The site comprises the Polish part of this large, shallow coastal lagoon (up to 5 m deep) of brackish water, which is cut off from the Baltic Sea by the Wila spit. A narrow channel in the Russian part of the lagoon, through which sea water flows during heavy storms, joins the water-body with the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Gdañsk). There is some river flow to the Polish part of the lagoon from the west, comprising a few branches of the Wis³a (Vistula) river deriving from the uplands. The water-level fluctuates significantly on a daily basis (by up to 1.5 m) because of wind effects. There are extensive reedbeds (Phragmites) along the shore, forming one or two belts up to 100 m wide, as well as rich floating and submerged vegetation (Nymphaea, Potamogeton) which supports a very rich invertebrate and fish fauna. Land-uses include intensive reed-harvesting (`Other').
The site regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds, mainly wildfowl Anser/Anas. Breeding species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (at least one pair), Crex crex (4-10 pairs). The most important parts of the site for birds in general are Elbl¹g Bay and the Pas³êka mouth. Non-breeding birds occur mainly in the coastal zone, from Przebrno village to the Pas³êka mouth.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Heavy nutrient pollution from agriculture, industry and domestic sewage is a threat. Birds become trapped in fish-nets. The changes in water-level affect breeding birds. Intensive reed-harvesting is also a problem (`Other'). The entire IBA lies within the buffer zones of two Landscape Parks (Mierzeja Wilana, 22,390 ha; Wzniesienie Elbl¹skie, 48,591 ha), approximately equally divided between the two.
National Low International None420 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Zatoka Elbl¹ska, 420 ha).
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vistula Lagoon. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 28/09/2022.