Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund)

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Paardenschor wetland - small scale brackish tidal wetland restoration in the Sea Scheldt (Zeeschelde)

Crux of the matter

The restoration of the Paardenschor was a success to create a tidal wetland in the mesohaline zone of the Sea Scheldt (Zeeschelde). The Paardenschor rapidly transformed to a tidal wetland with a Good Ecological Potential (Brys et al. 2005), with clear creek formation in the mudflats and typical marsh vegetation at the higher areas.
A detailed evaluation of the monitoring methods is available. For future projects it is recommended to start with the monitoring plan already in the planning phase with clear cost estimation and clear agreements on execution and reporting; make a clear distinction between “site success monitoring” and “impact verification monitoring”; make a photographic survey on a yearly basis to improve interpretation of collected data; reduce the density of the network to reduce the budget for monitoring sediment quality; optimise the comparability of monitoring results of zoobenthos with that of other countries; monitoring of birds and fishes needs to be done from the beginning following fixed protocol; investigate better the contribution of the different variables that contribute to the changes in elevation; take into account better the impact of local estuarine characteristics such as sediment balance and wave impact; experimental research is needed to monitor benthic primary production; and investigate the monitoring of floristic quality of marsh vegetation.

An important knowledge gap exists on the identification of factors that can explain all changes in vegetation changes. The inundation frequency cannot be the only factor. Also changes in elevation should be investigated better and the impact of local estuarine characteristics, such as sediment balance and wave impact should be taken into account better.

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Report: Management measures analysis and comparison