The largest Polish river and a beloved cultural and historical symbol for the people, Vistula is often called the Queen of Polish rivers. Once heavily polluted, it has been restored to its natural glory by generations of dedicated Poles. Today Vistula is an ecosystem bristling with life and home to one of the most precious fish species – the Atlantic salmon. Vistula is also one of the last large European rivers which maintained their natural character, a precious habitat for many rare and endangered species. It forms an important wildlife corridor for migratory fish species such as the Atlantic salmon, the Brown trout, the Atlantic sturgeon, the European eel, the Twait shad and the European lamprey. Each year flocks of migratory birds such as cranes, geese and ducks find refuge in the lower Vistula valley – an essential stop in their long and perilous journeys. In order to protect its exceptional biodiversity of species and habitats, two Natura 2000 sites were designated in the lower reaches of Vistula, both of them being in danger of adverse negative impacts of Elektrownia Północ.
Dolina Dolnej Wisły (Lower Vistula Valley, PLB040003) is a bird protection area of international import. 28 species of rare birds listed in Annex I to the Birds Directive nest here, including the marsh harrier, the white-tailed eagle, the common tern and the little tern (10% of the Polish population!). 9 species of birds native to this area have been listed in the Polish Red Book of Endangered Species. 1% of Poland’s population of the common goldeneye winters here. Golden plovers, Eurasian curlews and cranes are among thousands of birds that visit the meadows along Vistula in their annual migrations.
The area is located 5,9 km from Elektrownia Północ planned location, water intake and water waste discharge would be located within the area.
Dolna Wisła (Lower Vistula, PLH220033) is an area designated to protect precious habitats and species other than birds. It protects 9 habitats listed in Annex I to the Habitats Directive and 15 animal species from Annex II including fish: the asp viper, the amur bitterling, the sabrefish, the Atlantic salmon, the Atlantic sturgeon, several species of bats and other mammals (wolf, otter), the European fire-bellied toad and a rare insect Tachysphex fulvitarsus. The area is also crucial for protection of local landscape and cultural heritage.
The area is located 4,1 km east of Elektrownia Północ planned location, water intake and water waste discharge would be located within the area.