Award for „MARA“: „This is the tailwind, nature conservation needs“

The project partners awarded by Sabine Riewenherm, from left to right: Josef Heisl, Thomas Berendonk, Erika Träger, Monika Linseisen, Raimund Kneidinger, Christiane Kotz, Carola Stemp, Marco Denic, Johann Braun, Helmut Plenk, Franz Brunner

The joint project "MARA-Margaritifera Restoration Alliance" was awarded offical "UN-Dekade project for restoration of ecosystems" by Sabine Riewenherm, president of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. The event took place at the castle Neuburg in the district of Passau at 26th March 2024.

 The prize is awarded to projects, which commit themselves in an exemplary way for the objectives of the UN-decade. In MARA breeding programs for the freshwater pearl mussel and brown trout, which is its host-fish, are carried out in combination with river restoration measures. The goal is to secure near-natural flows of materials and ecosystem services in the targeted catchment areas. Furthermore, project manager Dr. Marco Denic named increase of water retention, public relations work and establishment of an international expert network as addional project goals.

Head of the district authority Raimund Kneidinger emphasizes the the role model character of the project. Species conservation depends on such flagship projects to create public awareness. By that is a profit also for less well-known projects, which can contribute significantly to biodiversity conservation. According to Kneidinger the district of Passau in person of Christiane Kotz, head of the lower nature conservation agency, "has done a very good job so far. With the Landschaftspflegeverband Passau an experienced partner is responsible for the practical implementation of conservation measures. The district of Passau is proud to be partner in the project MARA."  

Sabine Riewenherm, president of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation added: "MARA shows a strong commitment to the protection of the critically endangered freshwater pearl mussel. This example makes clear that species protection and ecosystem restoration need to be joined. Especially noteworthy is the diversity of cooperations with farmers, universities and even artists. This demonstrates that effective nature conservation is needs many stakeholders and is a task for society as a whole."

Attendant project partners during the award
Representatives of the district and the Landschaftspflegeverband Passau receiving the award from Sabine Riewenherm und Skulptur des Preises der UN-Dekade
Impressions from the awarding event
Scultpure and document of the prize as project of the UN-decade