The Port of Riga is one of the rare ports in Europe, whose territory contains several protected nature reserves, which occupy a total 75 ha of the port’s area. Protected nature territories within the Port of Riga include the Krēmeri nature reserve and Mīlestības Isle, which is part of the Piejūra nature park.
Thus, in addition to the duties related to operations of the Port of Riga and its development, the Freeport of Riga Authority invests funds and manages and maintains protected territories.
It is necessary to provide protected nature territories with management especially tailored to meet their needs. Territorial overgrowth of bushes and reeds, pollution with household waste and construction debris are the most significant threats that could significantly impact the number of birds and reduce diversity. Therefore, in collaboration with the Nature Conservation Agency and ornithologists, the Freeport of Riga Authority regularly monitors the territory, agreeing on the necessary measures for its maintenance. As part of environmental monitoring, water fowl monitoring is also regularly conducted, which includes annual tracking of nesting water fowl. Water fowl tracking takes place not only in the protected territories of Mīlestības Isle and Krēmeri, but also on Žurku Isle, which, in accordance with ornithologists’ recommendations, the Freeport of Riga Authority maintains as a nesting habitat for birds of the Lari suborder.
At the start of this year, the Freeport of Riga Authority completed work on improving nesting conditions for water fowl in the Krēmeri nature reserve. Previously, in collaboration with LU Institute of Biology, it was ascertained that the Krēmeri should be managed to provide the biotopes suitable for water fowl nesting. In accordance with recommendations made by experts, the Freeport of Riga Authority transformed the vegetation at the Krēmeri nature reserve, adapting it to the specific nesting requirements of water fowl. In the opinion of experts, the work has been done professionally, properly and in accordance with the set goals.
The Krēmeri nature reserve was founded in 1993 with the goal of preserving and protecting an important nesting site for birds in the city of Riga. This national nature reserve is located on the left bank of the Daugava, within the territory of the Freeport of Riga between Voleri and Krēmeri and occupies an area of 15 ha. A muddy water body is located in the eastern part of the reserve. Here one can find two species of birds protected in both Latvia and Europe: the Eurasian bittern Botaurus stellaris and Western marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus, as well as a specially protected species in Latvia: Savi’s warbler Locustella luscinioides. Based on water fowl monitoring data, as well as Nature Conservation Agency and ornithologists’ findings, the work done over the course of several years by the Freeport of Riga Authority in the Krēmeri nature reserve has had positive consequences. Despite the close proximity of port operations, water fowl actively nest within the territory, including rare and endangered bird species, thus preserving biological diversity within the port territory.