The site comprises a 260-km stretch of the Wis³a (Vistula) river flood-plain (of which about 190 km is embanked against floods), between W³oc³awek town in the south and Przegalina sluice (6 km from the Wis³a river mouth) in the north. The terrain is highly varied. Riverbanks or slopes are dozens of metres high in some places, very flat and low-lying in others. The riverbed itself constitutes about quarter of the site's area; the rest consists of meadows, scrub (mainly willow Salix), small patches of riverine forest, and numerous oxbow lakes and wetlands. The river passes through some quite large towns (e.g. Toruñ, Bydgoszcz, Grudzi¹dz, Tczew).
A total of 126 bird species have been recorded breeding or probably breeding at the site, including the largest number of Crex crex (153 calling males in 1998) at any site in the Wis³a valley. The area also supports significant parts of the national breeding populations of Charadrius hiaticula, Charadrius dubius, Sterna hirundo and Sterna albifrons. In 1994 a total of c.37,000 waterbirds were estimated to occur along the river in the late summer post-breeding period, and 46,500 in winter (mainly ducks).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The greatest threat is a potential one: the possible construction of a series of dams along the Wis³a river (`cascadization').
National Partial International NoneAbout 10,000 ha covered by Landscape Park (Zespó³ Nadwilañskich, 35,400 ha).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lower Vistula River Valley. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 31/03/2023.