Vistula river – information
Vistula, is the longest river in Poland, crossing the entire country from the Silesian Beskids to the Bay of Gdańsk. The source streams are Czarna Wisełka and Biała Wisełka. The springs of the Vistula are located on the slopes of Barania Góra. The length of the Vistula is 1 047 km, basin area 194 424 km2 (in Poland 168 699 km2, i.e.. 53,9% pow. country).
Main tributaries of the Vistula pose: Przemsza, Sole, Skawa, Use, Dunajec, Wisłok, Wisłok, San, Nidzica, Nida, Hog, Wilga, Pilica, Bzura, Narew with the Bug, Wkra, Taunting, Hills, Wda, Part, Wierzyca, Gather, Motława.
The Vistula flows through the Silesian Foothills, The Oświęcim Basin, The Krakow Gate, The Sandomierz Basin, Lesser Poland Gorge of the Vistula, The Middle Mazovian Lowland, Toruń-Eberswaldzka ice-marginal valley, The Lower Vistula Valley, Gdańsk Embankment. It flows into the Baltic Sea by the delta (Żuławy Wiślane), the mouth arms are the Nogat, Szkarpawa, Ditch of the Vistula River,
Wisła Śmiała and Martwa Wisła.
As you can see on the map above, the Vistula River flows through many cities: Auschwitz, Cracow, Tarnobrzeg, Sandomierz, Kazimierz Dolny, Pulawy, Dęblin, Warsaw, Wyszogród, Płock, Włocławek, Nieszawa, Ciechocinek, Toruń, Solec Kujawski, Bydgoszcz, Chelmno, World, New, Grudziadz, Kwidzyn, Tczew, Gdansk.
The Vistula River flows through seven provinces (Silesian, Lesser Poland, Podkarpackie Province, Lublin, Masovian Voivodeship, Kuyavian-Pomeranian and Pomeranian), the Vistula basin additionally includes 4 voivodships (Świętokrzyskie Province, Lodzkie, Podlasie, Warmia-Masuria Province).
The Vistula Valley has been divided into three sections: The Upper Vistula, Central and Lower.
The middle section of the Vistula is one of the most valuable (next to the Biebrza Marshes and
Białowieża Primeval Forest) ecosystem assemblies in Europe.
The Middle Vistula Valley is located in two provinces: Mazowieckie and Lubelskie and covers a section of the Vistula River with a length of approx. 210 km between Dęblin and Płock. The natural habitat has been preserved in this area, the snow-like nature of the river with numerous islands, oxbow lakes and side canals. The islands appear here in various forms and
different stages of succession: from sandbanks to islands covered with herbaceous vegetation and willow and poplar thickets. A significant part of the islands is protected as a nature reserve or included in protected landscape areas. The banks of the river are overgrown with wicker thickets, meadows and pastures or have been taken into cultivation. In some sections, fragments of relict riverside riparian forests have remained here: elm trees, willow and poplar trees.
Despite the, that the Vistula valley is densely inhabited, and the environment heavily transformed by man, it is in the surviving wilderness enclaves that the animal world is exceptionally rich. In riparian forests, numerous insects live around the oxbow lakes and in the meadows. Beetles should be mentioned here: the musk fluff that lives on the riverside meadows with willows and the predatory "pincers" - the spine runner, Butterflies: Rainbow and Kraśnik
six-spot - atypical, because a moth that is active during the day. Rich, although the world of dragonflies is relatively poorly known throughout the lowland Vistula valley. Most of them can be found near oxbow lakes.
The river is inhabited by many different kinds of fish, m.in.: bream, płoć, seated, common dace, sausage as well: common pike, chub, piggy, asp, rosary, perch and zander.
They live in estuary sections of the central Vistula tributaries: brook lamprey, fast, rosary, common dace, I with, piggy, gudgeon, sunflower, shrew, płoć, slip, cocoon, European eels, burbot, stickleback, pike perch, ruff, perch and chub. The most important species found in oxbow lakes, they are mainly pike, perch eels, ropes, carps, bream, crucian, roach, rudd, silverbings and sticklebacks. They live in some oxbow lakes
also river crayfish.
Due to the presence of small reservoirs with standing water in the vicinity of the river, the amphibians occurring here find favorable conditions for living. These include. common newt, great crested newt, fire-bellied toad, common toad, arboretum tree frog different species
tooth, m.in. grass frog or dalmatian frog. The reptiles are here, among others,: grass snake, a zigzag viper, slowworm, sand lizard and viviparous lizard.
In some parts of the valley, e.g.. below Warsaw, you can come across a moose, symbol of the nearby Kampinos National Park. There are a lot of deer, wild boars. There are many four-legged predators. The wolves appear, which use river valleys during their migrations. Foxes and raccoon dogs are numerous. Badger burrows can be found on sandy dune terraces. Martens live in this area
forest, beech martens, cowards, ermine, weasels and numerous otters. The American mink is growing in numbers alarmingly, which is a huge threat to birds and their breeding. The Vistula valley area is also rich in beavers, which found favorable environmental conditions in the Vistula riverbed, leaving the area of the Kampinos Forest. Of the animals that prefer the amphibious environment, we can meet the muskrat and the grubber.
You can also meet bats on the Vistula River. The presence of a calf-haired moth and a silver-plated scotoma were found, which as endangered species are included in the Polish Red Book of Animals. There are also the ore nocturnal here, late scotoma, brown bat and gray bat.
Moreover, in the middle course of the Vistula, we have a rich ornithofauna. There are gulls here (common, a blackhead, silvery, woman, blackhead), terns (river, white-fronted) and waders (ringed plover, little ringed plover, squeaky wader, redshank, lapwing, black-tailed goddess, oyster catcher).
You can meet a hoopoe, rollers, kingfisher, corncrake, pokrzewkę – gajówkę, the hood, the thornhouse, thrush, the gray nightingale, draw, zaganiacza, white-necked woodpecker, green woodpecker, brooder, or the black stork.
Researchers have long found out how precious the Central Vistula Valley is.
Therefore, some sections of the river and its valleys have been covered by various forms of nature protection.
In the Warsaw section, there are two nature reserves - Zawadowskie Islands and Ławice Kiełpińskie, which also include areas located on the river.
Despite, that the Vistula riverbed of the Warsaw section of the river (31 km), has been largely regulated, the river has retained its wild character.
The reserves are breeding sites of several rare species of wetland birds and participate in the process of the encroachment of coastal birds deep into Poland along the bed of a large river. These areas are also a stop on the migration route not only for birds, but also
many other species of animals.