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About This GigapanToggle
- Taken by
- Explore score
- 0.05 Gigapixels
- Date added
- Feb 09, 2013
- Date taken
- Feb 08, 2013
Canon 5DM2 and 600D
- environmental, nature, geology, landscape
The river foreland Vreugderijkerwaard (on the IJssel river, near Zwolle, The Netherlands) has unique biodiversity, and is now considered one of the most valuable floodplains in the Netherlands. The area was once affected by human activities such as navigation and silt removal, but now a restoration project managed to reduce flood risk whilst improving conditions for nature and navigation at the same time.
The area is now again home to rare species of waterplants, including loddon pondweed and claspingleaf pondweed. In the wintertime thousands of white-fronted geese visit the area, and stilts such as plovers and ruff live here almost year round. Other local birds include the avocet, tern and brown kite.
From 1999 until 2003, a joint project between (a.o.) the Ministry of Nature, Rijkswaterstaat, local governments and Natuurmonumenten ran to improve conditions for this important floodplain. The main measures taken were the digging out a side channel of about 2 km long and reconnecting the bypass with the main river IJssel. The involvement of different levels of government ensured that various interests were represented adequately in this project.
Apart from the hydraulic requirements needed for more discharge capacity during peak conditions to prevent high water levels, enhancing the quality of wetlands and natural floodplains was one of the main objectives. Restoration of specific habitats for aquatic and (semi) terrestrial species of flora and fauna was a specific goal.
Galloway cattle and horses have been introduced in the area for vegetation management. These make sure that tree and shrub growth is kept within bounds, so the landscape maintains its open character. This is beneficial for the particular species that occur here, but also allows for high levels of excess water discharge, which serves flood management objectives.
Recent monitoring of the results showed an increase of rare submerged plants that are characteristic for streaming lowland rivers. Also, the value of the area for birds has been improved by the project.