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Pro Riet Rheintal

The Pro Riet Rheintal association is engaged in creating new habitats in the Rhine Valley – not just on its own, but in co-operation with farmers, landowners, authorities and various project partners such as the Swiss Bird Observatory at Sempach.

The association has its roots in the granting of protected status to two peat bogs in the Rhine Valley near St. Gallen. In the 1980s an action committee obtained nature conservation status for the two peat areas of Bannriet and Spitzmäder in Altstätten and Oberriet, thus ensuring their proper care and exploitation. This success prompted the association (created in 1987 from the action committee) to become more active in the promoting of the ecological value of the entire Rhine plain near St. Gallen and the lower hillsides between Au and Lienz.

New ponds, flowering meadows that provide a home to numerous species, wildflowers, fallow land and shrubbery have thus all developed on what was in the past intensively used land. Drainage channels have been transformed into more natural running waters, while on the lower hillsides the association has created new small streams and habitats for the extremely rare midwife toad. Vineards and their surroundings have seen the introduction of flowering meadows, drystone walls, stone pits and other small structures. By the end of 2015, Pro Riet had assisted in the ecological transformation of some 170 hectares of what had previously been intensively exploited land.

The Karl Zünd Foundation supports the work of the Pro Riet Rheintal association.