Natura 2000 is a Europe-wide system of protected areas created by all EU member states according to the same set of principles. The aim of the system is to protect animal and/or plant species and natural habitats which are particularly valuable, rare or endangered in the European context, or which are unique to a particular geographical area.
The Natura system in the Czech Republic consists of Special Protection Areas (SPA – in Czech ‘Ptačí oblast’, literally ‘Bird Area’) and Sites of Community Importance/Special Areas of Conservation (SCI/SAC – in the Czech Republic grouped together under the single designation ‘Evropsky významná lokalita’, literally meaning ‘Areas of European Importance’).
Special Protection Areas (SPA)
Two SPAs are located within Ostrava’s boundaries – Poodří in the south-west of the city and Heřmanský stav–Odra–Poolší in the north-east.
The boundaries of the Poodří SPA are identical with the Protected Landscape Area (PLA) of the same name (a PLA is an area protected at national level, by Czech legislation). Protected species in this SPA are the great bittern (Botaurus stellaris), the western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) and the gadwall (Anas strepera) and their biotopes.
Protected species in the SPA Heřmanský stav–Odra–Poolší are the little bittern, the common kingfisher, the bluethroat and their biotopes.
Sites of Community Importance (SCI)
The purpose of the protection is to ensure optimum habitats for protected species: the lesser ramshorn snail, the European fire-bellied toad, the large copper butterfly, the dusky large blue butterfly, the European weather loach, the hermit beetle, the great crested newt, and the thick-shelled river mussel.
The SCI covers the Odra River plus other valuable biotopes in the PLA Poodří and its vicinity. The SCI has an area of 5235 ha. Other SCI areas are the SCI Děhylovský potok – Štěpán and the SCI Heřmanický rybník.