Restoration of Coastal Meadows in Matsalu, Estonia

National Id
Site name
Salmi coastal meadow, Matsalu National Park
The measure was implemented in Matsalu National Park, Estonia, a former coastal meadow site (Natura 2000 and Ramsar site) next to a big Salmi coastal meadow with many priority species. The old non-functioning small ditches were closed and scraped to restore the wetland hydrology and breeding and feeding grounds for waders and amphibians. Before the restoration works the area was used mainly for bovine grazing and the restoration did not change the conditions for that. However, due to the activities drinking water will be better available for the cattle. The project was implemented in 2013.
The in-depth description of the case study
RBD code
Data provider
Sandra Oisalu, BEF Estonia
NWRM(s) implemented in the case study
Climate zone
cool temperate moist
Mean annual rainfall
600 - 900 mm
Mean rainfall unit
Actual Test Site
Light or indepth?
Average slope range
Vegetation class
Habitat site of rare species - Platanthera bifolia, Dactylorhiza incarnata). At the moment in ditches - Lythrum salicaria, Carex vulpina, Schoenoplectus lacustris, Mentha aquatica, Alisma plantagoaquatica, Sparganium emersum.
Monitoring impacts effects
Administrative annual cost information
The Environmental Board is carrying out the monitoring of the waders in the area and the monitoring will show if the birds have started to use the area †“ this in their annual plan
Performance impact estimation method
Catchment outlet
Performance impact estimation information
The effectiveness of the measure depends on the habitat -if the species formerly identified in the coastal meadow (before the land improvement activities in the past) - so methodology will be counting the habitats
Application scale
Field Scale
Installation date
Area (ha)
Area subject to Land use change or Management/Practice change (ha)
Size unit
Design contractual arrangement
Arrangement type Responsibility Role Comments Name
Design consultation activity
Activity stage Key issues Name Comments
There were stakeholder meetings which included also land owners but no larger public involvment was carried out.
There were stakeholder meetings which included also land owners but no larger public involvment was carried out.
Design land use change
Land use change type
Design authority
Authority type Role Responsibility Name Comments
Estonian Fund for Nature
'State Forestry
Agricultureal board
private land owners and renters
Key lessons
Reaching common ground with different stakeholders is a time consuming process and need moderation in order to come to agreements satisfying all involved parties.
Financing mechanism information
Mainly WWF fuding with soe national contribution.
Financing difficulties
financing funding solutions
Main amount of activities was financed by WWF, however, Estonian State Forest Management Centre in frame of their frame project agreed to finance some of the practical works.
Success factor(s)
Success factor type Success factor role Comments
Existing staff and consultant knowledge
main factor

Engaged project team (Estonian Fund for Nature)

Financing possibilities
main factor

As it was project based activity then there were financial sources to carry out the activities.

Financing type Comments
Mainly financed by WWF, also contribution to practical works by State Forest Management Centre
Barrier type Barrier role Comments
Lacking coordination between authorities
main barrier
It was quite difficult to find common ground with Environmental Board, Agricultural Board and State Forestry - Estonian Fund for Nature had two years of meetings with them before they could manage to complete the project.
secondary barrier
Although there was enough information about this quite small and well known site, the State Forestry did not give permission to carry out the works without the official melioration plan for getting more data.
Driver type Driver role Comments
Organisation committed to it
main driver
The method for restoring the wetland was chosen for testing by Estonian Fund for Nature and it was done in frame of a project funded by WWF.
Financing share
Financing share type Share Comments
As State Forestry maangement Centres contribution is not known then cannot define the %
Policy description
The aim of the application was to test in Estonia a new methodology for restoring a wetland (based on the example from United Kingdom) and to find out if this methodology can be used also for other similar areas with similar problems (old ditches that change hydrological conditions in nature protection areas).
Part of wider plan
Policy target
Target purpose
Improved Biodiversity
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
Policy requirement directive
Requirement directive Specification
Direct benefits information
Effective implementation of the measure will restore the habitat of the coastal meadow and will thus add to implementing the Nature Protection Act and Estonian Environmental Strategy 2030. As a Natura2000 and Ramsar site the restoration activity also contributes to their requirements.
Costs total information
Part of the costs were covered by WWF project - ca 11 500 eur - some parctical works and costs for meetings and travel. However, part of the costruction costs were paid by State Forest Management Centre in frame of one frame project so costs are not available.
Compensations annual information
No compansation for land owneres
Information on Ecosystem improved biodiversity
The species ( rare species - Platanthera bifolia, Dactylorhiza incarnata). At the moment in ditches - Lythrum salicaria, Carex vulpina, Schoenoplectus lacustris, Mentha aquatica, Alisma plantagoaquatica, Sparganium emersum.) ave formerly (before the land improvement works) been living in the area so restoration works provided possibility to for suitable habitat conditions for the species. Hoowever, monitoring is needed to confirm if the species have reeturned.
Information on Water quality overall improvements
The wetland had good quality water, chemical status is good. It is a Nature2000 site. No pollution has been marked. The aim was not to rise the quality of water but to restore the hydrological regime.


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