DOPPS - Restoring and conserving habitats and birds in Skocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve, Slovenia

National Id
Site name
The main actions of the project, which formed part of a larger programme aimed at reducing the levels of pollution, was directed at restoring habitats important for
the survival of bird species. Such restoration was done by improving the lagoon's water circulation, through the removal of sediments, the creation of a
new marsh, flooding an area previously used for agriculture and the installation of equipment to control and regulate the inflow and outflow of water.
Zahodna Slovenija
RBD code
Data provider
Climate zone
warm temperate moist
Mean rainfall
Mean rainfall unit
Average temperature
Case Study Info
Light or indepth?
Average slope range
Vegetation class
It is one of the sites in the network of coastal Mediterranean wetlands in N Adriatic, important for migratory birds and one of only two such sites located on the Slovenian coastline. Due to the obvious rarity of such habitats at the country level it was important to re-establish its favourable conservation status in order to support the favourable conservation status of other site as well (IBA Sečoveljske soline n.r.)
Monitoring location
Edge of Field/Plot
Application scale
Field Scale
Installation date
Performance timescale
1 - 4 years
Area (ha)
Area subject to Land use change or Management/Practice change (ha)
Size unit
Design capacity description
The brackish lagoon of over 71 ha has been restored into a diverse mixture of already existing or developing 5 Natura 2000 habitat types.
Public consultation
Contractural arrangements
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
Firm and successful partnership between DOPPS †“ BirdLife Slovenia and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning, which is quite unique in the field of co-operation between governmental and non-governmental sectors in Slovenia, was one of the basis of the project success. That†™s how we managed to implement a pilot project, which doubtlessly ranks among top ten restoration projects of degraded natural areas in the Mediterranean part of Europe. On the other hand, existing BirdLife partnership and newly established Adriawet network, where the beneficiary actively participated brought additional value-added to the project through knowledge and expertise gained.
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
Design phase
Awareness-raising and educational activities
Because of the exceptional importance of the project for the nature conservation in Slovenia as such, great emphasis was placed on the project activities aiming to increase the conservation awareness. Among those were very important regular contacts and presentations to the local people at lectures and guided tours, to the school children on the field classes, and also preparing and updating of the web site and publication of bulletins. All stages of the largest restoration of a protected area in Slovenia have been filmed and at the project end, an educational documentary film was prepared and a publication released.
Design land use change
Land use change type
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning
Key lessons
Main objective of the project was to restore and manage habitats of Skocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve after industrial degradation in the 1980s in order to support endangered birds of national and European importance. It's the first example in Slovenia of an NGO managing a protected area.
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Attitude of relevant stakeholders
main factor

Cooperation: DOPPS, BirdLife Slovenia and the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning have created firm and successful partnership for the organisation and management of Skocjanski zatok, which is quite unique in the field ofco-operation between governmental and non-governmental sectors in Slovenia.

Financing type Comments
EU-funds: LIFE+
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
Driver type Driver role Comments
Organisation committed to it
main driver
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
European funds
Policy description
Drastic loss of habitat and species due to Industrial development.
Quantified objectives
Approximately 225,000 cubic meters of mud were dredged from the lagoon: 185.000 cubic meters of organically polluted mud was removed to the disposal site, which resulted in reducing the eutrophication and organic pollution, enable water circulation inside the lagoon and increase of bioproduction, which all contributed towards improved ecological conditions in the lagoon and substantially reduced risk of botulism.
The remaining 40.000 cubic meters of non-polluted mud was used to create 20 ha of mudflats and nesting islets in order to create conditions for the habitat types, listed on Annex I of the EU Habitat Directive as well as provide breeding and feeding grounds for endangered breeding birds.
Water inflow improved upon several activities, including two most important ones: cleaning of the Rižana river left discharging channel Ara outlet and riverbed (Ara is the only freshwater source for the reserve) and mounting of the sluice system at the sea channel, which will enable full water level control in the future.
Policy target
Target purpose
Pollutants Removal
Improved Biodiversity
Runoff control
Policy pressure
Pressure directive Relevant pressure
Policy area
Policy area type Policy area focus Name Comments
Policy impact
Impact directive Relevant impact
Policy wider plan
Wider plan type Wider plan focus Name Comments
Environment & Biodiversity
Decree on Program of conservation and development of Å kocjanski zatok Nature Reserve for the period 2007-11
Reserve Management Plan for the period 2007-11 was the most crucial document for the future of the reserve, as it guarantees sustainability and continuation of this project. On 30.8.2007, it was adopted by the Government of the Republic of Slovenia in a form of a legal act: Decree on Program of conservation and development of Skocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve for the period 2007-11
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Direct benefits information
The educational and awareness-raising activities within this project have brought the future functions of the reserve near the local people. Many of them have managed to recognize its real value in between and have become the active holders of the part of the responsibility for the nature conservation in their adjacency.
Over two-kilometer-long circular education trail was constructed, laid out along the border of the freshwater part of the reserve. Ponds of various sizes and forms were created along the trail, which are now inhabited by invertebrates and amphibians to help the visitors get a closer look at the life in the marsh. The screening embankments were constructed along the newly formed circular education trail, preventing disturbance of wildlife caused by visitors.
Costs capital
Costs total
Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Information on Ecosystem improved biodiversity
Improving the habitats along the lagoon borders, mainly mudflats and nesting islets, important for enhancing the halophyte habitats and as nesting sites for endangered birds using another 40,000 cubic meters of dredged sediment;
Increase of bird populations during the project period and increase of the number of species and populations of the breeding birds in the first breeding season after the restoration.
Ecosystem impact climate regulation
No information available
Water quality overall improvements
Positive impact-WQ improvement
Information on Water quality overall improvements
Particularly in the last 2 years with
restoration results coming to the evidence


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