Moor Churer Rheintal
Weihermühle Nature Reserve
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Almost like an oasis, the mill of Weihermühle is powered by spring water. The abundance of water and constant care have created a true gem of nature all around the mill. The shallow moor of Weihermühle is classified as being of national importance. It is home to a number of rare species like the dormouse, numerous orchids and sundew, a local carnivorous plant.
A landscape formed by rock slides
Towards the end of the last Ice Age, massive rock slides shook the Rhine valley between what is today Chur and Ilanz. The little valley at Weihermühle formed between the mounds of the Flims rockfall to the north and slate debris to the south. The spring water flowing from the slate rockfaces at Weihermühle has been used by humans since the Middle Ages, as witnessed by the old grain mill just above the present nature reserve. It was in operation until 1942. The marshy, clay-containing ground has been used for centuries. The marsh recovered soon after a period during the Second World War, when the creek was dammed up to be used as a fishing pond.
A diverse water habitat Today, many animals and plants profit from the abundance of water at Weihermühle. Amphibians and reptiles, but also rare dragonflies and grasshoppers like the golden-ringed dragonfly and the large marsh grasshopper count among the inhabitants of the reed.
What makes this area so unique?
Only a very few select and specialised plants can grow on the wet, low-nutrient peat soil that dominates the area. Inconspicuous sedges and rushes form the large part of the vegetation, interspersed by delicate beauties like the bird's eye primrose or the marsh orchid. These plants and wet soils are highly sensitive to trampling and should not be walked on.
Diversity thanks to care Any wetland requires a great amount of constant care.
Otherwise, natural processes set in and the area is soon covered by forest and shrubbery. Still waters tend to dry up and need to be weeded every now and again. It's the only way to ensure that these ponds can retain their function as important habitats for plants and animals. Pro Natura Graubünden has been taking great efforts in the last decades to provide the necessary care for this nature reserve. While a lot of effort is required, the enormous wealth of species is more than enough compensation. The entire reserve has a spectacular diversity of habitats. From black bog rush reeds to tall herbaceous vegetation, magnocaricions, moor grass meadows, montio-cardaminetea and rough pastures, the diversity is virtually endless. This is witnessed also in the impressive number of different species. 183 plant species, 360 moth species, 47 butterfly species, 23 grasshopper species, 16 dragonfly species, 3 amphibian species, various reptiles and small mammals have been found in various surveys.
For many years, Pro Natura has been maintaining Weihermühle with the help of long-term jobseekers. Thus, the are with its remarkable biodiversity could be preserved. Currently, four farmers are helping to mow part of the meadows. In addition to the primary preservation efforts, a further objective is pursued: Proving that collaboration between nature conservationists and farmers can be fruitful. The aim is also to raise mutual awareness for each other's concerns - for the need to preserve nature on one side and for the concerns and requirements of professional farmers on the other. This way, both parties can learn and profit from each other.
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