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Norway Grants: Rago call projects will address invasive species and habitats in lignite quarries

Norway Grants will newly support fourteen projects focusing on innovations in the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems. Successful applicants from the two-round call Rago will receive over 162 million Czech crowns. The call, which aimed to support the application of the outputs of scientific research projects to practical environmental protection or to support the transfer of examples of best practice from abroad, draws funds from Norway Grants ENVIRONMENT, ECOSYSTEM AND CLIMATE CHANGE programme 2014-2021.

The interest in supporting this type of project was really great and the Fund will respond to it by slightly increasing the budget of the call so that more projects reach the grants. We will be able to support projects worth almost 170 million Czech crowns,” says Petr Valdman, director of the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic.

It was possible to obtain support from the Rago call in the range of 5.2 to 26 million Czech crowns for projects aimed at protecting ecosystems and biodiversity through the application of new innovative methods. In the first round of the call, the projects were first evaluated by an Expert Committee, which recommended 19 of the 31 submitted project proposals in the second round of the call. Successful applicants for the second round include, for example, the Czech Union for Nature Conservation, which will address regional seed mixtures as an effective tool for protecting the biodiversity of meadow ecosystems, VSB – Technical University of Ostrava with a project focusing on incubation methods for endangered fish and lamprey, and the Municipal Museum of Ústí nad Labem which brings a project for habitat management in the area of ​​large coal quarries in the Most region. An important part of the Norway Grants ENVIRONMENT, ECOSYSTEM, AND CLIMATE CHANGE programme is the support of cooperation that arises between Czech entities and at the international level.

Therefore, we were pleased that a large number of partner organizations from the Czech Republic and other European countries participated in the projects and within this call. Foreign partners include, for example, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, the Slovak Ornithological Society, and the British Coventry University. In addition, if we see the potential for deeper mutual cooperation during the administration of the application, we always inform the applicants and provide them with contact,” adds Petr Valdman.

This happened for example, in the case of the Rago call to projects of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague and Czech Society for Ornithology, which both focus on the topic of floating islands as a tool for increasing the biodiversity of water ecosystems, State Environmental Fund offers them an opportunity to exchange experiences and active cooperation on promoting this topic.

The implementation of supported projects will be completed by 30 April 2024, when the current period of the Norway Grants ends.

On the Pilot Farm “Amalie” will introduce innovative instruments for landscape adaptation and biodiversity promotion

The Czech University of Life Sciences has prepared the largest project of the Rago call. The Amalie location in the area of Rakovník is the venue of one of the pilot projects of the so-called smart landscape. In the project, specific activities are made to increase the adaptation of the landscape to climate change. At the area of about 500 hectares of agricultural land in the University’s assets, measures are realized mainly for effective water management, planting new alleys, restoring natural wetland, ensuring erosion of endangered slopes, adjustment of sowing procedures or monitoring the hydrological regime. All measures work in harmony. The resulting complex solution uses the current state of knowledge and transmits the latest scientific knowledge into practice.

Amalie is a major and unique environment for Czech University of Life Sciences, which for many years has been representing an active and innovative approach of many disciplines to solve the challenges associated with climate change. It also serves its concept as a demonstration location and informs the widest public directly in the field through the nature trail on individual implementations.

The project supported by the Rago call will allow us to significantly expand existing activities on Amalia, in particular the promotion of agroforestry, solar energy technology-driven water pumping, providing soiled systems, extending data collection and further promotion to the public. There is a support decision system that allows the transfer of actions being developed to other endangered areas. Support by Norway Grants is indispensable for the development of the concept of the smart landscape itself, but, as can be seen from the successes of our project researchers, as well as other activities of the Faculty of Environmental Sciences,” describes the planned activities the project manager Petr Máca.

The complete list of supported projects is published on the website of the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic.