4. Flood prevention in Biesbosch National Park
Biesbosch National Park is the largest tidal freshwater marsh of Europe. It is a rare habitat and well protected these days as Natura 2000-area. The difference between high and low tide used to be more than two meters. About fifty years ago this changed drastically due to the Deltaworks – a large-scale project that encompassed the construction of dams and sluices in coastal estuaries - and now the difference is only 70 cm. The rivers Merwede and Maas merge in the Biesbosch, giving way to many creeks cutting through alluvial forest mostly consisting of older willows. In the last fifteen years, thousands of hectares of agricultural lands that surround the national park have been converted to marshlands, providing safety against high water levels of the rivers in winter for the cities in the lowlands, such as Rotterdam.
Biesbosch National Park is a very rich area hosting an impressive number of breeding birds. In 2016 the osprey was documented breeding in the area, which was the first ever osprey breeding record for The Netherlands. In 2017 even two pairs raised young. White-tailed eagle discovered the reserve earlier and two huge nests are present. Large numbers of kingfisher and cetti’s warbler can be seen and heard. Beaver was reintroduced in the Biesbosch and is spreading now from here, recolonizing many areas nearby the reserve. Many lichens and mosses are found on the old willows and every year new species are discovered.
The field trip starts with a presentation in the newly build visitor center. After that we will visit several locations by bus where measures have been taken for water safety - assuring the flow through of huge amounts of water during high water-levels in the river systems. We will also visit several measures for defragmentation that have been taken. After lunch we make a boat-ride through the creeks. We can enjoy the beauty of the area and have a good chance of spotting a white-tailed eagle.
Time of departure: 9:00
Time of return: 17:30
Duration: 8:30 h
Transportation by: bus, boat
Key words: wetland, flood management, habitat restoration
Organization: Province Noord-Brabant, in collaboration with the State Forest Service.