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RIVER PROFILE

The Warta is a right-bank tributary of the Odra – the longest one, measuring 808 km (502.1 mi), and at the same time, after the Vistula, the second longest river flowing entirely within the borders of Poland. It starts in Zawiercie in the Cracow-Częstochowa Upland and strongly meanders in its upper reaches, changing direction a countless number of times from longitudinal to latitudinal and the other way around. Before Poznań, the river flows through Poland’s oldest protected postglacial area – the Wielkopolski National Park. Human activity has most strongly shaped the final stretch of the Warta, located in the lubuskie voivodeship – the unruly river has been tamed by means of embankments and flood-banks. A large part of the Warta’s navigable channel is at the same time the longest part of the Great Wielkopolska Loop and constitutes a transportation artery, not utilised before, connecting Poznań with other towns of the Wielkopolska region and with Polish sea ports. Along its entire course, the Warta does not have a single navigable lock, and the hydroelectric plant with a dam and a storage reservoir in Jeziorsko is the main hydrotechnical facility regulating its water level. In order to raise the water level on some sections of the Warta, stone and fascine wing dams have been built at 50-90 m (160-300 ft) intervals, resulting in transit depths of over 1 m (3.3 ft) in the midstream. Daily fluctuations of water level reach 1 m (3.3 ft), and annual fluctuations sometimes reach as much as 4 m (13.1 ft). In order to ensure proper water management in this hydrologically complex area, numerous technologically interesting intermediate pumping stations have been built, e.g. in Słońsk, Kłopotowo or Kostrzyn-Warniki. During high water stages on the Odra and the Warta, the so-called backwater current phenomenon occurs in the Lower Warta valley. The river’s waters spill over the embankments into the storage reservoir prepared for this purpose. The average gradient on the entire length of the Warta is 0.45 ‰, and on the final 68 km (42.3 mi) – only 0.13 ‰, which gives 13 cm (5.12 in) per km.

NAVIGATIONAL INFORMATION

From the mouth of the Noteć to the confluence of the Warta and the Odra, the Warta is a class II navigable waterway. The length of this stretch is 68.2 km (42.4 mi). River kilometres are counted from Kostrzyn nad Odrą in the upstream direction. When navigating the Warta, bear in mind that, along the entire length of this stretch, both banks have wing dams projecting 20-25 m (65-82 ft) into the river channel. The wing dams are often damaged or destroyed and for this reason invisible, hidden under water. The unawareness of regulation structures frequently results in hitting a wing dam and damage to the boat.

DEPTH
Transit depths on the Warta for two-way traffic, at medium water levels, are c. 1.5 m (4.9 ft). Information about the current water level is given on the information board at Lock no. 22 Krzyż, at km 176.2, and in Kostrzyn, at km 4 of the Warta, on the RB, in front of the building of Regional Water Management Board. You can also check water levels yourself on river gauges: at km 3.65 (RB) in Kostrzyn, at km 28.5 (RB) in Świerkocin, and at km 57.35 (LB) in Gorzów.

WIDTH
The width of the river channel is up to 90 m (295 ft), but the width of the navigable channel alone for MW is between 50 and 70 m (165-230 ft). It is limited by wing dams (often washed away) and indicated with bank signs from km 9 downstream. Along the entire stretch there are also floating marks indicating the edges of the navigable channel: red cylinders on the RB and green cones on the LB. POWER LINES AND BRIDGES Regarding overhead high-voltage and medium-voltage lines, the Santok-Kostrzyn stretch of the V-O Waterway does not present navigational difficulties. The lowest bridge is the road bridge in Kostrzyn at km 2.45 of the Warta, with a clearance of 3.9 m (12.8 ft) at HNW.

FERRIES
On the section of the Warta in question we encounter 2 ferries: the first one in Santok, at km 67.7, and the other one connecting the town of Witnica with the village of Kłopotowo at km 22.3.

VEGETATION Navigation on the Warta is unimpeded by water vegetation.

MOORING
The sandy and green banks of the Warta invite you to stop, but the frequently washed away and often invisible wing dams can effectively make that impossible. It is therefore advisable to use yacht club harbours, small marinas or loading berths, which abound along this stretch of the river. The hosts are always hospitable and willing, to give you access to utilities or even keep an eye on your boat for a small fee.
 
HYDROTECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS

THE REAL MOUTH OF THE NOTEĆ
Santok did not lie at the confluence of the Noteć and the Warta until 1787-1788, when the reconstruction of the lower stretch of the Warta was completed under the rule of Frederick II, shifting the outlet of the Noteć 1.5 km (0.93 mi) to the north. It was then that the first bridge was built, whose central span was a drawbridge, enabling boats to pass with sails set. A causeway from Santok to Skwierzyna has been constructed on an artificial dike, separating the flood plains of the Warta and the Noteć. The old mouth of the Noteć is noticeable from where the bridge now stands.


THE KOSTRZYN STORAGE RESERVOIR
On an area of 5,100 ha, an artificial reservoir has been created which takes in the swollen waters of the Warta and the Odra in the months when floods occur. The environment has been re-naturalised for several hundred species of birds as well as for beavers and otters. This wetland is drained by means of intermediate pumping stations, built at the beginning of the 20th c.




TOURIST HIGHLIGHTS

SANTOK
The town is over 1,000 years old and was called the watchtower and key of the kingdom by chronicler Gall Anonim (Gallus Anonymus). Overlooking Santok, where the Noteć and the Warta meet, is an elevation with an observation tower from which it is possible to see Gorzów Wlkp., a dozen or so kilometres away. Worth visiting in this village of less than 1,000 residents is the Santok Stronghold Museum.


THE UJŚCIE WARTY NATIONAL PARK
Also known as Błota Nadwarciańskie (The Warta Wetlands), the park was established in 2001, which makes it the youngest national park in Poland. The area of more than 8,000 ha of wetlands, meadows and riparian forests is criss-crossed by tens of canals, melioration ditches and oxbow lakes of the Warta’s former delta, harbouring sanctuaries of over 250 bird species, including rare ones such as the white-tailed eagle, the whooper swan, or the rough-legged buzzard. Due to the abundance of fauna, it is protected by the international Ramsar Convention and as a Natura 2000 area.


GORZÓW WIELKOPOLSKI
Formerly called Lansberg, founded in the 13th c. on the RB of the Warta River, the city is of interest not only for its historic Gothic cathedral but also because of numerous legends connected e.g. with the still surviving well of the witches. Gorzów “faces” the river. Mooring places have been prepared in the city centre and the riverside boulevard has been revitalised. The floating pride of Gorzów is the oldest ice-breaker in the world, built in 1884 – the Kuna, moored in the river shipyard’s basin, located on the LB at km 57.3, before the Lubuski Bridge.


ZOO ŚWIERKOCIN
Not far from our route, at km 28.5, lies the first safari park in Poland, which you can drive through in a car. On an area of 20 ha you can see over 700 animals, e.g. from Australia, Africa, and both Americas.

 

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15

INTRODUCTION

1

IW E70 – THE EAST-WEST (E-W) STRETCH

2

THE BRDA

3

THE BYDGOSZCZ CANAL

6

THE NOTEĆ

9

THE WARTA

15

THE ODRA

19

IW E70 – THE SOUTH-NORTH (S-N) STRETCH

21

THE VISTULA

22

THE NOGAT

31

THE SZKARPAWA

36

THE VISTULA LAGOON

39

THE ELBLĄG RIVER AND THE JAGIELLONIAN CANAL

50

THE MARTWA WISŁA, THE ŚMIAŁA WISŁA, THE GDAŃSK MOTŁAWA

52

INFORMATOR

56

WATERWAY SIGNS AND MARKING

57

LEGEND

58

SCHEMES OF LOCKS AND HARBOURS

59

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