Floating artificial islands

Floating artificial islands

Intensively managed fishponds are considered the most important breeding habitat for waterbirds as nesting sites as well as for rearing of young in central Europe. In recent decades, pervasive environmental change (incl. climate change) has deeply impacted waterbirds’ population dynamics across their breeding distribution. Most key drivers of population change, such as reproduction success, are strongly dependent on breeding site environmental conditions. The lack of suitable nesting sites, therefore, leads to both inter- and intra-specific competition for this critical resource, with far-reaching consequences for the population dynamics of many species.

In this context, this project aims to increase the ecological value of manmade wetlands (i.e. fishponds) by creating new suitable nesting sites and enhancing the ecological conditions of fish ponds to meet the breeding requirement of a group of selected waterbird species  (Mallard, Gadwall, Red-crested Pochard, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Black-headed Gull and Common Tern). The intervention proposed in this project consists in the implementation of a network of floating artificial islands in intensively managed fishponds through Nature-based Solutions (NbS). These breeding islands will directly provide the actual requirements needed by waterbirds to breed on but, importantly, will also create and enhance the entire local ecosystem by supporting the macrophyte vegetation and provide suitable habitat for the development of other freshwater organisms, such as microorganisms, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, and fishes.

The breeding requirements for the different species regarding vegetation cover, substrate, height of the island above the surface, etc. will be considered while building the islands. Gradual implementation of the floating artificial islands in fishponds (implementation in two stages during 2022 and 2023) will precede the delivery of the primary goal, which is anticipated to be achieved by April 2024 (increase breeding numbers of waterbirds in fishponds). The gains for other biodiversity are also expected but at a later stage. 

Parameters and deployment of individual floating islands will be based on the monitoring of the abundance and reproductive parameters of the selected species as well as the management of individual fishponds. Regarding the technical part of this project, the artificial islands technology has been developed by our partner Water Management Development and Construction joint stock Company. These islands have already been tested and are suitable for implementation in temperate climate zone, increase the ‘land’ available for breeding waterbirds within the waterbody, decrease the nutrient load and increase the overall ecological value of the wetland.

Project info


Project title: The implementation of floating artificial islands for improvement of breeding conditions for waterbirds and increase of biodiversity in fishpond ecosystems

Funding: Norway Grants

Budget: 12 968 000 CZK 

Project period: 2022-2024

Project coordinator:
Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague
Mgr. Zuzana Musilová, Ph.D.

Project partners:  
Water Management Development and Construction joint stock Company (VRV)

Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)

Associated partners:  
Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Sev.en Energy AG, Regional Office of the South Bohemian Region


Diego Pavòn-Jòrdan
Researcher, NINA

Michaela Kopřivová Stejskalová
Project Administrator

Zuzana Musilová
Principal investigator of the project


Live birdwatching from Vrbenské ponds

The project team has installed webcams on some of the artificial islands, which facilitate the monitoring of nesting birds and allow experts to examine the behavior of birds in detail and help identifying predation.

A continuous live stream is broadcasted for the public from two cameras on this page.

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