Raising awareness on invasive alien species – a focus of MICA
The MICA project is dealing with the management of two invasive alien species, coypu and muskrat, and therefore intends to raise public awareness on this subject. During the course of the project, several communication events, such as open days, are organized. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of those public events had to be cancelled or postponed.
It was originally planned to welcome different stakeholders and interested public for open days in the 11 project areas (in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium) in order to introduce them to local project activities, to discuss about the project progress and receive suggestions for improvements. However, facing ongoing restrictions for public events and considering the safety of the participants, we decided to set up our first open day for the project area Aschauteiche as online event using Microsoft teams.
The German project site Aschauteiche
The German project site Aschauteiche, close to Eschede in the municipality of Celle, is a sustainable fishpond cultivation comprising near-natural lakes. The project site is part of a FFH and EU-bird protection area and home to several protected species. About a decade ago, coypus established at the lakes and, recently, the fish otter settled there as well. At this site, the Life MICA project intends to assess the impact of coypus on biodiversity and to test intelligent live traps closing only for target species like coypus.
The first virtual open day at Aschauteiche
The event took place on July 2nd 2021, when stakeholders from the local nature conservation office, the mayor of Eschede, the hunters association, a nature conservation organization, the Otterzentrum Hankensbüttel, members of the Agricultural Chamber of Lower Saxony and interested public participated in the event.
After a general introduction to the Life MICA project, we presented a short film (in German) about our activities at the project site and the characteristics of the area.
Helge John, employee at the fishpond cultivation and member of the hunters association, offered an interesting insight into the history of the Aschauteiche and the local occurrence and management of coypu populations as well as protected bird species. Furthermore, we had a great guest contribution from Martin Brühne, project leader from Reeds-for-Life (www.lebendige-roehrichte.de), about coypu management in the nature conservation area Bienener Altrhein and the successful replantation of reed vegetation to recover the damage caused by coypu during the past years.
A total of 21 persons participated in the event and several topics ranging from live trapping to the impact of coypus on biodiversity were lively discussed. In general, the feedback from the participants was very positive, highlighting once again the importance of communicating with different stakeholders and related projects about the problematic of invasive alien species.
Outlook for 2022
In 2022, we hope to be able to welcome interested stakeholders in person at the project site!