Coastal meadows need people and cattle
Rahuste coastal meadow at the start of Sõrve Cape, the westernmost point in Estonia, is the biggest of its kind on Saaremaa Island. To protect the wildlife, the Rahuste protected area was established.
The coastal grasslands at Rahuste were dealt a blow when Estonia became independent again – the Soviet state farm stopped functioning and the territory fell out of usage. Brush, thistles and nettles flourished and obstructed the view and paths to the sea.
The Niidiotsa non-profit association (on their own and with help from others) has been restoring and maintaining the coastal meadows at Rahuste for almost two decades. Moreover, they have introduced the birds and plants to visitors. The local non-profit association has been working hard and done a lot for the protected area to look as it does now.
With the support from the European Regional Development Fund via EIC, Highland cattle from Scotland have been obtained to substitute for lawn mowers – and they have been quite effective. By now they are the favourites of the whole village.
The non-profit has also taken care of part of the Kaugatoma-Lõo protected area, where brush has been cut and water reed mowed.