Bokrijk-Kiewit pond complex: European conservation area to cherish

Witteveen+Bos conducts ecohydraulic study

Bokrijk is mainly known as an open-air museum. The wider surroundings are home to a huge variety of nature and great biodiversity. In the ponds and forests of Bokrijk-Kiewit, you will find rare, endangered fauna and flora in extensive areas of outstanding natural value. The area includes a series of large and small ponds, streams and canals with high-quality aquatic vegetation. The water bodies are surrounded by woods and grasslands which also have many interesting animal and plant species. But there are also zones of great recreational value which require a lot of water - good quality water! Like fish ponds, a water mill, Fietsen door het Water, e.g.

Impact of threatened water shortage on nature development

Due to the great anthropogenic pressure and the worrying climate prognoses, people are concerned about water shortages, as well as nature conservation and its further development. Commissioned by the Flemish Land Agency (VLM) and in partnership with Paludosa Research, Fluves, the Soil Service of Belgium (BDB) and PS-Survey, in the coming three years Witteveen+Bos will therefore be conducting an ecohydraulic study into the wider surroundings of Bokrijk open-air museum.

In this ecohydraulic study, we will be exploring the available layout choices, management measures and exploitation possibilities to fulfil the ecological objectives in the framework of NATURA-2000 and to respond to the needs of operators, users and recreational visitors.

Water needs mapped out

To achieve this, we will map out and align the water needs of different actors. In view of the climate changes, the nature objectives have priority over recreational and other purposes.

To understand how to manage the available water as efficiently as possible in terms of space and time, we will draw up a water balance sheet. A water balance sheet provides insight into the functioning of the water system and includes various hydrological inputs, such as: water inflow and precipitation, as well as the outputs, such as: infiltration and evaporation.

System analysis generates priorities with respect to water usage

The results of this system analysis will be aligned with the location and habitat requirements of plants and animals. This will enable us to establish well-reasoned priorities with respect to water usage in relation to water availability. We can also use this information to make the necessary proposals for (control) measures.

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Sofie Depauw

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