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The Nature Conservation Programme concentrates on protection of ecosystems, especially watercourses and wetlands. It deals with human relations to nature and landscape, seeks and promotes the alternatives of management which lead up to harmonization of Nature Conservation and landscape with its economic use. Other important activity of the Programme is preservation of biodiversity - vanishing species of plants and animals in their original biotopes, and conservation of a natural balance in the landscape. Under the terms of the Coaliton of NGOs for Natura 2000, we try to achieve creation of a network of protected sites of European importance in the Czech Republic in accordance with the requisites of the European directives, and at the same time we promote sustainable development in the sites of Natura 2000 network.

Bořena Team takes care of the areas where protected and endangered plants appear. We arrange necessary care through a land trust of the same name.

 

History

The Nature Conservation Programme has been part of the Arnika Association from its beginning in 2001, and in all its major activities it continues the work of the Children of the Earth Association’s section of the same name.  It dedicates especially to three spheres of issues – protection of watercourses and wetlands, support of a creation of a European network of protected sites Natura 2000, and preservation of endangered species of plants in Bohemian Highlands (České středohoří) through a land trust.

Bořena Team has the longest tradition, which goes back to the 1980s, when a group of young environmentalists saved protected species of plants endangered by Radovesice Waste heap. Tons of waste soil heap from brown coal pit were used to cover up a whole large valley including three protected areas and four villages. The land club protects and takes care of the areas, where the plants were replanted. It seeks to get other areas where rare plants grow under its control.

Living Labe (Elbe) is the main campaign of the Programme. Since 1992 we have been successful in maintaining the unique natural values of the Elbe river in its section from Ústí nad Labem to the German border. Together with other Czech and German non-governmental organizations we alert that construction of hydroelectric dams in the Elbe riverbed is not only environmental unfriendly, but also uneconomical. No project documentation complying with Czech nature protection legislation has been submitted so far.

Arnika has been coordinating traditional Elbe Swimming Days since 2002. This organized swimming in the river accompanied with other activities aims to bring people closer to the river and make it a part of their lives. These events alert, that the river is something more than just a sewage channel, an industrial waterway, or a source of service water. The event emphasizes natural, esthetical, and social values of the river. In 2005, Arnika became a Czech coordinator of the First European River Swimming Day, the Big Jump.

Support of the Natura 2000 network is the youngest of the large Arnika’s campaigns. This campaign started in 2000 under the activities of the Children of the Earth Association. Arnika was a founding member and for a long time a coordinator of the Coaliton of NGOs for Natura 2000. This Coalition played and important role in the sites marking process, and its representative participated in the biogeographical seminars in 2005 and 2006, where the European Commission together with member states delegations, independent experts, and NGOs‘ representatives evaluated the sites proposals. This endeavour resulted in broadening of the original proposal, especially in the Continental biogeographical region. In its activities, Arnika focuses on lobbying, promotion, and support of public involvement in forming the Natura 2000 network.