From 1997 - 2002, around 250 hectares of valuable fenland at Federsee were restored with financial assistance from the EU through the LIFE+ development programme (the “Preservation and Development of Nature in the Federsee Landscape” project). The renewal of this EU sponsorship enabled us to achieve further improvement of habitats in the Federsee fen. The new LIFE+ project “Restoration of Habitats in the Federsee Fen” ran from 1st January 2009 until 31 March 2014.
The aims of this project were, above all, to restore and rewet large areas of fen meadow owned by the state. This will not only provide habitats for many rare species, but will also help to protect archaeological sites which have been preserved in the moist peat for many thousands of years. The Bronze Age “Forschner” settlement, for example, lied beneath a gliding airfield and could only be preserved through the removal of the airfield. A further objective was to complete the network of nature reserves at Federsee through the addition of the final reserve “NSG Steinhauser Ried” (Steinhauser Reedbeds Nature Reserve).
There are nearly 3000 hectares of habitats with Europe-wide significance in the Federsee fen, including extensive fenland, lime-rich marsh, restored blanket bog, transitional habitats and wet woodland. It is also home to significant populations of highly protected plant and animal species, including endangered species such as the European Weatherfish and Spined Loach fish species, the Marsh Fritillary butterfly, the Yellow-Bellied Toad and the Fen Orchid. There is even a species of beetle that has not been found anywhere else in Germany.