The Oder river brings water all the way from the Czech Republic down to the Baltic Sea. In 2022 it attracted international attention after a mysterious disaster killed off millions of Oder fish in just a few days. Experts were stumped as to what caused this mass extinction. It was eventually narrowed down to the illegal discharge of pollution into the river and exacerbated by climate change. In our fifth mission we set out to create a more resilient river by using its tributaries to create a lifeline for the struggling Oder.
During the 2022 Oder river disaster, millions of fish fled into the Oder’s tributaries to seek refuge. These tributaries are often overlooked, but are crucial to the health of any river ecosystem.
The Planet Wild community funded the creation of new breeding grounds for fish in two of the Oder’s tributaries: the Ina and Gowienica rivers. This was done by replenishing the river beds with gravel. Alongside new breeding grounds, the method improves oxygenation, water cleansing and supports new habitats.
We teamed up with Artur Furdyna who has spent the last 20 years bringing biodiversity back to the Oder and its tributaries. He came up with a revolutionary rewilding method that uses gravel to undo the harm humans have done to the tributary streams over hundreds of years. The gravel replenishes damaged riverbeds, encouraging biodiversity to return to these waterways. Artur is part of Rewilding Oder Delta, a large and vibrant rewilding network that aims to implement the concept of rewilding throughout Europe. In 2015 the Oder Delta became the eighth rewilding region in Europe.