At the beginning of June 2017, as part of an expert meeting of the ANL (Bavarian Academy for Nature Conservation and Landscape Management), employees of the Donau-Auen National Park visited the Tiroler Lech Nature Park to see a successful reintroduction site of the dwarf bulrush and natural sites of the German tamarisk. Anette Kestler, managing director of the nature park, led the guests to the riparian areas of the river landscape and informed them about conservation programs of the nature park as well as about current observations and threats of the two pioneer species. During the joint inspection, the protected area managers were able to exchange their different experiences, e.g. with site selection or with different breeding methods.
Due to the disappearance of open riparian areas after regulation and power plant construction, the character species of dynamic riverine landscapes, such as the dwarf bulrush (Typha minima) and the German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica), have been pushed back to a few sites in Austria. Through river engineering measures within the framework of renaturation projects, it has already been possible to partially improve the river engineering situation of the watercourses in the Gesäuse National Park and the Danube Floodplain National Park. In the long term, it should be possible for the two pioneer species to re-establish themselves within their natural ranges in the protected areas and to build up a stable, self-sustaining population. Therefore, breeding programs and attempts at reintroduction are taking place within the framework of species conservation programs.
In the Danube Floodplain National Park, the dwarf bulrush (Typha minima) has been successfully propagated since 2011 using source material from the Tyrolean Lech and has also been reintroduced in some areas in the field on an experimental basis since 2015. In the Gesäuse National Park, conservation and propagation breeding has been carried out for the reintroduction of the German tamarisk since 2005. First attempts of reintroduction in 2005 and 2008 were not crowned with success. Ten years later, the aim is now to achieve a permanent establishment with larger quantities of specimens grown by the HBLFA Raumberg-Gumpenstein.
For reintroduction in the field it is of great importance to be able to fall back on a safe backup stock of plants of the respective species based on the greatest possible genetic diversity, i.e. on different individuals from different populations. Therefore, the visit of the National Park staff was also used to collect seeds from some individuals of the German Tamarisk at two sites near Weißenbach and Elmen for the conservation program of the two National Parks within the framework of a nature conservation permit of the Province of Tyrol and under the direction of the Nature Park Tyrolean Lech.
On the same evening, some of the seeds were handed over to Daniel Kreiner of the Gesäuse National Park. In order to safeguard the rare autochthonous plant material, the seeds should be cultivated at as many different locations as possible and thus preserved. Therefore, further shares went to the conservation garden of the BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna) and the botanical garden of the university. There, the plants will now be propagated and preserved for future reintroductions.