When Thomas Bernert from Schwabmünchens Office for Green and Environment checks the trees, playgrounds and parks of "his" town, he is not always alone: numerous native animal species live, nest and breed in Schwabmünchen, the small town south of Augsburg. But even though the animals are part of the townscape and have a right to exist, they often cause problems.
Problems in the town of Schwabmünchen caused by protected animal species
"I could fill entire books about how the animals in Schwabmünchen keep me busy year after year," says Thomas Bernert. This year, he once again encountered two typical problems that many towns and municipalities are familiar with:
Rooks, which are under protection, are incredibly clever and sociable animals. However, they are often noisy in their huge colonies, make a racket, sometimes displace other bird species or cause a lot of pollution. This can lead to problems in public areas around playgrounds, cemeteries or hospitals - which the city must now address. One measure could be to remove crows' nests in "critical areas". However, in addition to a suitable climbing company, this requires a special permit from the nature conservation authority or the district office for reasons of species protection. The authorities, in turn, first need important information, such as the number or location of the nests.
Protected beavers also cause problems - visible or invisible - especially on rivers and streams. "The animals often build their dams in the most unfavorable places. In the worst-case scenario, the water behind them then builds up into a real lake and causes damage to the urban infrastructure," says Bernert. Of course, a beaver dam cannot simply be removed. The town of Schwabmünchen is obliged to contact a beaver representative and discuss the necessary acute measures with them. For example, if it is a beaver lodge in which young animals are currently living, the lodge must not be touched. Beaver dams that only serve to extend the beaver's territory may be relocated or removed.
Digital recording of the problem:
How the EineStadt species mapping app makes everyday life easier
Thomas Bernert no longer needs pen and paper to document beaver lodges, rook nests, bat nest boxes, etc. Schwabmünchen has been using the EineStadt maintenance software to document all municipal work for a long time - and now also for the management of protected animal species.
In the species mapping app, it practically looks like this: A point is recorded on the integrated digital map for each crow's nest, beaver dam and so on. Data fields can now be filled in for each object - for example, the "type of accommodation" of the animal species (burrow, dam, hole, nest...) and its amount, the surroundings (cemetery green, park, playground...), and the traffic safety can be described (given, not given, unsafe, to be proven...).
Photos can be attached and a measure suggested - for example, whether an embankment should be removed or lowered. "If I click on the legend menu on the map, I can also display protected areas or biotopes in color on the map. This is particularly helpful when determining the measures", says Bernert.
The system can then send a message to the responsible nature conservation authority. Their employees can then view all the information and images in the app or on the computer and quickly decide whether the proposed measure may be carried out or whether a new measure is recommended. In some cases, the authorities still have to inspect the problem directly on site.
As soon as a measure has been released to the city in the system, work can continue directly in the property management software: "I simply place a pin in the map for the building yard or the climber who is to carry out the work," says Bernert with satisfaction. "Once the work has been successfully completed, the pin is simply removed again. That closes the loop."
Advantages of digital documentation
External employees, e.g. those responsible at nature conservation authorities, can alternatively be provided with PDF reports generated from the system instead of being integrated directly into the software. This allows them to view the case, including photos, on a PC or printed out on paper and then report back the recommended measures. "PDFs are the tool of choice for our responsible nature conservation authority," reports Mr. Thomas Bernert - and now saves valuable time thanks to the simple PDF generation.
EineStadt scores with numerous advantages:
Work and processes are greatly simplified in the long term. Problems can be entered quickly and reliably on a digital map using an app - even by voice input.
The ability to involve external users in the process saves the city time and increases transparency in collaboration between specialists. "All of this now works up to five times faster than before, with pen and paper," estimates Mr. Bernert.
Legal protection, which is provided by a complete history, is also playing an increasingly important role.
Data is recorded and processed simply and consistently, without having to manage confusing tables.
Signatures can be added digitally and orders can be distributed and processed in real time from anywhere - even by external companies and partners if required.
Details such as a reminder function for upcoming inspections make the system irreplaceable and prevent upcoming inspections from being missed.
Last but not least, all data and processes are documented and archived forever. This also means that notes are less likely to be misplaced, lost or only arrive in the right place after a long time.
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