Project acronym: LIVEDRAVA
Project reference: LIFE11 NAT/SI/000882
Year of financing: 2011
Priority area: Nature & Biodiversity
Project title (SL): Obnova rečnega ekosistema nižinskega dela Drave v Sloveniji
Coordinating beneficiary: DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia

Almost the entire project area is located on a plain called ‘Dravska raven’ in northeast Slovenia. The Drava River is a designated Natura 2000 site and is home to eight habitat types and more than 10 protected fauna species listed in Annex I and Annex II of the Habitats Directive. However, the natural habitats and dependent species have been deteriorating for decades. The main reason for this has been the construction of hydro-power plants in the 1960s and 70s, which caused enormous changes in the natural dynamics of the river. Allied to human pressure from uncontrolled recreational activities, winter hunting and greater public access to the most sensitive areas, this had led to the widespread decline and even regional extinction of bird populations associated with riverine habitats.

The project aims to preserve and enlarge populations of species listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive (birds typical for lowland rivers) and Annex II of the Habitats Directive (fishes and beetles) by managing alluvial forest habitats (Annex I, Habitats Directive) along the Lower Drava River in Slovenia. The project also aims to improve cooperation between the most important stakeholders along the river and to inform the public about the natural value of these Natura 2000 sites and the importance of their conservation. Specific objectives include:

    • Transformation of 61 ha of former wastewater basins into a semi-natural wetland as a stopover site for migrating birds (Ormoz Basins);
    • Habitat management of forest stands to improve the status of around 15 ha of alluvial forests;
    • Establishment of a grazing system;
    • Removal of illegally built fishing and hunting platforms;
    • Creation of a new artificial breeding island;
    • Opening up and restoration of three side arms of the Drava River (total length of 1.5 km);
    • Preparation of the river banks to allow breeding by the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and sand martin (Riparia riparia);
    • Management of gravel banks; and
    • A reduction of human disturbance.

Expected results
The main quantified expected results are:

  • Population increase (and breeding success) of the little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius; 50% increase), sand martin (50-100% increase), common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos; 15% increase), kingfisher and white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) (30% increase);
  • Colonisation of new sites and population increase of the hermit beetle (Osmoderma eremita), beetle (Graphoderus bilineatus), Mudminnow (Umbra krameri) and Asp (Aspius aspius);
  • Enhancement of the habitat quality in 15 ha of priority alluvial forests;
  • Increase of the breeding population of flagship species, such as the common tern (Sterna hirundo);
  • Recovery of 10 000-15 000 wintering individuals (e.g. geese roost). In this way, the SPA SI5000011 Drava will again meet IBA/SPA criteria A4iii, B1v and C4 (at least 20 000 waterbirds on a regular basis);
  • Colonisation of the area by several new breeding species included in Annex I of the Birds Directive;
  • A tenfold increase of the breeding population of globally near-threatened ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca); and
  • Permanent assignment of the nature reserve to the conservation of targeted waterbird species; the reserve will be able to offer versatile, high-quality public services, whilst the landscape park will emphasise the natural value of one of the most preserved parts of riverine landscape along the Drava River with promotion of nature-friendly land uses and activities.

Coordinator: DOPPS – BirdLife Slovenia
Partners: VGB Maribor d.o.o.; DRAVA Vodnogospodarsko podjetje Ptuj, d.d.; Mestna občina Ptuj (Urban Municipality of Ptuj)
Duration: 01-SEP-2012 to 31-DEC-2017
Total budget: 4,409,483.00 €
EU contribution: 2,188,741.00 €