GDANSK - The Vistula Spit Canal has been a decades-long political prizeproject for the Polish government. The construction has drawn controversy as it cuts straight through a Natura 2000 conservation area. Russian state-sponsored media and the Kremlin, have flasely claims it will devastate the Baltic sea, the lagoon, and local wildlife, but have not provided any independent scientific evidence to back their claims.

The Vistula lagoon is a major Polish and European national park and conservation area. It is home to several endangered bird species and its shallow and warm waters make it a unique breeding ground on the Baltic coast. 

Its geopolitical environment is equally unique as the border between Poland and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad runs through the lagoon. The Russian-controlled strait of Pillau has long been the only naval access point to the Baltic sea to transport certain Polish exports.

This story portrays the work and words of Polish scientists, naval experts, industrialists, and wildlife conservationists on the ground who measure the actual effects of the canal to the environment against the backdrop of the geopolitics between Russia and Poland at a time of rising tensions in Europe. 

Team members

Laura Sear

Laura Sear works in London as a Senior Journalist at PolicyTracker and covers European digital policy. 

Laura Sear

Les Steed

Les Steed a freelance journalist (UK), deputy editor, copywriter, guest blogger, and podcast host (and guest).

Les Steed

Natalia Dobryszycka

Natalia Dobryszycka currently works as a freelance visual news journalist and researcher for major British and European media outlets.

Natalia Dobryszycka
€4.900 allocated on 23/02/2022

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