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)

Effectiveness according to development targets of measure

Step 1: Definition of development target
The creation of new ecological valuable intertidal wetlands can contribute to estuarine restoration as it enables habitat development and biodiversity. Success factors are related to the improvement of estuarine processes (such as sedimentation-erosion, creek formation and soil development).

Step 2: Degree of target achievement
Immediately after restoration (2004), the Paardenschor existed of 12ha bare mudflat. Under influence of the tidal floods twice a day with brackish water from the Scheldt, 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 (such as Common Glasswort (Salicornia europaea), Sea Aster (Aster tripolium) and Common Cordgrass (Spartina anglica)). The sediment is colonised by benthic invertebrates, predated on by water birds and fish. The site is functional as a roost and foraging site rather than as a breeding site. This type of low dynamic mudflats, relatively high in the tidal frame adds valuable foraging time and space for water birds. However, its design could have been adapted to enhance its habitat functions for fish.
The initial tidal elevation and site slope were well chosen (Van den Neucker et al. 2007). Creek network systems seem to establish without the specific excavation of a creek onset. However, creek onset might have enhanced the habitat differentiation within the site and its suitability as fish habitat. The old dike could have been excavated more, but this might have led to erosion on the transition to the adjacent marsh (Schor Ouden Doel). Overall there is net sedimentation, with local erosion in the developing creek network system.

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