Stredoslovenská vodárenská prevádzková spoločnosť, a.s. (StVPS) – Wastewater Treatment Plant Rakytovce
"We implement the measures for practical protection and support of biodiversity in our technical premises as the first large company in Slovakia. We would like to make this an example also for the others and show that thanks to various measures, such as construction of a pond, planting of native tree species or installing insect hotels also a large technical premises can become an oasis of biodiversity and contribute to environmental protection of the surrounded area."
StVPS is a water company with regional scope, a member of Veolia Slovakia. The project of supporting biodiversity is implemented in the Wastewater Treatment Plant Rakytovce near Banská Bystrica, one of their premises. The implemented measures represent the first conceptual project to support biodiversity in the company premises in Slovakia. Practical implementation started in 2017 on the basis of an assessment of the area and its potential for biodiversity by external experts.
Description of measures
80 trees of native species planted to create a forest park habitat on a selected meadow, about 30 more trees will be added. 90 shrubs of native species planted on the slope to create a hedge. 10 fruit trees planted. A water habitat constructed - a pond supplied with rainwater from a roof of a nearby building. Installation of 25 birdboxes of various types, boxes for bats, 3 insect hotels, a shelter for a hedgehog and a dormouse. Installation of 50 artificial nests for the house martin at the administrative building. Monitoring of bird species in 2020. Gradual change of mowing of two meadows in order to increase the biodiversity of the meadow community and change them into flowering meadows. Installation of 3 information boards and several signs. Since 2017, organizing school excursions to introduce water treatment technology and measures to support biodiversity. Since 2018, an event named Biodivesity Day organised annualy for students and teachers.
Positive results of measures
Altogether more than 30 species of native tree and shrub species were planted. Among the planted fruit trees, also 2 service trees (Sorbus domestica) were planted, which is a relatively rare fruit tree. Monitoring of bird species showed that 39 registered bird species find hunting or nesting territory in the area, including several rare species, for example the Eurasia Hobby (Falco subbuteo) - a species of national importance (rare - R). The Green Toad (Bufo viridis), a species of European importance (rare - R), breeds in the pond. The premises are increasingly suitable for school excursions, due to the addition of various elements, including educational. In 2019, for example, two wooden gutters were added to the pond, demonstrating the retention of water in various natural environments. In the years 2018 and 2019, the Biodiversity Day event was organized in the premises. Each event was attended by more than a hundred pupils and teachers from several primary schools in the region.
Motivation and goals
Protection of the environment and promotion of biodiversity has long been one of Veolia's commitments to sustainable development. By implementation of this project we wish to contribute to biodiversity preservation in a practical way and also demonstrate that large technical premises can be beneficial to our environment too. Veolia would also like to motivate other companies, educate pupils and the public and improve the quality of the working environment for its employees.
Characteristics of the area
The premises are located on the alluvial plain of the Hron River at the bottom of the Zvolen Basin. To the east and west it is surrounded by several hilly areas. The predominant natural vegetation in this locality were originally ash-elm oak forests - the so-called hard floodplain forests (Geobotanical Map of Slovakia, 1986). In the immediate vicinity of the area, on undulating plains and hills, the original natural vegetation type was Carpathian oak forests.
Mowing of meadows (2 employees) and cooperation with Ekopolis - appr. 3 workdays per month from April until October.
Costs for design and maintenance
The company invested appr. 4 thousand EUR in 2017 and 7 thousand EUR in 2018. Development and additions in 2019 cost about 1,500 EUR. (Total: about 13 thousand EUR). Routine annual maintenance is estimated to be 500 - 1,000 EUR. In addition to the above, the company finances also lecturing during elementary school excursions to the premises (since 2017) and the Biodiversity Day event (since 2018).
Benefits of BooGI-BOP project
In 2019, the project of biodiversity measures was interlinked with the BooGI-BOP project by transfer of experience of the partners and in the field of communication. Among other things, representatives of partner organizations in the BooGI-BOP project visited the premises during a PTM in Banská Bystrica in June 2019. This case is also the first example of good practice in the BooGI-BOP project from Slovakia.