Project name: “The development of monitoring programs for species and habitat types of EU interest” under the Operational Programme “Competitiveness and Cohesion” (OPCC) project “Development of Monitoring Systems for Species and Habitat Types”, Lot 7: Development of a monitoring program for otter with capacity building of the stakeholder monitoring and reporting system
Client: Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development
Period: 12/2021 – 09/2023
The goal of the contract is the development of a monitoring program for the otter species, for which the Republic of Croatia is obliged to report to the EU in accordance with Article 17 of Council Directive 92/43/EEC from May 21, 1992, on the preservation of natural habitats and wild fauna and flora. This directive was last amended and supplemented by Council Directive 2013/17/EU dated May 13, 2013, on the adaptation of certain directives in the area of the environment due to the accession of the Republic of Croatia and the strengthening of the capacity of the stakeholders of the monitoring and reporting system. As part of the service, the Executor performed work packages (RP) 0 ‒ 3:
- Work package 0: Creation of a work plan for contract execution
As part of this work package, the Executor created a work plan for the execution of the contract with the activities shown for each work package, as well as the planned resources needed for the execution of the activities, the planned deadlines for the execution of the activities and the deliverables, their content and method of delivery.
- Work package 1: Testing of the otter conservation status monitoring program and establishment of otter conservation status reference values
As part of this work package, the Executor revised the existing conservation monitoring program for the otter (Jelić 2013) and performed field testing of the revised monitoring program. As part of the revision of the existing program for monitoring the state of preservation for the otter, the Executor performed GIS processing and analysis of all collected data on the abundance and distribution of the otter from 2007 to the end of 2022, and a spatial habitats baseline of where the otter can reside, and specific locations to conduct testing of the revised monitoring program for the otter was created. The locations were determined by using already known locations where the otter was researched in the past while adding new suitable locations. A testing plan for the revised otter conservation monitoring program was developed, in which the spatio-temporal dynamics of conducting field research were elaborated in detail. Field research was carried out on about 50% of the otter’s distribution territory, including all biogeographic regions, and within each biogeographic region, testing was carried out on about 50% of the species’ distribution area. In addition to field research by searching the terrain in search of traces of otter presence, photo traps were also used to confirm the presence of otter in a certain number of 10x10km quadrants of the HTRS96 network. After the conducted field research, the Executor prepared two reports on the conducted testing of the revised otter conservation monitoring program. For the purpose of creating the report, extensive analyses of the collected data were carried out in GIS tools as well as analytical processing of the collected data.
- Work package 2: Refinement of the conservation status monitoring program for the otter
In accordance with the results of the testing conducted through WP1, the existing program for monitoring the preservation state for the otter was refined in such a way that individual elements of the program were corrected and improved in accordance with the results of the testing. As part of this work package, the final document – Program for monitoring the state of preservation for the otter – was created.
- Work package 3: Stakeholder education (monitoring and reporting system) for monitoring the state of otter conservation
The purpose of this work package is to strengthen the professional knowledge of all stakeholders of the monitoring and reporting system (Client excluded), which includes the central state administration bodies responsible for nature protection, agriculture, forestry, water management, fisheries, culture and economy, public institutions for the management of protected areas and areas of the Natura 2000 ecological network at the national, regional (regional) and local levels, units of regional (regional) and local self-government, Hrvatske vode, Croatian Forests, and civil society organizations operating in the field of nature protection. As part of this work package, the document “Stakeholders’ Education Plan” was prepared, in which an analysis of potential implementers of the otter monitoring and reporting system and a proposal for the time and space schedule for holding educational workshops was made. Three workshops were held, one in each biogeographical region, which consisted of lectures on otters and current knowledge about otters, as well as a segment that included fieldwork, where signs of otter presence were searched, as well as methods of keeping registration forms. After the workshops, the “Report on Stakeholder Education” document was created.