Stredoslovenská vodárenská prevádzková spoločnosť, a.s. (StVPS) – Wastewater Treatment Plant Rakytovce
"We implement measures for practical protection and support of biodiversity in our premises as the first large company in Slovakia. We would like to make this an example for the others and show that thanks to various implementations, such as the construction of a pond, planting of native tree species or the installation of insect hotels also a large industrial area can become an oasis for biodiversity and contribute to the environmental protection of the surrounding area."
StVPS is a water company with regional scope, a member of Veolia Slovakia. The project for the support of 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 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 were planted to create a forest park habitat on a selected meadow, about 30 more trees will be added. 90 shrubs of native species were planted on the slopes to create a hedge. 10 fruit trees were planted. A water habitat was constructed - a pond supplied with rainwater from the roof of a nearby building. 25 birdboxes of various types, boxes for bats, 3 insect hotels, and a shelter for hedgehogs and a dormice were installed. 50 artificial nests for house martins were installed at the administrative building. The bird species present in the area were surveyed in 2020. The mowing of two meadows was gradually given up in order to increase the biodiversity of the meadow community and transform them into flowering meadows. 3 information boards and several signs were installed. Since 2017, school trips to introduce water treatment technology and measures to support biodiversity have been organized. Since 2018, the event "Biodivesity Day" takes place 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, 2 service trees (Sorbus domestica) were planted, which is a relatively rare fruit tree. The bird survey showed that 39 bird species have a settled hunting or nesting territory in the area, including several rare species, for example the Eurasian hobby (Falco subbuteo) - a species of national importance. The green toad (Bufo viridis), a species of European importance, breeds in the pond. The premises are increasingly suitable for school excursions thanks to the addition of various educational elements. In 2019, for example, two wooden gutters were added to the pond, demonstrating the retention of water in 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 students and teachers from several primary schools in the region.
Motivation and goals
The protection of the environment and the promotion of biodiversity has long been one of Veolia's commitments to sustainable development. By implementing this project we wish to contribute to biodiversity preservation in a practical way and also demonstrate that large company premises can be beneficial to our environment too. Veolia would also like to motivate other companies, educate students and the general public and improve the quality of the work 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 hills. The predominant natural vegetation in this area were originally ash-elm oak forests - the so-called hardwood floodplain forests. 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 activities in cooperation with Ekopolis - appr. 3 workdays per month from April until October.
Costs for design and maintenance
The company invested appr. 4000 EUR in 2017 and 7000 EUR in 2018. Development and additions in 2019 cost about 1500 EUR. (Total: about 13000 EUR). Routine annual maintenance is estimated to cost 500 - 1000 EUR. In addition to the above, the company also finances lectures during elementary school trips to the premises (since 2017) and the Biodiversity Day event (since 2018).
Benefits of the BooGI-BOP project
In 2019, the project of biodiversity measures was interlinked with the BooGI-BOP project by transfer of experiences and communication between the partners. Among other things, representatives of partner organizations of the BooGI-BOP project visited the premises during in June 2019. This case is also the first example of good practice in the BooGI-BOP project in Slovakia.