Kirr Island in Germany

Naturefund and the National Park Office of Western Pomerania purchased 80.000 m² of territory on Kirr Island in the Baltic Sea to include the territory permanently in the National Park. Its saltmarsh meadows and the intact tideway system make Kirr Island a unique refuge for coastal birds.

A Coastal Bird Paradise

Location

The properties are located on Kirr Island, in a tongue of the Baltic Sea, between the mainland coast of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula.

Size

80.000 square meters. The entire Kirr Island is 3.5 km in length and 1.5 km in width, covering 370 hectares or 3,700,000 square metres.

Wildlife

Important breeding area for 23 different kinds of coastal birds, including bank snipe, oystercatcher, pied avocet and peewit. Special features are eight breeding pairs of the dunlin and the only breeding pair of the ruff within Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

Flora

Kirr Island is dominated by goat willow, as well as hare's foot, sea plantain, red fescue, sea pink and sea club-rush.

Special Characteristics

The drowned grassland of Kirr Island and its intact tideway system are remarkable peculiarities at the coast of the Baltic Sea, which is otherwise severely altered for coastal protection and land improvement. The island is submerged at high tides, but the tideways, help to drain a major part of the water from the estuary. Nevertheless, some water always remains standing in pools or evaporating in salt pans.

Kirr Island was always used as a pasture. Centuries of floods and treading beasts caused plant remains to be insulated from the air, creating unique coastal flood mires on the island.

Background

Kirr Island belongs to the National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft and is tended to by the National Park Office. The purpose of this project is to preserve this important breeding site at the German Baltic coast. By purchasing a part of the private property on the island, the National Park Office will be able to further protect the breeding places of water birds and shorebirds.

Partner

The National Park Office of Western Pomerania is a partner of this project. It administers the National Park Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft and the National Park Jasmund.

History

An 'Insule in Kyrre' was first mentioned in 1336. The modern name Kirr is recorded since approx. 1696 and signifies 'a place covered with shrubs or bushes'.

In the first half of the 20th century, there were two farms on the island - one of which has only ruins left standing. The other farm is located on the east side of the island. Kirr became an official bird protection zone in 1972 and a part of the National Park about 30 years ago in 1990.

Concept for Protection

The pastures are maintained by a landscape conservation company. Pasturing of the island by cattle helps to preserve the flood saltmarsh grassland.

 

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