500,000 square meters of new habitat for sand lizards

High priority for environmental protection in construction / close exchange with environmental authorities

Kassel. Almost 500,000 square meters of new habitat, 68,500 meters of fencing and more than 2,200 resettled creatures – protecting sand lizards is of great importance at the EUGAL construction site in Brandenburg.

The sand lizard is on the Red List in Brandenburg and enjoys strict protection according to the German Federal Nature Conservation Act. Hence preparation of the EUGAL construction, scheduled to last several years, was appropriately intensive. “Following close observations, we discovered that sand lizards were found or expected to be encountered in Brandenburg on 85 kilometers of the proposed route,” explains Michael Höhlschen, who is responsible at GASCADE for the approvals in Brandenburg.

The data was used to combine the required protection measures into a comprehensive concept. Managing this concept was especially demanding, since the sand lizards remain in their habitat throughout the year. The key element: “We have created optimally designed alternative habitats outside the working strip,” says Michael Höhlschen. This new habitat, covering a total of around 50 hectares on 43 subplots along the route, had to be prepared for the creatures before construction work began, in other words, enhanced through elements such as tree stumps and deadwood.

Other measures included putting up safety fences over a length of 68.5 kilometers between the construction site and the alternative habitats to ensure, on the one hand, that the sand lizards were protected from return migration and, on the other, that they could reach the new habitats on their own at any time. In addition, the remaining creatures in the working strip were collected and moved.

Each measure was also accompanied and monitored on site by the ecological construction supervisors. Ahead of the construction work, the ecological construction supervisors check both the fencing and the alternative habitats and the sand lizard population there. During the construction work, the supervisors protect the sand lizard population by regularly checking the pipe trenches and excavation pits and resettling any remaining creatures in the working strip. Their work also includes making improvements to the new habitats. Regular contact between the ecological construction supervisors, GASCADE, the construction companies and the responsible environmental authorities ensures effective protection for the sensitive creatures.

Once the protective strip for the pipeline in the forest has been recultivated after EUGAL has been laid, this sunny strip will be willingly accepted by the sand lizards, thus creating more habitat for this species. Protective strips for pipelines offer ideal conditions for the sand lizard and other sun-loving creatures.