The River Klingavälsån is a tributary to the River Kävlingeån (County of Skåne). The River Klingavälsån originates from the southern Lake District and flows through Lake Ellestadsjön, Lake Snogeholmssjön and the eutrophic Lake Sövdesjön and then further to the north-west. It finally enters into the main course of River Kävlingeån. Dredging and straightening has had great impact on the hydro-morphology of some parts of the River Klingavälsån. The river is mainly slow flowing.
There is a great variation in riparian vegetation types, dominated by species rich, wet meadows. During winter, the meadows and the surrounding alluvial forests are sometimes flooded. In the central part of the area, there is a calcareous wet meadow, with a rich and valuable flora. Grazing by livestock is crucial for maintaining the rich flora. The area is an easy accessible excursion site through its facilities and location near urban areas.
The Klingavälsån-Karup Natura 2000 area is part of previously extensive wetlands. During the 1800th century and the first decades of the 1900th century, the area was subject to overflowing and flooding activities. Grassland management consisted of hay-making and subsequent grazing by livestock. Since then, extensive drainage has transferred large areas to arable fields. Today, even the few remaining wetlands are influenced by drainage, but have never been fully arable. The area is valuable for birds, especially for waders. Large flocks of wintering geese and various species of birds of prey characterize the winter period. Other nesting and resting birds have made the area famous. Among the species Tringa glareola (wood sandpiper), Grus grus (crane), Alcedo atthis (kingfisher) and the Anthus campestris (tawny pipit) can be mentioned. In 2001 and 2005, surveys were conducted with the objective to study the effect of wetland restoration activities, including re-meandering measures on the fish populations approximately two km downstream the Klingavälsån-Karup project site. Sixteen different fish species were caught and the most abundant fish species were Cottus gobio (bullhead) and Noemacheilus barbatulus (stone loach), followed by Esox lucius (pike) and Anguilla anguilla (eel). Already one year after restoration was finished, the same numbers of fish species were recorded upstream as downstream the restored areas.
In conjunction with the overall high terrestrial and aquatic conservation values in Klingavälsån-Karup Natura 2000 area, a thriving population of Unio crassus would be valuable to the region serving as a refuge, not only for Unio crassus, but also for many species in a surrounding landscape dominated by intense agriculture. Shell fragments of Unio crassus have recently been found in the River Klingavälsån and additional findings in the main channel of River Kävlingeån (just downstream the River Klingavälsån) prove its historical distribution within the area. UC4LIFE-related conservation actions include 1) removal of migration barriers, 2) re-meandering measures and habitat restoration activities.
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