Resolving conflicts with the Transportation Infrastructure in Poland
Currently this network of migration corridors in Poland is seriously threatened with disruption by the building of several new motorways and express roads (which will be fenced all along), and by the upgrading of existing roads to axle load 11.5 ton. Overall 1,500 km of motorways, 1,600 km of expressways and 1,700 km of upgraded roads will be completed by 2013. Most of them are situated along Pan-European corridors. We have identified a number of focal points, in which roads will cut migration routs and will disturb important wildlife habitats. Given this situation it is extremely important to mitigate the negative impact of the new road infrastructure by re-location of some sections of planned roads away from the most valuable areas (as in Via Baltica case), and by planning, designing and building wildlife passages.
For last three years AfN WOLF is involved in extensive negotiations with road planners and investors concerning a proper distribution, density, design and dimensions of different types of wildlife crossing structures suitable for large, medium and small terrestrial animals (overpasses, underpasses, viaducts, culverts and amphibians tunnels) on new and existing Polish roads. Recently we have analysed about 440 km of planned highways and express roads to find their impact on wildlife migration corridors. We have recommended and in most of cases successfully implemented a number of such mitigation measures on migration routes, and within wildlife habitats, on the following new motorways and express roads: A1, A2, A4, A18, S3, S69.
Furthermore in 2004, together with our colleagues from MRI PAS, we prepared a handbook for environmentalists, road planners and investors entitled "Animals and roads: Methods of mitigating the negative impact of roads on wildlife", where the wildlife corridors network, conflicts with transportation infrastructure and recommended mitigation measures are presented. Since then in 2006 a second, reviewed and updated edition of this handbook was published, and in 2009 the handbook appeared as an English edition.
We conduct a lobbing of the Polish Government, to include regulations for migration corridors into following documents: Nature Conservation Law, Environmental Law, Forest Management Law, Spatial Planning Law, also other regulations concerning preparing the Environmental Impact Assesment. We have negotiated a conservation and restitution of migration corridors in several operational programs: Environment, Infrastructure and Development of Rural Areas. We have prepared opinions on these projects and took part in several meetings of working groups. As a result in the new operational programs Environment and Transport Infrastructure and Development of Rural Areas some resources are guaranteed for wildlife corridors restoration (such as afforestation of private lands and pro-ecological management of private forests) and resolving conflict with the transportation infrastructure (wildlife crossings on existing roads).