Rewilding the Ina river for a cleaner Baltic Sea

The Szczecin Lagoon its surroundings is one of the most polluted parts of the Baltic Sea, contributing to the latter’s eutrophication. Major ecological problems are related to pollution caused by agriculture but also by illegal wastewater discharge. Moreover, the regulation of rivers has led to a decrease in self-cleaning capacities. With a total length of 129 km and a catchment area of 2,130 km², the Ina is one of the larger rivers and a relevant polluter with a direct link to the Szczecin Lagoon.

The project was part of concerted efforts by several regional nature conservation NGOs to restore the Ina river and its surroundings as a natural habitat, thereby also increasing the self-cleaning capabilities of this watercourse and improving the hydrology of the area.

The main activity and most important result of this project was the restoration of the river morphology of a roughly 1 km long stretch of the Ina. This was done by constructing a sequence of gravel depots in order to diversify the Ina’s morphology to a more natural state. Restoring the river morphology improves the conditions for migrating fish and numerous other species, and also stabilizes the hydrology of the river. Shortly after the restoration action, the first specimens of the river water-crowfoot appeared, an indicator for good water quality.

This main activity was accompanied by tree planting actions. The planting of trees in the shore area increases nutrient retention, prevents soil erosion and cools down the shore area, which supports the natural biodiversity at the river.

Moreover, the project partner cooperated with local tourism businesses to reduce the pressure from leisure activities, inter alia by building small-scale infrastructure like resting places. Also, a number of cleanups were conducted.


Key results

Restoration of the Ina river:

  • Construction of one gravel prism and restoration of the natural river morphology
  • Replantation of shadow trees

 Reduction of pressure from angling and kayaking:

  • Information of the public about the ecological sensitivity of the area
  • Small-scale infrastructure to avoid negative impacts from leisure activities



Rewilding Oder Delta e.V.

Project region 


Project duration 

2021-10-01 – 2023-09-30


Total project budget: €136,076

Funding BaltCF: €87,115

Third-party funding: €30,000 (European Outdoor Conservation Association)