Dragonflies hunting on the shoreline, birds swooping in large flocks, and fish swimming quickly beneath the surface. Lake Hornborga is a rich wetlands where so many species thrive. But that hasn’t always been the case.
Lake Hornborga is located between the towns of Skövde, Skara and Falköping in the province of Västergötland. Already 10,000 years ago, the first humans settled on the beautiful lake. It’s easy to understand what attracted them to here. The lake offered good possibilities for fishing and hunting. In addition, it was easy to cultivate the land here.
Over time, cultivation became increasingly important. The farmers adjacent to the lake wanted to protect their lands from flooding plus to have access to more land to grow crops on. Therefore Lake Hornborga and many other lakes around Sweden began to be drained out.
Between the 19th century and the 1930s, the lake was lowered on five separate occasions. In the end, all that remained was an overgrown swamp with a few single reflections of water.
Lake Hornborga was to re-emerge. In 1988, the Swedish Government decided that the overgrown swamp would once again become a bird lake and commenced a restoration programme. Hence began Sweden’s largest conservation project.
Many years of work followed. With the help of new technology, new knowledge and purpose-built machines, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency managed to restablish Lake Hornborga. The water level was raised by a total of 85 cm. In 1997, the region became one of Sweden’s largest nature reserves.
The work to restore Lake Hornborga has inspired many others to restore lakes and wetlands both in Sweden and in other countries.
Today Lake Hornborga is one of Europe’s foremost bird lakes. Many different species of birds breed here.
In addition, tens of thousands of birds pass by the lake every year on their way to and from their nesting sites. This makes the lake an important resting place where the birds can get much-needed rest and food before continuing on their journey.
But Lake Hornborga is home to far more species than simply birds. The shallow and nutrient-rich waters are swarming with small insects. There are also a lot of fish in the lake. European perch, Northern pike and tench fish are some of the most common species that thrive here.
Picture: Northern pike