All the necessary measures of restoration and maintenance of the Aukštumala Telmological Reserve will be provided in the nature management plan. The majority of these measures will be implemented during the project, further works will be ensured by administration of Nemunas Delta Regional Park.
Nature management plan will be prepared by public body Nature Heritage Fund. Plan is expected to be confirmed in 2015.
In 1882, in the south-eastern part of Aukštumala raised bog, a peat mining factory was built, and since then manual peat excavation activities have been launched. The greatest changes in the raised bog took place in 1968, following installation of protective embankments, water pumping stations, roads and ditches. The intensive reclamation resulted in drainage of about 2/3 of the total bog area, which was subsequently designated for industrial peat-cutting. Although the status of the Reserve protects the western part of Aukštumala raised bog from further peat excavation, however, it does not protect this area from negative influence of draining. The areas adjacent to peat mining fields are drained most intensively, but ditches surround all the territory of the Reserve and cross it in several places as well. Total length of the ditches is approximately 150 km. Drainage causes a mineralization of the top layer of peat, as a result typical open habitats are replaced by woods and dwarf-shrubs.
Ditches could be grouped into three main groups. First group – magistral ditches – 8–10 m wide and 2–2.5 m deep. These ditches collect water from collecting ditches and serve for discharging water from the bog towards the pumping stations. Such ditches get narrower and shallower upstream down to 5–6 m wide and 1.5 m deep.
Second group – collecting ditches – 1.5 m wide and 1.5 m deep collect water from primary ditches. Ditches of such type go along the perimeter of the bog as well as intersect bog cupola every 500 meters. Peat subsidence and formation of valley is typical around these ditches. The third group – primary ditches – up to 1 m wide and 1 m deep, dug every 30, 40 or 60 meters. In the open raised bog they can be hardly distinguishable due to sedge cover, but in most cases well-functioning. In more degraded forested areas, big part of such ditches are dry most of the year.
Based on parameters of the ditches and quantity of water that discharges through them, four types of dams were proposed. These include: ground dams with overflow pipes for blocking of magistral ditches at their discharge points; peat dams with pipe blocks for blocking of primary ditches discharging through the pipes directly to deep peat-mining ditches; peat dams for blocking accessible primary ditches with degraded moss cover and small water discharge; plastic pilling dams for blocking upstream magistral, collecting ditches with their valleys and difficult to access primary ditches with high water discharge.
Based on a simplified hydrological regime restoration project, which was prepared by public body Nature Heritage Fund, 10 km of magistral ditches and about 80 km of primary and collectiong ditches will be dammed using plastic and peat material.
Due to the drainage impact Aukštumala raised bog is rather strongly overgrown by wood, especially the eastern part. That is why it is planed to cut down at least 100 ha of territory occupied by trees and shrubs. These measures will help reduce evapotranspiration and stop further degradation of raised bog. In the cut areas dams, which will raise the water table, will be constructed. Newly grown trees will be cut in the sites if necessary. All the tree cutting works will be coordinated with the ŠilutėStateForestEnterprise.