Pick of the German Week 07/2000........the future of the Wadden Sea National Park....Yellow-billed Loon in the Bodensee.....migration continues

The Red Kite Milvus milvus
German Bird of the Year 2000

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Kiel, 08.02.2000. At a press conference in the Schleswig-Holstein provincial capital Kiel the nature protection organisations BUND, NABU and WWF called for more prominence for environmental protection in politics, clear progress in climate protection and a consistent implementation of European nature protection guidelines. Among the most important future aims of environmental politics in the province were comprehensive preventative measures against environmental catastrophes in coastal waters, the practical implementation of the new National Park Law and the reinforcement of the national park service personnel.

The declared environmental policies of the conservative (CDU) and liberal (FDP) parties, in the event of a defeat of the ruling social-democrat (SPD) provincial government in the regional elections tomorrow, drew sharp criticism. The opposition parties have announced, in the event of an election victory, the dissolution of the Environment Ministry and Environmental Academy, repeal of the new National Park Law, a watering-down of the provincial nature protection ordinances and a so-called '10 year moratorium' in environmental protection. "This is a direct step back into the environmental Stone Age" said the chairpersons Dr. Angelika Zahrnt (Chairperson BUND), Jochen Flasbarth (President of NABU and Dr. Georg Schwede (German Head of the WWF)..

The organisations expected all political parties to take the future tasks and challenges of environmental protection seriously. It's high time to start competing for the best, and not the worst, nature protection policy. They called on all members of the electorate to consider the environmental stance of the contesting parties when casting their votes.

(Detailed information @ NABU SH & Environment Ministry click: Organisationen / NGOs / BUND) or @ WWF Germany


One of the most important contributions in politics over the few next years is the inclusion of binding environmental aims in the overall policy of the provincial government and administration. To this end the current declarations of intent and individual ordinances should be brought together in a sustainability plan. "Environment and nature protection is not an individual hobby, but serves rather the interests of the public, and as such must be a working maxim of the whole provincial government." stated Dr. Angelika Zahrnt, federal chairperson of BUND (Bund fuer Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland).

The nature protection organisations await a consistent implementation of the European nature protection guidelines over the next few years. "Protected habitats and bird sanctuaries are after all an enrichment and not a burden for Schleswig-Holstein. This is true not only for the preservation of the provinces' natural treasures but also particularly for the financial perspectives – only in this way can we guarantee that grants from the European Union are available for rural areas" said Angelika Zahrnt.

In the field of climate protection unambiguous improvements were called for. "Consistent development of renewable energy and possibilities for energy saving are the watchwords," said Jochen Flasbarth, NABU President. "The decisive roles in future energy production must be filled above all by solar technology and the production of bio-gases. In this connection we judge such maxi-technological projects as the Fehmarn Belt Bridge very critically. Support for the ecology tax is also decisive for climate protection and in addition, secures jobs."

Jochen Flasbarth also identifies the vital requirement for nature protection to reach a wider public in the future . "Only in this way can our nature protection measures flourish. A good example here are our regional centres. After a successful start in the Eider-Treene-Sorge Depression and the Holmer Siel, we must now open new centres at Geltinger Birk, on the Schaalsee and on the River Elbe."

"The province has done a great deal for the Wadden Sea with the foundation of the National Park and the recent enhancements to the National Park Law. Now we must make further progress by reaching acceptable agreements between all affected parties; for example protection of the Shelduck or an agreement on nature-friendly commercial fishing," says Dr. Georg Schwede, Head of WWF Germany. The National Park staff must be reinforced and only ecologically-friendly tourism should be encouraged. Severely threatened species such as Little Tern and ? Seal (Halichoerus grypus) must be rescued from local extinction.

The coasts (Baltic and North Sea) of the province are continually threatened by wave erosion and environmental catastrophes. Dr. Schwede demands from the Schleswig-Holstein government "the permanent stationing of an powerful emergency seagoing tug, a full reorganisation of the Coastguard (coastal watch), an improver co-operation with Denmark and a joint operations room of the 3 Wadden Sea states on the North Sea (Denmark, Germany and Holland). This is the only way to avoid an 'ERIKA' catastrophe for the Wadden Sea National Park."

Background: No backsliding into an environmental Stone Age!

A joint statement by the major German nature protection organisations immediately before a regional election is unusual. It is however urgently necessary. Although BUND, NABU and WWF are dissatisfied with some points in the environment politics of the current 'red-green' governing coalition, the announced policies of the opposition challengers give cause for concern. A whole list of up till now ignored policy statements make this provincial election the first in the history of the Federal Republic where a massive retreat in nature and environmental protection has been announced in advance. "The successes that have been achieved over the years for nature and the environment in the province must not be reversed, but rather consistently built on," demand the nature organisations.

The BUND, NABU and WWF therefore warn specifically against:

* A 10-year environmental moratorium as announced by the CDU presidential candidate Volker Ruehe *Dissolution of the Environment Ministry and its absorption in the Agricultural Ministry *Repeal of the new National Park Law and thereby the total waste of 3 years of hard discussion – results could be in compromise with almost all affected groupings *Weakening of the progressive provincial Nature Protection Law. Through the passage of this law nature protection gained a legal position which it had sorely missed, and led to painful defeats in the past *Cessation of funds for the Stiftung Naturschutz (a nature organisation concerned with creation of new reserves); after so much success in restoring areas to nature with sufficient compensation for landowners *Dissolution of the Schleswig-Holstein Environmental Academy which has done so much for the acceptability and development of nature and environment protection – and provision of support for better understanding between environmentalists and land-users *Dissolution of the position of honorary provincial nature protection officer; an important point of liaison between the administration, nature organisations and the citizen *an end to the strategy of ecologically-tolerable tourism; this is the only way to preserve tourism as an important source of income without causing more damage to the

The introduction of all of these measures has been announced by the CDU in the event of a political victory in Schleswig-Holstein, in many points supported by the FDP. The nature organisations urge both these political parties to reconsider their catastrophic nature and environmental plans and to seek a constructive dialogue with the environmental organisations. The organisations appeal to all members of the electorate in Schleswig-Holstein to consider the environmental stance of the contesting parties when casting their vote. "It is the duty of all parties to compete for the best and not the worst environmental policy !" (Fate of the Wadden Sea National Park in Lower saxony - a socialist sell-out? - next week)

BIRD(S)OF THE WEEK Yellow-billed Loon, 2nd W (Gavia adamsii) and American Wigeon (Anas penelope) still at Lake Constance/Bodensee - Common Crane (Grus grus) migration continues - saw 2 flocks of 50-80 myself over Berlin today ;-) - Large flocks of up to 150 Waxwings (Bombycilla garrulus) still feeding heartily in Central Germany - The first Golden Plovers (Pluvialis apricaria) in the Eifel hills - Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus), Westerhever/Schleswig Holstein - Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) on the Moehnesee, Soest- the first booming Bitterns (Botaurus stellaris ) of the year.

COMING IN THE NEXT WEEKS Geese tourists as counter to hunters - see the politicians react as the cash tills ring. National Park Wadden Sea in Lower Saxony. Wolf whelps in Brandenburg.

MIGRATION -REMINDER For a European picture of Spring migration, please report first sightings of Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus), Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), Swift (Apus apus), Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla), Nightingale (Luscinia megarhynchos), Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), Swallow (Hirundo rustica) und White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) to The map of Europe is being updated daily and looks good.

DATES 5th 'Nature Experience-Day' on the Eider Estuary nature reserve 'Katinger Watt'Sat 20th/Sun 21st May. Details @ NABU SHand click on Katinger Watt bottom left

WEBWATCH ~ Daniel Doer announces the start of the Muenster (Westphalia) Area Homepage with latest sightings. Look out especially for the wader migration! ~ ...and Matthias Schleuning the new Homepage for the Marburg area of Hessen - includes a small quiz and picture gallery in addition to latest sightings. ~ and for those who have overseen or deleted Stefan Tewinkel's messages in EBN (tut tut) the new link for the Bavarian Ornithological Society . His private pages, well worth a visit:
* * mystery bird solutions and a new round (Bird books as prizes!)
* Links updated with English bird names for recent GermanBirdNet reports courtesy of that super, now even better, translation programme
BabelBird * See also local Bavarian reports in English [ when do I get my % Stefan ;-) ]

David Conlin
GermanBirdNet Berlin

David Conlin
Mobile: +49 172 394 6671
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