Hünenberg, 07.02.2020

The canton of Zug is planning two nature paradises

Ponds are to be created in Unterhünenberg to promote biodiversity. The possibility of also creating a water storage option will also be investigated.

Stagnant water may seem unsavoury to people. For some animal species, however, this is nothing less than a paradise on earth. For frogs and toads, for example. But the problem here is that there are not many of these paradises left. Two such areas will now be created in the Schachenwiti in Unterhünenberg, where the cantonal Office for Space and Transport (Amt für Raum und Verkehr) plans to create ponds. The water surface area of the ponds will be 260 or 70 m2, with a depth of about 1 metre.

The soil in the Schachenwiti is very damp, and thereby ideal for standing bodies of water.

The location near the Chamau is characterised by its moisture. You can see that in the name ‘Schachenwiti’, because, according to the "Zug Name Book" (Zuger Namenbuch), the word ‘Schachen’ means ‘wet land, interspersed with bushes and trees, as well as smaller and larger woods, sometimes without any proximity to a body of water’. The term ‘witi’ is simply equated with ‘width’. According to Stefan Rey, the project manager responsible for species protection at the above-mentioned office, four locations in the Schachenwiti were initially examined. In the southern part, where the two ponds are planned, the groundwater was only five to ten centimetres below the surface. "An ideal place, where standing water can be created with little effort, or simply with the removal of surface material," explains Rey. The ponds were actually planned for completion by trhe coming spring. Due to the ‘delays in the building permit procedure’, however - which were not explained in more detail - the two ponds in the Schachenwiti will possibly only be created in the autumn, which is clearly after the frogs have spawned.

The Schachenwiti project also includes the construction of a slide valve, which will dam up the water from a drainage canal, and could be used to set a precedent. "We want to test how the damming of old ditches works, and whether this could help make more water available for nature in hot summers," explains Stefan Rey. He also says the canton is looking for more pond locations, with the landowners receiving financial compensation for the land made available.

Standing water is of the utmost importance for plants and animals, emphasises project manager Rey. It would not only be frogs and toads - which, according to the specialist, " enjoy a high level of acceptance among the population" - that would benefit from this, but hundreds of other species.