Fresh water health control through Black Stork perspective

Project idea is to enable restoration of degraded fresh water sources in Estonia, starting of those situated in protected areas or close to Black Stork known nest sites near cost of Baltic Sea in western and northern Estonia and following with minor number of sites in southern and eastern Estonia. For this it is essential to make the inventory of fresh water bodies and according to inventories prepare guide lines for restoration priorities, measures and suggestions for restoration. For that quite massive field works are foreseen to build up the database of the fresh water sources suitable for Black Stork to feed there and the possibilities for restoring of degraded ones. Pilot restoration will be performed in one more serious restoration place, to understand the needed bureaucracy and possible consequences for further similar projects. Also, in 10 parts of degraded feeding sites will be organized volunteers’ camps to enable access for Black Stork to the water source. These sites will be chosen according the field works. Photo below illustrates these works performed by volunteers. For to see the results of performed works, five adult Black Storks will be fitted with transmitters to understand their preferences to use the feeding sites and possible changes in that after restoration. The same individuals will be used for further restoration works also, for after project actions. Outside the breeding time these tracked storks are possible to follow by the public online migration map.

According the project results we hope to start a  bigger action for restoration of natural fresh water sources in Estonia and why not in other Baltic states to get cleaner water through the streams into the Baltic Sea.

Situation and background

Estonia is a small country in eastern shores of Baltic Sea and all its fresh water sources end up in Baltic Sea. Originally Estonia has been rich of different types of wetlands, including mires and bogs surrounded with forests, but during last 150 years and especially during 1950-1990 a lot of melioration both, in fields and forests have been conducted. The heavily changed hydrology of rivers and wetlands (including mires) has led to substantial losses of wetland and freshwater biodiversity. Within current project we want to enable restoration of fresh water sources ending in Baltic Sea, starting from the sea shore and moving upstream. We perform an inventory of fresh water sources in protected areas and Natura 2000 sites, also in Black Stork territories outside protected areas, starting closer to Sea and moving inland. According the field inventory we compose guide lines for restoration of fresh water sources to be used in further projects for restoration in bigger scale. Also there will be made a pilot restoration of one site found during the inventory. Also some volunteers will be invited to take part in cleaning of foraging areas of Black Stork, what events are organized not only practical, but awareness rising among the participants.

Project activities and effects

Project Goal:

  • The goal of the project is to get overview about fresh water sources elaborate guide lines for restoration of fresh water streams in protected areas and also outside in economic forests.


Database about fresh water streams condition

Guidelines for restoration of fresh water sources in database

Pilot restoration of sample site

Volunteer camps to clean parts of streams

Monitoring of results to understand the Black Stork satisfaction

Communication about project plans, actions and results


  • Preparation of fieldwork task and composing of relevant project team
  • Data storage in the field, preliminary suggestions for restoration
  • Preparation of guidelines for further restoration projects
  • Restoring of pilot site to understand the bureaucracy mandatory for such projects and for to enhance guidelines respectively
  • Organizing of volunteer camps to perform minor restoration in selected sites
  • Tracking of adult Black Storks to monitor results of the restoration before and after actions performed
  • Communication with stake holders and public (media) about project plans, activities and results

Long-Term Effects:

The following  outcomes will be achieved as part of the project:

  • Database of fresh water streams is prepared to use it
  • Guidelines for restoration of fresh water streams is prepared and available publicly
  • Monitoring of results is performed and some indication about suitability of project results for Black Stork can be presented
  • Pilot restoration site and volunteers camp sites are in better condition for Black Stork as before the project

The following  effects will be achieved in the long term:

  • Projects for restoration of natural conditions of fresh water streams will be launched and performed
  • Fresh water sources produce cleaner water to run into Baltic Sea as before
  • Black Storks have more possibilities to forage in natural streams and feed on diverse fish and amphibian
  • Black Stork population may have some recovery in Estonia


Eagle Club Estonia (Kotkaklubi)


Environmental Board

State Forest Management Center

Project region 

Full Estonian Republic, with more attention to sites closer to the sea

Project duration 

2019-01-01 – 2020-12-31


total project budget: 164 850 € 
funding baltfc: 148 500 € 


Not available, yet


Urmas Sellis