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Intermittent Cerknica Lake

Slovenia is very rich in karstic landscape. Its turloughs (intermittent lakes) are listed in Annex I of the Habitat Directive and include Cerknica Lake, the largest turlough in Europe. Cerknica has a flood area that can reach up to 29 km2 in its aquatic phase. The water drains through underground caves or sinks through swallow holes in the bottom of the lake. In the terrestrial phase the bottom consists of different habitat types that are favourable for the nesting of endangered bird species listed in Annex II and for amphibians or butterflies.

Steps have been taken in the past to improve the lake’s drainage and to prolong the aquatic phase, resulting in changes to the natural habitats. In the past few decades management of wet grasslands by farmers has declined due to the poor quality of the hay, also contributing to habitat change. The local community, however, has recently established Regional Park that extends over 220 km2. Cerknica Lake is its central focus and has been proposed as a NATURA 2000 site. 

Project Objectives
The goal of the project is to ensure long-term favourable conditions for the conservation of turloughs and other endangered habitat types. The main focus is to restore watercourses that had been levelled in order to ensure faster outflow of water. The purpose of this work is to prolong the drainage time and to hold back the water in the driest summer months. Raising the level of groundwater, particularly on the marches and close to riverbeds or watercourses, is an important factor in conserving endangered habitat types and species. In addition, abandoned wet grasslands, suitable habitats for corncrake, will be purchased, mowed and mulched, and young trees will be cut.
The Notranjsko Regional Park, beneficiary of the project, will prepare the required technical plans for the restoration of all watercourses in the lake. It will raise awareness of nature-friendly farming and agricultural policy and highlight the positive objectives of nature protection. The project marks the beginning of the long-term restoration of former watercourses, and the research of natural processes.

Notranjski Regijski Park
Tabor 41
1380  Cerknica
Slovenia Slovenija
Project Manager: Leon KEBE
Tel: +386 1 70 90 626
Fax: +386 1 70 90 633

Project Partners
Biotechnical Faculty - Department of Biology, Slovenia
Municipality of Cerknica, Slovenia
Inženiring za vode d.o.o., Slovenia

Project website (slovenian)

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