Creation of reedmarsh habitat and other works
around lake 'SCHULENSMEER'

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Creation of reedmarsh habitat

These works are mainly carried out on the southern bank and along the south western corner of the lake Schulensmeer. Two former sand deposits  (A) and the large island (B) are excavated. With this material parts of the lake are made more shallow (D). The slopes of the banks of the lake are made less steep at several locations (C). All these areas will develop into large reed beds (see brighter color) and partly also grasslands. Target species are Eurasian and Little bittern and Marsh harrier.
Two high water refuges are created (E) for grazing sheep and cattle in the area.

 

Fish spawning grounds and fishing sites

Along the north east shore some fish spawning grounds will be improved and connected by a broad ditch and along the entire length quality fishing sites are constructed (F).

De sand trap at the entrance of the lake is cleared and deepened again (H).

 

Family experience path and children's adventure trail

In the north west corner a family experience path is created which is accessible for wheel chairs, partly on a boardwalk with view on the lake. Alongside it through a small wood a children's adventure trail is contructed.

Furthermore two existing spawning ponds will be improved by making the slopes gentler and by planting reed (G).

 

Wetter grasslands

In the grasslands south of the lake (I) several bigger and smaller ditches will be connected and provided with nature friendly banks. Via these ditches water can again flow through the Schulensbroek to rewet the area. In this way the water level stays high in summer and the ground water is retained longer in the soil.                                             For more info on the hydrological restoration click here

Restoration and optimisation of hydrology in SCHULENSBROEK

Raising water table and increasing water retention 

Though a lot of water passes through the project area drought is a big issue. Targeted species like meadow birds and Weather loach are under pressure because of drying out of habitats already in spring time.

This action wants to remedy by working on waterways and ditches and thus raising water tables in a durable way.

    current hydrological situation                                                                                   Envisaged hydrological situation

  

Turn around flow direction ‘Snijken’ and reactivating the stream ‘Oude Herk’

In the project a large scale ecohydrological study has been conducted with several rewetting scenarios. The aim is to look at possibilities to get more permanent supply of water through the existing waterways and keep it in the area. In the stream 'Snijken' of which the water is now pumped away, the natural water flow direction will be restored by turning it around. The stream ‘Oude Herk’ which was as good as dry untill now, will be reactivated.

 

Present water flow direction in black - New water flows in pink

 

 

 

 

Broad stream beds and weir management

The stream beds of waterways and ditches will be reprofiled and broadened with shallows that benefit Weather loach and which are also interesting for breeding birds.
Fish passable weir constructions will make flexible and adapted water management posssible.

Shallows for Weather loach

                            and fish passable weir constructions

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Restoration of grassland habitat in
SCHULENSBROEK & WEBBEKOMSBROEK

Restoration of grassland habitats

In Schulensbroek and Webbekomsbroek the nature reserves in a traditional grassland landscape already exist for decades. Gradually lands, that were mostly neglected or had commercial planting on it, have been purchased and restored to a nature friendly state.

With the Life project Delta it is now possible to continue with this process on a larger scale for the benefit of the European nature values.

   Restoration in Webbekomsbroek                   before    &     after

Cuttings for open habitats for Corncrake, meadow birds and top vegetations 

The works consist of removal of shrubs and (poplar)plantations. Rugged areas are transformed and with 'impoverishment management' through mowing the vegetations are upgraded. 

Grazing fences are installed and waterways are restored in view of optimal hydrological conditions

The openess of the project area is crucial in Flanders for Corncrake and meadow birds like Black-tailed godwit, Curlew and Lapwing.

Unique vegetations linked to an inland polder system are present and the area contains one of the few remaining places in Flanders with Creeping marshwort.

Halfopen landscape with hedgerows for Red-backed shrike

Next to the very open habitats the project also aims at more halfopen grassland habitats for which restoration efforts are made. Intresting species tied to hedgerows like Yellowhammer and Lesser whitethroat breed there. One of the target species of the project, Red-backed shrike reappeared after decades and has already colonised the entire project area.

   Hedgerow restoration                                                                       Grassland restoration through poplar cuttings 

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Grassland restoration - before

 
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Pond restoration - sludge removal - before

Pond restoration in SCHULENSBROEK

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Restoration of ponds for Floating water-plantain, Little bittern and Kingfisher

The goal is 18 ha of pond restoration. First the ponds are drained and all fish removed. The thick sludge layer will be removed to recreate good conditions for the target vegetations.

Willows will be taken out of the reed beds and exotic plants are combated. The dykes and in- and outflows of the ponds will finally be restored.

First results

The works already resulted in a breeding pair of Black-necked grebe and Little bittern. Vegetation of habitat 3130 (oligotrophic to mesotrophic standing waters) with target species Floating water-plantain (Luronium natans) has improved

Couple Little bittern in restored reedbeds in 2021                                                                        Breeding pair of of Black-necked Grebe

 

(Fotos: Stefan Achten & Ron Demey (Waarnemingen.be) )

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Restoration of transition mires in BORCHBEEMDEN 

Peatland and grassland restoration 

Habitats are restored by opening them up and preparing them for mowing management. 

Hydrological restoration in this area is again key especially in the peatland habitats you can find here (7140 Transition mires). Ditches will be restored and filled up for optimal water tables.

Appropiate management infrastructure is set up to facilitate nature management in wet conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Hydrological study                                                                                         Dipwell

 

 

 

 

   Restoration open habitat                                                                             Bird watching cabin

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-> Do you want the technical info of the Life Delta project, click