Difficult year for landscape managers

Difficult year for landscape managers

The first year at the landscape conservation association was not an easy one for the new managing director aglaia abel. In april 2016, she took over the association from the late ralf kiesel, who had been out of office for more than half a year at the time. The changeover was not without its teething problems, as became clear at the members’ meeting held unusually late in the year. Normally this takes place in the spring. As the chairman of the landscape maintenance association, district administrator thomas bold (CSU), explains, the official deadlines for invitations were not met. So it was decided to postpone the meeting.

From the maintenance of rough grasslands in the saale valley to wet meadows in the black mountains, from the planting of fruit trees to the renaturation of waters. The landscape conservation association plans, organizes and carries out nature conservation and species protection projects in the county. In the past year, the maintenance teams have carried out a total of 49 maintenance measures for around 377,000 euros. Compared to previous years, this is a significant drop: since 2007, the annual revenue has always been more than half a million euros, and most recently it had settled near the 700,000 euro mark. And there is more unpleasant news: because of corrections in the accounting, the association has made a loss of about 46,000 euros instead of the expected profit.

Work left undone for months

"At the very beginning, we were faced with the problem that a large part of the application from 2015 had not yet been approved by the government of lower franconia.", reports abel. In other words, a lot of work had been left undone, which had completely used up the budget that had been allocated in advance for 2016. It was only when the bavarian ministry of the environment once again made funds available for landscape conservation associations in the fall that current projects were actually funded. "Fortunately, all of the mabnahmen could be approved", says the managing director.

Due to late approval, a number of things were not completed by the end of the year: 53 mmeasures over a budget of 519,000 euros were started in 2016 but not yet accounted for and are therefore missing from the balance sheet. The high drop in annual sales is put into perspective, explains abel: "we will see that the low volume is compensated for." Deputy chairman edgar thomas (farmers’ association) also sees no reason for alarm: "i think that despite the difficult conditions of last year, a good result was achieved."

The fact that the work had been piling up for a long time had nevertheless led to resentment within the association. Among other things, this resulted in one or the other dissatisfied person leaving the company. The landscape conservation association has therefore lost a small number of members (as of the end of september 2017: 240). "People ask themselves: ‘why is my flat not being cared for??’", says abel. However, there is no legal requirement that every meadow be maintained annually. The goal was to work on all of the flat areas every two years, but in the past there have always been areas where nothing has happened for a long time.

The bottom line is looking ahead. "We hope that in calmer waters we will be able to concentrate better on our tasks again", says county commissioner bold.

Change in the board of directors

Election of nudlingen’s former mayor gunter kiesel and the former district chairman of the bund naturschutz (BN), ulf zeidler, are no longer available to the board of the landscape conservation association after 15 and 25 years respectively. They are followed by mayor august weingart (sulzthal) and oswald turbl (BN).

Committee chairman remains district administrator thomas bold, deputies are oswald turbl, edgar thomas and august weingart. Other board members are jochen vogel (mayor of motten), farmers manfred greubel and helmut vierheilig, dieter funfstuck (landesbund fur vogelschutz) and reinhard landgraf (hunters’ association).

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