The cultural landscape has a high value

The conflict has been smoldering for a long time, as district chairman karl-heinz vogler puts it: "we farmers need the saale meadows for our cows and roughage eaters, but the water management authority (freistaat) wants to leave the saale close to nature almost everywhere and give it more space on the left and right." About 500 hectares of farmland are at stake, and with it the forage base for 1100 cows, which has been lost.

The farmers therefore took the opportunity to sensitize walter heindl, the president of the bavarian farmers’ association, to their cause and ask him for support, and met him on the occasion of his visit to the district farmers’ day at the saal meadows near bad bocklet. Beforehand, deputy mayor andreas sandwall had made it clear at a small reception that even a health resort is dependent on farmers. They contributed to the preservation of the cultural landscape of the saale valley, assets that the region can also use to attract tourists.
The "interessengemeinschaft (IG) zur erhaltung der kulturlandschaft frankischer saale-auen" (community of interests for the preservation of the cultural landscape of the frankish saale floodplains) under the leadership of the aschach farmer norbert gotz, there have been since 2005. At that time, the land reorganization process began. IG represents about 40 farmers and was awarded the "state prize for special community and public services" in 2007 for a project involving voluntary land use swaps in the bad bocklet market." At that time, the farmers had contractually committed themselves to voluntary land use reductions and had defined on-site riparian strips which they used extensively. Since then, they have also been regularly mowing the banks and using the lush saal meadows for grazing or growing fodder on a leasing basis. But in 2017 the lease expires. Until then, the free state, which owns a lot of land on and off the saale, wants to own all of it and is striving to do so through a voluntary land swap.
But the farmers would like to maintain the status quo for the entire 80 kilometers of the saale meadow between bad neustadt and gemunden. In their opinion, this would be the best and most favorable solution for the free state. But the water management office (WWA), which drafted its water development concept for the frankische saale in 1999, wants to give the river more space and return it to the way it was before the embankment constructions of the 1950s that are gradually crumbling away. On the left and on the right on average 15 meters are to be designated and differently strongly cultivated. According to WWA chief leonhard rosentritt, the first five meters should belong to the shore vegetation, because: "we also have to do something for the water quality."

Farmers could still live with this. But around the following five meters there were differences. A thought "herbaceous hem" had only been allowed to be mowed every two years, which would restrict its use. "We have already done without that", according to rosentritt "this area could be farmed and mowed once a year." To be precise, the farmers had to give up five meters, or 40 hectares over 80 kilometers. But the farmers insist on a communal "riparian corridor", which they can drive on. Rosentritt: "this is to cement the fact that the WWA only has five meters."

Walter heindl got the impression on site that the saale was to become a museum. But rosentritt denied this when we asked: "the cultural landscape of the saale should be used and managed." And the spa path in bad bocklet was public ground anyway, which could be mowed as needed.
By the way, there is no dispute about the last five of the 15 meters of meadow.

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