Ramena řeky Moravy National Nature Reserve

The NNR was declared in 1990, lies at elevations above sea level of 218 to 230 metres and currently covers an area of 71.19 ha. in the Olomoucký kraj – Olomouc Region. The subject of the protection is the ecosystem which is unique on a European scale – the lowland flow of the Morava river with meanders, islands, floodplains and sidestreams (branches) in the section between Litovel and Horka nad Moravou and the near-natural forest and forest-free ecosystems which border the river, with the representation of typical and endangered species of wild animals and plants.

The Morava river on the NNR territory has formed the last longer section with a natural (unregulated) lowland river flow. The natural character of the river has enormous significance for the self-purification capacity of the river, which works on the basis of a biological-mechanical filter and the cleaning capacity here is very high. The surrounding alluvial forests, with its network of periodic channels, the so-called “smohe”, depend on maintaining the natural character of the river and its flood regime for their existence.
 
The plant communities in the NNR reflect the character of individual sections of the river flow and mostly include aquatic and littoral species. The forest stands are mostly of the “softwood” alluvial forest type, accompanied by riverine reedbeds and aquatic vegetation with common water crowfoot (Batrachium aquatile). Significant plant species which occur here include the sedge Carex buekii, the helleborine Epipactis albensis, and the water moss (Fontinalis antipyretica). The first plants to colonize the river gravel banks are often invasive species such as Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) and Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthemus tuberosus). The removal of these non-native species is among the main management tasks on the NNR territory.
 
Rich communities of invertebrates which are characteristic of a natural lowland river live in the reserve and these include the broad-fingered crayfish (Astacus fluviatilis) and the painter’s mussel (Unio pictorum). The variety of biotopes found here provides the conditions for fish of the “grayling zone”, “barbel zone” and “bream zone”. Among the most common fish are dace (Leuciscus leuciscus), chub (Leuciscus cephalus), barbel (Barbus barbus), roach (Rutilus rutilus), nase (Chondrostoma nasus) and many more. The rare schneider (Alburnoides bipunctatus) is also relatively common here.

The little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius) and the common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) nest on the sandbanks and on islands in the river, while the kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) nests in tunnels in steep river banks. We may also observe the black stork (Ciconia nigra) and the grey heron (Ardea cinerea) in quiet bays and sidestreams. The river and its sidestreams are the home of a population of European beavers (Castor fiber) which were released in the area in 1991 as part of a rescue programme. The otter (Lutra lutra) regularly occurs here, as do the muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), northern water vole (Arvicola terrestris) and European water shrew (Neomys fodiens).
 
Ramena řeky Moravy NNR lies within the central part of the supraregional territorial system of ecological stability of the biocentre Litovelské Pomoraví – Luh.

The territory represents the core area of the alluvial part of Litovelské Pomoraví PLA (which covers 4125 ha) and was included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1993. Ramena řeky Moravy NNR is included in the Litovelské Pomoraví SPA – Bird Area and the proposed Litovelské Pomoraví Site of Community Importance within the Natura 2000 system.