Wetland of Pinzgau
The moorland of Zell and Bruck is the largest contiguous wetland of Pinzgau.
The diversity of different habitats, of fen meadows, litter meadows and moorland groves, make the Zeller See south bank an important refuge of rare marsh and wetland plants. We find endangered species of plants, orchids and a mosaic of vegetation types, home for a variety of animals. One can relax amidst beautiful alpine scenery. In the vicinity of the National park Hohe Tauern it is the most important wetland of Pinzgau.
Four major habitats can be seen:
The meadows between lakeshore and Thomas-Bernhard-Way, partially to to Otto-Witschier-Way, are highly protected. They home tall forb and sedge fen. This area is grazed by Noriker horses and Pinzgau cattle in springtime. Very wet areas are not used at all.
One can find the Tufted Sedge Carex elata - dominated swamp of pools, wet fens and overgrown fen ditches. Here the Austrian-wide seldom Water Hemlock (Cicuta virosa) is growing, also Greater Spearwort (Ranunculus lingua) und aquatic plants such as Common Mare's Tail (Hippuris vulgaris) and Bladderwort (Utricularia australis).Close to the shore and in the Northwest we see Common Reed (Phragmitetes australis swamp). Sites with high level of groundwater show Caricetum fuscae - brown sedge marsh.
In the middle part of the reserve we find a mosaic of different, extensively used meadows. In between are thickets, groves, ditches, which represent a variety of different habitats.
Typical are wet meadows such as the Cabbage Thistle meadow or small-sedge poor fen with bog plants in between. Rare marsh plants as Reed Sweet-grass Glyceria maxima or Hairy fruited Sedge Carex lasiocarpa grow here. Gray Willow scrub, gallery forests with the moisture tolerant Black Alder and bog birch swamp forests divide the richly textured landscape.
Some of these meadows turn due to more intense use into so called "rich meadows" as the Geranio-Trisetum. But even there we will still see many flowers.
In the south the meadows are plain and hardly divided. The three channels draining the lake merge here (Big and Small Lake channel as well as Porsche-channel). Along the ditches and channels are groups of trees. The flower-rich meadows are traditionally mowed twice a year; however, it has become regular to mow three times a year. Thereby the grassland is losing its diversity and shows only dandelion. In moist depressions tall sedge or even reed grass occur, little islands of swamp vegetation.
The slope of the Erlberg on the other side of the Thumersbach road is mainly outside the protected area. But it has an important ecological function. The slope is fragmented bearing hay meadows, pastures, farmsteads, orchards, mixed woodlands and wet ditches. Above 900 m there is forest.
Many amphibians migrate regularly between the slope in the east and the ditches and pools in the nature reserve.