HORTOBAGY SODIC LAKES - Restoration of sodic lake sub-type of the Pannonic salt steppe and marsh habitat in the HortobÃ¡gy
The soda lakes and their catchment areas in Hungaryâ€™s Carpathian Basin support lowland Pannonic loess steppic grasslands. Most of the lake and catchment sites in the HortobÃ¡gy area have been badly damaged or have deteriorated, and so have been designated as protected areas. The project main objective is to promote the restoration of soda lake habitats and neighbouring steppic grasslands in the HortobÃ¡gy area at the Nagy-szik and Magdolna-puszta sites. Project actions focus on eliminating unfavourable and detrimental processes that affect the site. These problems include: inappropriate drainage, shrinking of seasonal water bodies, sewage run-off, decline in traditional grazing and lack of environmental education. Some 42.9 ha of land are purchased in order to help restore hydrological regimes and improve the conservation status of lake bed features and natural shorelines. Methods are applied to retain rain water, while urban and industrial water pollution is eliminated through reconstruction of canal systems. Other habitat rehabilitation work involves clearing waste deposits and removing invasive plant species. Traditional grazing systems are reintroduced to help sustain the soda lakesâ€™ improved conservation status. Public participation and awareness raising actions are also applied to ensure a strong legacy from the project work, which is expected to provide a model for the restoration of soda lakes in the Carpathian Basin.