 2000 or part of it overlapping with the national form of nature protection (a nature reserve, a national park or a landscape park), the protection plan concerning Natura 2000 may be included in the plan of protection of the park or reserve for a forest division located within the area of Natura 2000, the protection plan concerning Natura 2000 may be included in the forest management plan (the possibility is only theoretical, because the regulations concerning preparation of forest management plans were not adjusted to it). Example protection tasks may be in particular: 1) active protection or restoration of natural habitats or habitats of plant and animal species being objects of protection; 2) maintaining ecological corridors connecting Natura 2000 areas; 3) arrangement of objects and equipment serving the purpose of protection of Natura 2000 areas; 4) hydrographic conditions, including water management; 5) farming, forestry and fishery, including: 1 More information on the project can be found on the website: 2 The same document is prepared for protection of national parks, landscape parks and nature reserves. 3

4 a) directions of development of production environment, b) indication of the areas which should be afforested and areas excluded from afforestation, c) indication of inland surface flowing waters, in which the possibility of migration of fish and other water organisms should be maintained or restored; 6) conditions of development and use of the areas, including, if the need be, indication of: a) areas allocated for housing development, b) location of technological and transport infrastructure, c) location of tourist and educational infrastructure. The Minister competent for the environmental issues shall determine for the Natura 2000 area, by means of regulation: 1) the mode of preparing a plan of protection tasks and a protection plan 2) the scope of works necessary for preparation of a plan of protection tasks and a protection plan, 3) the mode of amending both plans guided by the necessity / need of protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species and their habitats, taking into consideration their condition and the conditions for social and economic development of the area covered by the plan of protection tasks or protection plan. The plan of protection tasks and plan of protection of Natura 2000 area shall include: 1) description of the area s boundaries and a map of the area of Natura 2000; 2) identification of existing and potential threats to preservation of the proper condition protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species and their habitats being the objects of protection; 3) indications to changes in the existing studies of determinants and directions of spatial development of communes, local plans of spatial development, spatial development plans in voivodeships and spatial development plans of internal sea waters, territorial sea and exclusive economic zone concerning the elimination or reduction of internal or external threats if they are necessary to maintain or restore proper level of protection of natural 4

5 habitats as well as plant and animal species for which the area of Natura 2000 was established. Apart from that, the plan of protection tasks shall include: 1) the goals of protection tasks; 2) determination of protection tasks with indication of the entities responsible for their performance and the areas of their implementation, including, in particular, activities concerning: a) active protection of natural habitats, as well as plant and animal species and their habitats b) monitoring the condition of the objects of protection and monitoring the achievement of the goals referred to in item 1, c) completion of knowledge on the objects of protection and determinants for their protection; 3) determining the time of preparing a protection plan for a part or the whole of the area should the need arise. The plan of protection of Natura 2000 area shall also include: 1) determination of conditions of preservation or restoration of the proper level of protection of Natura 2000 area, maintenance of integrity of Natura 2000 area and a cohesive network of Natura 2000 areas, in particular referring to: a) other forms of nature protection, overlapping with the area of Natura 2000, b) spatial development, including in particular possible location of housing areas without any harm to the area of Natura 2000, technological and transport infrastructure, tourist and educational infrastructure, as well as areas which should be afforested and areas excluded from afforestation, c) management of sea areas, d) water management, e) farming, forestry and fishery, c) inland surface flowing waters, in which the possibility of migration of fish and other water organisms should be maintained or restored; 2) determination of protection tasks for maintenance or restoration or the proper level of protection of objects of protection in the area of Natura 2000, with indication of entities responsible for their performance; 3) indices of proper protection of natural habitats or plant and animal species and their habitats being the objects of protection; 5

6 4) determination of the ways of monitoring the performance of protection tasks and their effects; 5) determination of the ways of monitoring protection of natural habitats or plant and animal species and their habitats being the objects of protection. The scope of works necessary for preparation of a plan of protection tasks for the area shall include: 1) description of the boundaries of the area in the form of vector information layer, in a coordinate system referred to in Article 3 item 4 of the Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 8 th August 2000 on the National Spatial Reference System (Journal of Laws Dz. U. No. 70, item 821); 2) gathering, verification and complementation of information concerning the area and objects of protection, significant for protection, including information on: a) geographical, natural, social, economic and cultural conditions, directions of social and economic development as well as determinants resulting from the existing forms of nature protection other than the area and the goals of protection of the area, b) occurrence of objects of protection and description of their condition, threats, requirements and possibilities of protection, c) existing and designed plans, studies of conditions and directions of spatial development of communes, strategies, and programmes concerning the area or potentially affecting it; 3) assessment of the condition of protection of the objects of protection carried out on the basis of available information and necessary field research supplementing the inventory, qualitative descriptions or recognition of conditions of functioning of the objects of protection done by joint assessment of the condition of protection of natural habitats and species: a) with reference to natural habitats: determination of the parameter of surface and distribution of the natural habitat in the area, with consideration of its fragmentation, tendencies in the occurring changes and fragmentation of particular allotments of the natural habitat, determination of the parameter of structure of particular allotments of the natural habitat, with consideration of the level of protection of its typical species and the ecological processes occurring in that allotment, in comparison 6

7 to the structure and processes typical for the proper level of protection of the habitat, assessment of the parameter of chances of preserving the natural habitat in the future b) with reference to species: determination of the parameter of condition of the population, including the size and distribution of the species within the area, as well as consideration of characteristics of the species population, specific for the given population of the species, determination of the parameter of habitat of the species, with consideration of the size and quality of particular allotments of the species habitat in comparison to the characteristics typical for the proper condition of protection, assessment of the parameter of chances of preserving the species in the future; 4) assessment of existing and potential threats to preservation or achievement of proper condition of the object of protection, with consideration of the assessment referred to in item 3 and assessment of probable directions of changes of natural, social and economic conditions and their potential impact on the parameters; 5) determination of goals of protection tasks to be achieved within the period for which the plan of protection tasks is prepared, allowing for monitoring and verification of their achievement, with consideration of: a) the necessity to maintain the proper level of protection, liquidation, reduction of existing or potential threats to the object of protection or prevention of such if the present condition of the objects of protection in the area was assessed as proper, b) the need to achieve the proper level of protection, necessity of liquidation, reduction of existing or potential threats being the cause of the insufficient level of protection of the object of protection or prevention of such if the present condition of the objects of protection in the area was assessed as unsatisfactory or bad, c) the necessity to complement knowledge on the object of protection and the necessity of liquidation, reduction of threats to the object of protection or prevention of such if the condition of the object of protection cannot be assessed; 7

8 6) determination of protective actions resulting from the established goals of protective actions, including indication of: a) protective actions ensuring monitoring the achievement of the goals of protective actions, especially monitoring the assumed parameters of the level of protection of the objects of protection, b) the scope of works to be performed, c) the territory or place of performance, d) the time and frequency of performance, e) the entity responsible for performance and monitoring, f) estimated costs of performance of the activities, f) technical conditions for performance of the activities, h) the entities whose cooperation at the realization of protective actions is necessary; 7) on the basis of analysis of binding studies of conditions and directions of spatial development of communes, determination of local plans of spatial development of voivodeships and plans of spatial development of internal sea waters, territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone, indications to change the studies or plans whose realization would infringe or cause the risk of infringement of the prohibition referred to in Article 33 of the Act; 8) assessment of the need to prepare a protection plan for a part or the whole of the area and determination of the time of its preparation, with consideration of the necessity to: a) inventory or study the objects of protection or b) plan the protection for the period of 20 years or c) normalize the issues included in the protection plan and not included in the plan of protection tasks or d) change the boundaries of the area or the object of protection; 9) preparing documentation for the draft plan of protection tasks in the electronic form, developed in the form of text description, tables, graphic representations, maps and databases, including digital information layers. Because of the social character of planning, the beginning of preparation of the draft plan should be preceded by the preparing party informing (i.e. announcing the beginning of preparation of the draft plan, receiving and considering applications and notes and announcing the preparation of the plan) all the parties potentially interested in participation in the planning 8

9 process: local government bodies, the State Forests, entities responsible for water management in catchments and managing sea areas as well as non-governmental organizations interested in environmental protection whose fields of activity include the area covered by the draft plan 3. The preparing body shall ensure the opportunity of participation of the society, on the conditions and in the mode stipulated in the Act of 3 rd October 2008 on the Provision of Information on the Environment and its Protection, Public Participation in Environmental Protection and Environmental Impact Assessments, in proceedings whose object is preparation of a project. The Regional Director for Environmental Protection shall establish, by way of a bill in the form of regulation, a plan of protection tasks for the area of Natura 2000, guided by the necessity of preservation and restoration to the proper level of protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species for whose protection the area of Natura 2000 was established. The plan of protection tasks may be changed if it results from the needs of protection of those natural habitats or plant and animal species. The plan of protection tasks for the area of Natura 2000 located on the territory of more than one voivodeship shall be established by way of a bill in the form of regulation, jointly by all the Regional Directors for Environmental Protection on whose territories the parts of the area are located. A bill in the form of regulation of a Regional Director for Environmental Protection shall no longer be binding in the case of establishing a protection plan. The basic legal regulations concerning the planning of protection of Natura 2000 areas in Poland are introduced by the Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 30 th March 2005 on the mode and scope of developing a protection plan for the Natura 2000 area (Journal of Laws Dz. U. No. 61, item 549), issued pursuant to Article 30 section 1 of the Environmental Protection Act of 16 th April 2004 (Journal of Laws Dz. U. No. 92, item 880). The regulation stipulates: the mode of preparation of a draft of environment protection plan for an area, its scope and the ways of protection of natural habitats and plant and animal species for whose protection the areas of Natura 2000 are established 4. The plan shall be established by the minister competent for the issues of the environment, by way of a regulation, for 20 years, guided by the necessity of preservation and restoration to 3 Ochrona przyrody po europejsku, ed. A. Jermaczek, Świebodzin 2006, p Ochrona przyrody po europejsku, op.cit.,

10 the proper level of protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species for whose protection the area of Natura 2000 was established. The protection plan may be changed if it results from the needs of protection of the natural habitats and plant and animal species for which the Natura 2000 area was established. The draft plan shall be prepared by the entity supervising the area 5. It takes into account the ecological properties of natural habitats and plant and animal species for whose protection the area was established, using the plans of environmental protection covering the area of Natura 2000, established for a national park, nature reserve and landscape park, as well as plans of forest management 6. Just like in the case of plan of protection tasks, the entity preparing the draft shall be obliged to inform the interested persons and institutions, operating in the areas of natural habitats and habitats of the species for whose protection the area of Natura 2000 was established of the possibility of participation in the works connected with preparation of the draft. The draft plan of protection for the area of Natura 2000 or part of it shall be approved by: 1) the director of the Regional Directorate of the State Forests if the area of Natura 2000 covers an area managed by The State Forests National Forest Holding; 2) the director of the Maritime Office if the area of Natura 2000 covers a sea area. There are the following methods of protection: 1) Prevention of biotic and abiotic threats 2) Preservation of hydrographic conditions proper for natural habitats and improvement of wrong ones 3) Elimination of strange plant and animal species constituting a threat to local species 4) Creating favourable conditions for existence and development of plant and animal species 5) Consideration of protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species in economy, particularly in forestry, agriculture and fishery 6) Initiating regeneration processes of destroyed vegetation 7) Maintenance of proper species composition in meadow ecosystems by means of mowing, grazing and removal of trees and shrubs 5 B. Wierzbowski, B. Rakoczy, Prawo ochrony środowiska. Zagadnienia podstawowe, Warszawa 2010, p J. Wiśniewski, D.J. Gwiazdowicz, Ochrona przyrody, Poznań 2009, pp

11 8) Renaturization and restoration of natural habitats and habitats of plant and animal species 9) Reintroduction of plant and animal species 10) Creation and maintenance of corridors allowing for migration of animals 11) Regulation of sizes of plant and animal populations in order to keep sustainability among the species being the objects of protection in the areas of Natura ) Allowing natural environmental processes in order for preserving natural habitats or habitats of plants and animals in proper condition of protection of the habitat or species or for restoring their proper condition 13) Performance of protective procedures aimed at restoration and preservation of proper condition of plant and animal protection 14) Restoration and preservation of proper species composition of tree stands suited to the type of habitat 15) Conducting agricultural activity with the methods favourable for protection of natural habitats as well as plant and animal species. The first and most important element of each plan of protection of Natura 2000 areas should be the description and evaluation of existing and potential internal and external threats as well as determination of the ways of elimination or reduction of those threats and their effects 7. For draft studies of conditions and directions of spatial development of communes, local plans of spatial development, spatial development plans in voivodeships and spatial development plans of internal sea waters, territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone concerning the existing or designed area of Natura 2000, consultations with the Regional Director for Environmental Protection shall be necessary as regards establishment of the plans which might have significant negative impact on the area of Natura Summary We hope that plans for Podlaskie Voivodeship will be prepared in the most beneficial way both for people and for the environment and that they will be an effective tool for environmental protection management. It would be ideal if Natura 2000 areas were treated as 7 Ochrona przyrody po europejsku, op. cit, p

12 an impulse for economic development, not as its inhibitor. Public consultations influencing the awareness of the residents of Natura 2000 areas should have a positive result. Bibliography Literature selection Ochrona przyrody po europejsku, ed. A. Jermaczek, Świebodzin Wierzbowski B., Rakoczy B., Prawo ochrony środowiska. Zagadnienia podstawowe, Warszawa Wiśniewski J., Gwiazdowicz D.J., Ochrona przyrody, Poznań Legal acts selection Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 17 th February 2010 on preparing a draft of protection plan for Natura 2000 area Regulation of the Minister of Environment of 30 th March 2005 concerning the mode and scope of developing a protection plan for the Natura 2000 area Regulation of the Council of Ministers of 8 th August 2000 on the National Spatial Reference System Environmental Protection Act of 16 th April 2004 Act of 3 rd October 2008 on the Provision of Information on the Environment and its Protection, Public Participation in Environmental Protection and Environmental Impact Assessments in proceedings whose object is preparation of a project Websites selection 12

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