Sonet-Save our Nature and Environmental Treasures
The SONET project aims to protect coastal dune ecosystems in the Western part of Latvia, specifically in the areas near Ventspils, Mērsrags and Bērzciems. These areas are home to critically endangered species like the sand pink (Dianthus arenarius) and perform important ecological functions.
The central project goal is to restore grey dunes and marine coastal meadows, and to create a sustainable tourism infrastructure to mitigate the negative effects of heavy and unregulated tourism in these areas.
Project activities and effects
The main objectives are:
- Protection of dune habitats – removal of conifer plantations and scrub cutting to improve growing and living conditions and building necessary infrastructure;
- Public awareness rising – joint works by involving local inhabitants and youth, lobbying and meeting politicians;
- Networking and experience exchange – networking with local partners and involved stakeholders, experience exchange with foreign experts and partners.
Real examples and the results of the project will not only lead to nature protection but also raising educational and public awareness effect in long term.
Protection of dune habitats
- Restoration will start with planning, getting all the necessary permits and monitoring of habitats.
- Recurring management activities include grazing, mowing, sod-cutting and scrub cutting. Some of these will be arranged together with schools to educate young people and get them more evolved
- Planning of tourism infrastructure will be done along with planning of restoration works and according to universal environmentally friendly infrastructure principles. The small infrastructure elements planned, like wooden trails, view sites and info desks will be elaborated and set up just after the restoration works will be finished.
All these activities will be done in close cooperation with botanists, biotope experts and representatives of local community.
Raising of public awareness
- Involvement of locals in the restoration processes
- Seminars and exchange of experience with other similar projects, including foreign experts from CCB and EGB.
- Lobbying government and politicians on the national level to secure the necessary funds for the future protection of the sites
- Seminars, meetings and a final conference
- Local fund raising and co-financing
Latvian Green Movement
Lake Engure Nature Park Foundation
Latvian Environmental protection Fund
Coastal municipalities of Ventspils, Talsi and Tukums
Coalition Clean Baltic
Ventspils, Mērsrags and Bērzciems
2021-07-12 – 2024-09-30
Total project budget: €302,000
Funding BaltCF: €192,000
Third-party funding: €80,000