Stop the Plans to Upgrade the Oder!

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What a crooked thing!

Larger icebreakers are being built to support the flood protection argument. And so that they can float at all, a loan is taken out with which the entire river is to be ploughed up.

What's behind it?

Poland intends to expand the Border Oder on its side with major interventions to the detriment of nature and flood protection. These construction measures are funded by the World Bank and the EU because they supposedly serve to protect against floods. The federal government does not reject the expansion and, apart from the usual participation procedures, does not want to do anything about it. This expansion is based on a German-Polish agreement from 2015. This waterway agreement on the joint improvement of the situation in the German-Polish border area was signed by the Federal Transport Minister and the Polish Environment Minister. The expansion of the Oder is intended to ensure that future flood discharge conditions are optimized, and stable fairway conditions are ensured, especially for the use of the German-Polish icebreaker fleet.

Behind the fig leaf flood protection are primarily economic interests. The German side would like the “Klucz-Ustowo ditch” to be expanded so that large ships from Szczecin can reach Schwedt and the LEIPA paper mill. However, this is on Polish territory and Poland is only ready for this expansion if the Oder is expanded for large inland vessels.

When was the last flood in winter? When and where did previous icebreakers have problems on the Oder?

The reality is that the construction work even worsens the flood protection for the people on the Oder, because the highest point of the Oder dyke in Hohenwutzen, which could only be held with difficulty during the great flood of 1997, is lowered even further.

The Oder is still a largely natural river landscape. According to an expert report commissioned by the environmental associations, the construction measures would damage the sensitive Natura 2000 areas, including endanger the only floodplain national park, Lower Oder Valley.

An upgrade by deepening the Oder would lead to a general lowering of the groundwater level and thus increasingly to the drying up of the floodplains. Species and habitats that rely on the floodplains would be endangered.

Facts show that regulating the river increases the risk of flooding. In a natural river valley, the water would have time to plunge into the ground and at the same time restore water resources - including what we drink.

Therefore, more space and no restrictions, that is what the Oder needs to be able to cope with flood situations.

We experience more drought and it worries us. Any further intervention in the landscape water balance is no longer acceptable. But water retention, natural bodies of water, these are the tasks of the time and this will have to be much stronger in the next few years.

Even with a deepening of the Oder, navigability would not be guaranteed, because the increasingly frequent low water levels due to droughts make economic shipping even less feasible.

We must rethink and plan for the long term. There must be an investment in nature. Conservation can also be profitable and is an insurance against the risks of the climate crisis by increasing the resilience of ecosystems. By the way, environmental degradation also promotes pandemics!

That's why:

Stop the Oder expansion plans!

Give up the "Klucz-Ustowo ditch"!

Take up talks with the responsible Polish politicians. The river must not separate Germany and Poland. However, these insane plans destroy our common living space.

We demand that the responsible State Government and the Federal Government take a stand and inform the people of Brandenburg.

What facts are used to justify the plans for the “flow control concept for flood protection”?

What are the potential risks for people in the Oderbruch in particular?

Is the agreement at all compatible with the applicable EU nature conservation directives, especially in the specially protected areas? A few weeks ago, the EU Commission adopted the goal in its biodiversity strategy: 30% of the land and sea area should be placed under protection by 2030! How does that fit in with these expansion plans?

What effects does it have on tourism in the region, which has been promoting the uniqueness of the near-natural river for years and guaranteeing residents an economic income with their offers?

Katrin Dobbrick, Stolzenhagen-Lunow

Elizabeth Pankhurst, Hohenwutzen