by Norwegian Chef
Wed Aug 1st, 2007 at 06:05:50 AM EST
In one of Europe's biggest and most landmark environmental battles similar in stature to the USA's battle with the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Rospuda Valley has received a temporary reprieve from the construction of a major highway. The extremely far-right conservative Polish Government has succumbed to EU Pressure to stop road construction until the case is heard by the European Court of Justice, which will almost certainly rule against Poland in favour of the European Commission.
From the diaries (with awesome photo inside!) ~ whataboutbob
Work on a controversial motorway through Poland's pristine Rospuda nature reserve will not go ahead Wednesday, in line with the European Commission's request, Poland's Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski announced Tuesday. The European Commission on Monday said it had asked the European Union's top court to halt the construction of the trans-European Via Baltica highway cutting through a nature reserve in Poland.
The EU executive body, which has protested the project as an environmental disaster, said it had asked the European Court of Justice to issue an injunction.
The Rospuda Valley is one of the most valuable wetland areas (blanket, raised, and temporary bogs) with natural, intact water relations. That is, the bog maintains a steady water level, and therefore does not cover with trees and shrubs. Therefore, it differs from wetlands influenced by human, e.g. Biebrza Bogs, which have to be mowed in order not to become covered with plants.
Rospuda Valley is under protection because of its rare animals and plants. For example, there are 19 kinds of orchidaceae (all of which are under strict protection), including Musk Orchid (Herminium monorchis), and white variety of Early Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis). The former has been recorded in Polish Red Data Book of Plants, and Rospuda Valley is its only Polish habitat. The latter exists in a few more places in Poland.
Other orchids that are to be found in Rospuda Valley include: the Western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis), Lady's Slipper orchid (Cypripedium calceolus), Early Coralroot (Corallorrhiza trifida), the Common spotted orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii), or Pugsley's Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza traunsteineri), Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris), Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii). In Rospuda Valley there are also other rare and protected plants including: Dwarf Birch (Betula humilis), Greek valerian (Polemonium caeruleum), English sundew (Drosera anglica), Round-Leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), Turk's cap lily (Lilium martagon) etc.
The Rospuda Valley and its adjacent forests are inhabited by the following protected birds: Hazel Grouse (Bonasa bonasia), the Capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana), the Corn Crake (Crex crex), the Common Crane (Grus grus), the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Lesser Spotted Eagle (Aquila pomarina), Marsh harrier, the Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), the Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus), the White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), the Black Woodpecker, the White-backed Woodpecker (Dendrocopos leucotos), the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio), the Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) and other. The area serves as a haunt for birds nesting nearby, e.g. in Augustów Primeval Forest.
For big mammals, like wolves or dears, the Rospuda Valley serves as a migratory corridor, through which they move west from Augustów Primeval Forest and Biebrza National Park. Moreover, the Valley is also inhabited by beavers, otters, foxes and other animals.
However, this is no time for complacency as the evil Polish Government will try every trick in the book to keep the road in the refuge just to make an O'Reilly-type point.
Again from EarthTimes
Premier Kaczynski told Polish Radio Tuesday that although construction on the portion of the motorway through the Rospuda nature reserve would not go ahead, work on other parts of the Via Baltica would proceed as planned.
Kaczynski said he was confident Poland would win the case in the European Court of Justice and that eventually construction through the Rospuda valley would go ahead.
Environmentalists have hailed the move as a success, but residents of the north-eastern Polish town of Augustow were bitterly disappointed.
You can help fight for the Rospuda Valley here: Save the Rospuda Valley Website
This effort is endorsed by WWF, BirdLife and Greenpeace plus numerous other conservation groups.
Cross-posted on DKos.