Natterjack toad conservation project

Published, on 25 September 2022
Project status: completed
Nature conservation project
© Andreas Moosbrugger

Natterjack toad conservation project

the survival of the natterjack toad

For the Tyrolean Lech Nature Park is the survival of the natterjack toad (Epidalea calamita) has become a matter close to her heart. A species protection programme for the natterjack toad has been underway for several years in order to safeguard the population of Austria's rarest amphibian. The main aim of the programme is to preserve or restore suitable natural habitats. Natterjack toads need open, sandy areas in alluvial forests and suitable bodies of water where they can spawn.

To stabilise the Natterjack toad population new spawning ponds have been created on the basis of a scientific survey of population size, migration routes and land habitats.

In the alluvial forest area of the Tiroler Lech near Oberpinswang is home to one of the last three natterjack toad populations in Germany. As a strictly protected species that is acutely threatened with extinction, it is a particular focus of the project "River morphological redynamisation of the forelands to promote selected indicator species".

At Oberpinswang, local bank constructions have caused the Lech to deepen by around three to four metres. With annually recurring water levels, it therefore no longer reaches the alluvial forest in this area. The alluvial forest area is no longer flooded and is becoming increasingly overgrown. Where a few years ago there were sparse alluvial forests with sandy soil areas, there are now dense forests that make it impossible for the natterjack toad, among others, to survive.
Two major construction projects were carried out to revitalise the Lechau was carried out near Oberpinswang from October 2013 to April 2015. On the one hand, a 60 m wide and 12 - 25 m long Bottom ramp in the riverbed. At the same time was in some places the orographic The right bank of the river was deliberately lowered in order to restore the natural dynamics. In the alluvial forest itself, clearing work was carried out on an area of around 2.3 hectares and the soil structures were opened up to create a 660 metre long flood trough, which is flooded when the water levels rise again.

However, it is not only the natterjack toad that will benefit from the realisation of this project. Other key species for dynamic river systems, such as the German tamarisk and the dwarf bulrush, now also have the chance to survive and increase their populations. The redynamisation of the Oberpinswanger Au creates retention areas and therefore makes a significant contribution to flood protection.