A large unregulated stretch of the Wis³a (Vistula) river, from Go³¹b village to P³ock town (226 km long), with numerous sand islands. Some islands are bare, others have a herb layer, and high islands have scrub of willow Salix and poplar Populus. There are sand-dunes. The riverbanks and flood terrace are used mainly for intensive collection of willow Salix stems (for planting on riverbanks, dunes, etc., and as material for crafts), and intensive cattle-grazing on meadows and pastures. The river is used by boat traffic.
An important site for staging migrants such as waders and passerines, and for wintering waterbirds, of which more than 20,000 occur regularly, mainly ducks. Breeding species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Aythya nyroca (two pairs), Crex crex (five pairs).
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Threats are posed by intensive cattle-grazing on the islands, sand-mining of the riverbed, flooding (natural), felling of riverside trees, unsustainable duck hunting, fish poaching, and disturbance to nesting birds by willow collectors. The greatest threats are potential: there are plans for dredging and canalization of the river, to create a narrow channel without islands, oxbow lakes or meanders, as well as plans for the building of water-storage reservoirs at P³ock, Wyszogród, and near Warszawa.
National High International None5,215 ha of IBA covered by 14 Nature Reserves (Kêpa Antoniñska; Kêpa Rakowska; Kêpa Wykowska; Kêpy Kazuñskie; £achy Brzeskie; £awice Kie³piñskie; £awice Troszyñskie; Ruska Kêpa; Wikliny Wilane; Wyspy Bia³obrzeskie; Wyspy widerskie; Wyspy Zakrzewskie; Wyspy Zawadowskie; Zakole Zakroczymskie; combined area of 5,215 ha). 19,000 ha of IBA covered by Protected Landscape Areas (names not available, total area 220,000 ha).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Middle Vistula River Valley. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 21/01/2020.