Design plan for Het Hol nature reserve

The ecological quality of Het Hol nature reserve, located between the villages of Kortenhoef and Oud-Loosdrecht, has deteriorated over the last few decades. This is why the Province of North Holland intends to contract for the development of a design and restoration plan that will make it possible to achieve the Natura 2000 objectives for the Oostelijke Vechtplassen nature reserve and the Het Hol nature gem. This is challenging, because Het Hol is a highly complex lowland peat area. To be able to develop effective plans requires specific expert knowledge of ecology, soil chemistry, geohydrology and surface water hydrology.

The project issued by the Province of North Holland was carried out by Witteveen+Bos in collaboration with partners B-WARE research centre and Ron van ’t Veer. The work consisted of an extensive systems analysis (in which the ecological functioning of the area was meticulously documented), which served as a basis for preparing a design and restoration plan for aquatic (water), as well as terrestrial (land) elements. The plan sets out the measures required to maintain and recover Het Hol’s natural values.

The measures in the design and restoration plan reactivate the mesotrophic land accretion process and facilitate the development of new nature on freed-up agricultural lands. The measures were developed down to the preliminary design (PD) level in accordance with the systems engineering (SE) method and include cost estimates. The design plan not only addresses the layout of the area, but also includes specific recommendations concerning the management of this unique piece of nature and landscape.

To end up with broadly supported plans, it was decided to apply an iterative design process for this project. Multiple design sessions involving various regional partners (Province of North Holland, Dutch Natuurmonumenten nature association and the Dutch Waternet water company) were held for this purpose.

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