Work on ‘bird paradise’ Marker Wadden has begun

Witteveen+Bos experts in ecology and hydraulic engineering are contributing to the realisation of the Marker Wadden project, commissioned by the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation (Natuurmonumenten) and the Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat). The project is aimed at creating an archipelago of ‘nature islands’ that will enhance the ecological quality of the Markermeer, a shallow lake in the central Netherlands created when the Zuiderzee inland sea was closed off from the North Sea. Various recreational facilities will also be provided to ensure that human visitors feel welcome as well.

Markermeer Lake is currently in poor ecological condition. The damming of the Zuiderzee and the construction of hard shores around the lake have led to a significant decrease in hydrological and morphological dynamics and a lack of natural marsh and shore zones. Erosion of the clay lakebed has produced high levels of silt in the water column, resulting in virtually permanent turbidity. Water plants have little opportunity to establish themselves, and habitat diversity and food availability for birds are very limited. The Marker Wadden project aims to turn the area 
into a paradise for birds that also provides room for recreation. A consortium consisting of Boskalis, Witteveen+Bos, Arcadis and Vista produced the winning design for the project’s first phase, which involves creating an archipelago of artificial islands and underwater landscapes as envisaged by Natuurmonumenten. Advantage will be taken of the lake’s natural dynamics (e.g. currents and wind) in accordance with the ‘Building with Nature’ principle. 

Work on the first phase is already in full swing. A protective edge is being constructed and the first artificial islands will soon emerge above water level. This will be followed by a phase of ecological development, which will be carefully monitored and controlled from the outset to encourage the creation of reed marshes, the most important preferred type of natural environment in the Marker Wadden project.

Natuurmonumenten wants to turn the area into a paradise for birds with space for humanity. For its construction the dynamics of the Markermeer will be used, such as current and wind from the 'Building with Nature' principle

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