Your Vote for CMAS Diving for Conservation!Science 26.06.2020
The European Commission is proud to announce the finalists of the 2020 European Natura 2000 Award. All 27 finalists are being considered for one of the five category Awards. But now is also your chance to vote for your favourite. The finalist who receives the highest number of votes will receive the EU Citizens’ Award.
Your vote for the project of the German CMAS federation and NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union):
The relationship between recreational divers and conservationists can sometimes be tense and prone to prejudice. While recreational divers may see conservationists as an obstacle to their sporting activities, conservationists tend to overestimate the impact of divers on biodiversity and underestimate their interest in nature. This initiative sought to bring the two worlds together through joint action in support of conservation.
There are more than 5 600 lakes in the north-eastern regions of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. Over time, many have gone from oligotrophic (i.e. nutrient poor and oxygen rich) to meso- or even eutrophic waters, which has not only affected their fauna but also significantly changed their characteristic floral composition. The original habitat type is now in an unfavourable conservation status across most of the EU.
Conservationists began by training recreational divers in botanical and ecological surveys and discussing possible management solutions with them, which helped to break down past prejudices on both sides. This new collaboration also gives scuba divers an opportunity to explore lakes from a new perspective and enables them to contribute to the lakes’ conservation by regularly monitoring water conditions and macrophyte levels. Conservationists, administrations and private land owners benefit as well, since they can use this data as an early-warning system to indicate changes in a lake’s condition and, so, adapt their management measures accordingly.