Novozámecký rybník National Nature Reserve

Novozámecký rybník NNR (Novozámecký Fishpond) was first declared a protected area in 1933 on a territory of 357.89 ha. as an ornithological reserve, a waterbird nesting site with reedbeds and for the neighbouring peaty meadows with typical flora. The reserve lies in a shallow basin at the confluence of the Mlýnský potok and Bobří potok streams at an elevation of 252 metres above sea level, a few kilometres south of the town of Česká Lípa in the Liberecký kraj – Liberec Region.

The fishpond was apparently founded in around 1416 A.D. as a part of the so-called Holanské rybníky fishpond complex. At the end of the 18th century the pond still covered around 300 ha and the surface reached to the Jestřebí – Provodín road. At the end of the 18th century and during the 19th century the water level was lowered and the surface area reduced dramatically. From the beginning of the 20th century the fishpond was cultivated in an extensive manner. The pond has not been cleaned out or dredged since 1921 and is partly filled in with sediments. In 1995 the water surface area was approximately 50 hectares.

The fishpond with the surrounding meadow growths and reedbeds was declared a protected area for its ornithological and botanical values in 1933. The uniqueness and significance of this territory was recognised when it was included on the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1991. The whole of the Novozámecký rybník NNR is included in the more extensive Jestřebsko – Dokesko proposed Site of Community Importance and the Českolipsko-dokeské pískovce a mokřady (Česká Lípa and Doksy sandpits and wetlands) SPA – Bird Area.

A minor part of the reserve is covered by forest communities. Due to the proximity to the fishpond and the high groundwater table, the predominant stands are of alders and willow shrubs. In drier places there are pine stands with Norway spruce (Picea abies), silver birch (Betula pendula) and European aspen (Populus tremula).

Non-forest vegetation includes aquatic communities with yellow water-lily (Nuphar lutea) and white water-lily Nymphaea candida. The wetland meadows are among the most valuable biotopes, and these have been preserved mostly on the fringes of the reserve. The western marsh orchid (Dactylorhiza majalis) occurs on these meadows. Nearly 50 rare and endangered plant species have been recorded at Novozámecký rybník NNR of which 6 are on the „Red List“ of critically-endangered species – dioecious sedge (Carex dioica), crested wood fern (Dryopteris cristata), fen orchid (Liparis loeselii), few-flowered spike-rush (Eleocharis quinqueflora), the white water-lily Nymphea candida and creeping willow (Salix repens).

The NNR is the most important ornithological locality in the North Bohemian region and more than 220 bird species have been recorded here, including many endangered species. Among these most significant species we can mention the white-tailed eagle (Halliaeetus albicilla), crane (Grus grus) and the bearded tit (Panurus biarmicus).

The water surface and neighbouring wet meadows are suitable habitats form many amphibians. Shallow water or periodically wet areas are inhabited by the critically-endangered natterjack toad (Bufo calamita) while the common spadefoot (Pelobates fuscus) prefers more extensive open water areas.

Entomological research in the NNR recorded the occurrence of 800 species of beetles here, of which some were recorded in the Czech Republic for the first time. Of significance is the presence of the critically-endangered ground beetle Carabus auratus or the green tiger beetle (Cicindela campestris).