At least 30 open water wetlands distributed to regional level. Total surface area of the sites is greater than 200 hectares Significant increase of waterfowl breeding pairs and broods in the demonstrative sites compared to the situation before the operation. Increased motivation, skills and co-operation of local people and regional authorities for the wetland conservation, restoration and re-creation in local and regional level.
Important is the co-operation of hunters and local people, as the base objective of the interest groups is the same. In Finland hunters have a long tradition for voluntary work in hunting clubs.
This is a great advantage for making field work and it can reduce the costs of implementation and management. Hunters can provide community support, they can find experts or they already are experts in some topic, such as tractor drivers, forestry workers or they can build water control structures. The hunters also monitor the waterfowl populations by national annual point count method organized by Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and Finnish Museum of Natural History. Monitoring about 30 wetland sites of all 48 sites of Life+ Return of Rural Wetlands is conducted by the local hunters.
Hunters committed to wetland restoration also play a key role in eradication of invasive predators like raccoon dog and american mink from the areas surrounding the wetland to provide safe breeding habitat for the wetland birds returning next spring.
At least 10 demonstrative wetlands of Life+ Return of Rural wetlands are under predator control. The demonstrative wetland sites are also used for educational purposes. Many hunters like to present their wetland for local people, authorities and peoples interested in wetlands. For example, in the Nordic wetland day 2.9.2013 9 and 2.9.2014 3 demonstrative wetlands of Life+ Return of Rural wetlands was presented.
The good demonstrative site will promote interest toward wetland habitat work in surrounding areas. Mediawork is usually new for hunters, but many of them have met the journalists in their wetland site. We have had over 100 articles in local or regional newspapers.
Starting date: 2010
Species: Teal (Anas Crecca), Mallard (Anas Platyrhynchos), Goldeneye (Bucephala Clangula), Wigeon (Anas Penelope), Pintail (Anas Acuta), Shoveler (Anas Clypeata), Gulls (Laridae)
Species characteristics: Huntable species, Protected species, Migratory species, Invasive Alien species
Type of actions: Management of habitats and wildlife, Research and data collection, Communication
Leading partners: EU Life+, http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/Finnish Wildlife Agency, http://riista.fi/en/Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, http://www.mmm.fi/en