There are large and small circles on a city map that show where nature conservation is to be expanded in Munich. The big squiggles are landscape protection areas (LSG) with rare plants and animals, some of them are to be new, some to be revised. The smaller squiggles stand for new “protected landscape elements”, they stand for what makes Munich quite unique as a big city in Germany: Here, living creatures feel at home on barren railway embankments, in a former industrial site or on remaining heather areas, which are nowhere else in this multitude in Germany.
Everything that is marked on the map is part of a concept for new protected areas that the planning department presented to the city council. The planning committee debated this in a video session on Wednesday and welcomed the concept by a majority. A vote is due at the next General Assembly next Wednesday.
For almost two decades, experts from environmental organizations such as Bund Naturschutz (BN) and Landesbund für Vogelschutz (LBV) have been pushing for valuable biotopes to be given a safe status. But that’s not that easy: The government of Upper Bavaria is responsible for large areas of more than ten hectares, but it has too few staff to process the processes. But the city has done a lot of preparatory work so that – so it is hoped – five such larger biotopes can soon be placed under protection by the government.
In each case, it is a matter of “‘second-hand biotopes’, that is, man-made sites that nature has recaptured”, says the resolution proposed by City Planning Councilor Elisabeth Merk. Two of them are in the Feldmoching-Hasenbergl district: the dry biotope Virginia-Depot, where tanks used to be loaded, and gravel, lean and fallow areas at the marshalling yard. The other three are the Neuaubing track warehouse, the Pasing track triangle and an extension of the Langwieder Heide. “We welcome the fact that our demands are finally being implemented,” says Rudolfüdel, Managing Director of BN in Munich.
For conservationists, the concept is just “a good start”
The LBV and BN pointed out many areas worthy of protection twenty years ago, such as the planned Isar-Solln landscape park, “one of the largest green spaces in the south of Munich,” as Merk writes. This belongs to the category of the planned new landscape protection areas, which concern the protection of the character of a landscape, but which can be used relatively freely. More strictly regulated nature reserves are about the protection of certain habitats, as well as animal and plant species, there are strict prohibitions on change and often also entry bans. Such areas are not planned in Munich.
In the LSG category, the city is planning seven new projects: In addition to Isar-Solln, the Isar-Mitte areas (Isarring to the south including the English Garden to the Braunau railway bridge) as well as Hirschau and Obere Isarau are to be amended, and the 360-hectare Moosgrund in Munich is to be amended Northeast got LSG status. In a second step, the Eschenrieder Moos, the Ludwigsfelder Flur and the Freihamer Feld are to receive the rank of LSG.
For nature conservationists such as Rudolfrautel from the BN, the package, which also lists smaller areas such as the Kuchenmeistermoor north-west of Lochhausen and tree populations at Gut Warnberg in the extreme south of Munich, “is a good start. But a lot more has to happen”. Not included, for example, is the West Landscape Park between Laim, Pasing, Blumenau and Graefelfing, which was actually decided by the city council decades ago.
The areas on the Isar are of course particularly important for a large part of Munich’s population. Since its renaturation, the river has become a magnet for visitors – at least when the sun is shining. But that also creates problems. That is why the city administration’s experts want to examine how the “unique landscape and urban space should be protected and developed” for the Isar-Mitte area. There has often been a dispute over this in recent years: Although the renaturation of the Isar was also intended to provide Munich residents with near-natural freedom on the river, there are not a few who are calling for a purely protected area there – without a cultural beach, Isar bath and gastronomy in Near the river.
It is the so-called conflicts of use that also pose a problem for the city administration. For three years there was a round table on the question of how the Isar could or should be used in the city. City planning councilor Elisabeth Merk was in charge here as well. But since January 1st, the Lower Nature Conservation Authority has moved from the planning department to the department for climate and environmental protection founded a year ago. The paper on the new protected areas is like Merk’s last greeting to her colleague, environmental officer Christine Kugler, who is now responsible for the protected areas.
In the committee debate, Angelika Pilz-Strasser (Greens) emphasized the importance of protecting additional areas from interference, especially against the background that the city is desperately looking for areas for housing. That is why she is particularly pleased that the Moosgrund is becoming a LSG, after all, this “large area is in the immediate vicinity of the SEM Nordost”, where living space for up to 30,000 people is to be created.
Dirk Höpner proposed an amendment for the ÖDP / Munich List parliamentary group, including the aim of expanding the protected area at the marshalling yard to include the Eggarten allotment garden. This area is clearly visible on a detailed map of the planned new protected area. A new building area with up to 2000 apartments is being planned in Eggarten. “We call this the investor protection area,” said Höpner. Paul Bickelbacher (Greens) countered this by stating that protected areas could only be designated where there was no development plan. But this is already in the works for the Eggarten, so it is no longer an option as a protected area.