Monday, 19 November 2012

Wade in the water, while we still can

Sunday is the day of rest on the building sites around Warsaw, and always a good opportunity to see how things are progressing. No different here on ul. Trombity, where work on ameliorating the wetlands is proceeding apace. Ponds are being cleared of reeds and deepened to serve as retention reservoirs, capable of holding larger volumes of rain water, thus protecting surrounding fields and houses from flooding.

Left: to the south of ul. Kórnicka, a series of new ponds has been created, with each one separate from the other with a wall formed from stones in wire cages. In the distance, ul. Baletowa.

I'm worried about the preservation of the central part of the wetlands; at least some of it should remain in its natural state, full of reeds, some drowned forest, plenty of bird life and water fowl. The diggers are encroaching from the north (ul. Kórnicka), the west (ul. Trombity) and east (ul. Dumki). Successive ponds are being cleared, given shape, distinct banks; trees are marked for felling. How much will be left?

Below: a new, cleared pond. Not so long ago, this stretch was full of dense reeds. Now, defined banks, a deep bed.

Below: some minor work - mainly tree felling - has been observed around this pond, between ul. Dumki and ul. Baletowa (houses on the horizon). The fields south of Baletowa will benefit from being less prone to flooding.

Below: the edge of the wetlands, east of ul. Trombity. Underfoot, the ground is spongy. The reed beds, home to swans, coots, herons and ducks, are to the left of this photo.

Below: a row of silver birches demarcate the edge of the wetlands from the fields backing off ul. Trombity. Note two trees have been marked for felling with a daub of orange paint. They look as though they are embracing one another.

Below: the wetlands proper. Here, wellington boots are barely sufficient for wading. The mud at the bottom is deep and sucks you in. A false step and your boot fills up with water. I go no further than the other side of this tree before pulling back.

Below: penetrable and yet impenetrable - the deepest fastness of the wetlands. Although I can hear distant voices, cars, trains and aircraft, I can see no signs of civilisation; I could be in the Prypet Marshes in pre-war Polesie, fishing or duck-hunting with the local Polesiuks.

I hope these central parts of the Jeziorki wetlands will remain unconquered by the excavators, untamed by the hydrologists. The works going on so far to create retention ponds will go a long way to protecting the area from floods, but a small part of this unique for Warsaw habitat should be allowed to remain.

Above: nearer to home - this path linking ul. Trombity and ul. Dumki has been closed. Two birches have been cut down and used as barriers - not the most ecologically-friendly way of denying us locals access.

This time last year:
Tusk marks beginning of his second term as premier

This time two years ago:
Rat-runner schadenfreude

1 comment:

adthelad said...

In the UK challenges to planning rulings look to be severely restricted while this morning an RSPB rep on Farming Today was bemoaning looming CAP cuts affecting natural habitat, especially in respect to bird life (given the progress made up till recently). The BBC interviewer mentioned a UK statistic (averaging over the last 50 years) that a pair of nesting birds is lost every minute. Reading your report I fear 'progress' is creeping through Poland in similar way.