A 10-year vision
The Wild Hub along the Green Highways of Europe – Making the Oder Delta a wilder place. For the benefit of nature and people.
The Oder Delta area located on the Baltic coast in Poland and Germany is a unique region with a rich mosaic of large wild continental, marine and freshwater ecosystems. It is strategically located on one of the ecological crossroads in Europe.
The Oder Delta is a region where the return of nature creates new sources of income and pride. Seven charismatic species – the Big Seven of the Oder Delta – serve as the main attractions for guests: white-tailed eagle, European bison, beaver, elk, wolf, Atlantic sturgeon and grey seal.
Our vision for 2025:
A new wilder landscape is beginning to take shape in front of our eyes where wildlife is visible also in daytime and allowed to play its key ecological role again with minimum human intervention.
The flooding of former polders along the Peene River on the German side has created exciting stretches of new nature – “The Amazon of the North” – with rich birdlife, otters and beavers, even at the outskirts of towns like Anklam. Both Germany and Poland have recognised the immense value of the area and set aside two thirds of all land and water for nature conservation and rewilding purpose.
Biodiversity has increased with good populations of elk, wolf, beaver, otter, red deer, grey seal, salmon, sturgeon and many other native fish species. The population of harbour porpoise in the Pomeranian Bay is increasing again. Significant and growing herds of European bison inhabit several areas in the region. White-tailed eagle, lesser spotted eagle, osprey, white stork, black stork, eagle owl, Eurasian crane, aquatic warbler, whiskered tern, white-winged tern, black-winged stilt, great snipe, three harrier species and many other birds have stable populations in the Oder Delta region.
From the cultural centres of Berlin and Szczecin guests from all over Europe and beyond visit the Oder Delta. Especially the Big Seven attract people during every month of the year. During winter when the holiday beaches are abandoned, people track wolves, watch small groups of elk feeding on willows in the snow-covered fields. People enjoy watching how white-tailed eagles gather to hunt ducks around the still open waters of the ice covered lagoon. European Bison are spotted in the forests and meadows around the lagoon. After many years of absence grey seals once again deliver their white-coated pups on small islets in the Pomeranian Bay. In October-November guests also travel to the smaller rivers and streams to experience how salmon, sea trout and sturgeon return to their spawning grounds.
In the summer evenings, when the wind from the sea has dropped and the waters mirror every detail along their edges, guests gather to experience how beavers collect fresh branches of shrubs and trees for feeding or building their lodges. Then it is also the time to see semi-wild Konik horses and Tauros cattle with their new-born foals and calves roaming the lush, green meadows.
Building on the rewilding successes along the Peene River, Anklamer Stadtbruch and Skoszewskie Meadows, pilot areas showcase how wild European bison, semi-wild Konik horses and other large herbivores are able to maintain open landscapes and how they can coexist with the increased populations of wolves. At the same time the herbivores serve – through their life-cycle of life and death – as an important food source for scavengers in the area, such as eagles, raven, wild boar and others.
Landowners are enthusiastic since rewilding has attracted guests generating new income. Hunting associations adopt new and less disturbing hunting methods and guide wildlife watching tours. Areas with no-take zones are created and have become sanctuaries for wildlife.
Fishermen have voluntarily reduced or seasonally stopped fishing in the most important spawning and migration areas in the lagoon, generating a boom in fish numbers. They have extended their businesses as fish guides and are educating people about the migration routes of fish. Fishermen are not the only ones happy, the waters of the lagoon attract different birds and with them birdwatchers!
Local people living around the lagoon have opened new B&B’s, small hotels and restaurants serving fish specialities from the delta and the Pomeranian Bay together with vegetables from the gardens and fields, berries and mushrooms from the forests, and meat from free ranging cattle and game.
The Oder Delta has become a symbol for ‘life quality’ – both for people and nature.