Restoration of Natural Habitats of the Curonian Lagoon’s Coastal Zone in Rusne Island
Area of Rusne Island on the Nemunas River is 45 km2. It has 1800 inhabitants. Polders’ system with many watercourses and ditches is installed almost in all island. Open polder meadow landscape is favourable for breeding and roosting of many birds, including globally (like great snipe Gallinago media, corncrake Crex crex, aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola) and at European level (black-tailed godwit Llimosa limosa) endangered species. However Rusne meadows became unused after a collective farming has collapsed, and meadows degradation process has begun. New farmers often don’t have enough economical resources, theoretical ant practical knowledge about farming. One of the first initiatives taken was SGP project LIT/03/07 on introduction of the animal grazing in the island. Facing need to upscale activities a new project was initiated.

The project aims to firm up and to upscale sustainable agricultural activities favourable for the birds in Rusne Island, e.i. to motivate local farmers to graze and hay meadows in line with the nature management requirements.

During the project additional 18 beef and milk cattle will be purchased, and local farmers will be compensated for the crossbreeding of their cattle. It is expected that 120 units of livestock will be introduced in the island by the end of the project. To reduce adverse impact of the growing heard an additional manure yard of the 50t capacity will be installed for the common use. Agricultural machinery for mowing and pastoral will be purchased as well. Project also involves capacity training workshops for farmers on sustainable agriculture and application of the agro-environmental measures. Project also involves active dissemination of the information and initiation of the dialogue with the state institutions on nature management policies.
The project is co-financed by international project “Rehabilitation of the Baltic Coastal Lagoon Habitat Complex” funded by EU LIFE NATURE program. This project was based on the experience gained by SGP project LIT/03/07.
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Project Snapshot

Rusne Fund for Nature
Area Of Work:
Grant Amount:
US$ 39,370.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 69,755.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 4,690.00
Project Number:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
A heard of the beeef cattle will be increased (up to 120 units). The manure yard will be installed as well, so the negative impact to the ground and surface water will not appear. The purchased special agricultural equipment will enable NGO and local farmers more effectively involve in nature-management activities. Therefore the capacities to implement nature management activities (in particularly grazing, hey making and cutting of shrubs) and will be increased. Local farmers and stakeholders will receive training on application of the nature management measures, and possible state compensations for the involvement to the nature management schemes.
Policy Impact
A special project site’s visit for the high-level officials form the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry f Environment will be organized. It will help to initiate a dialogue on the changes of the policies in the area of ago-environmental measures’ application.
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