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)

Measure description

The restoration of the Paardenschor was a compensation measure for lost intertidal marshes by building a new tidal dock (Deurganckdok) in the Port of Antwerp. To restore the Paardenschor, an area of 12ha was separated from the inland by the construction of a new dike (Sigma dike 11mTAW) and the area itself was lowered (had been elevated for the building of the nuclear plant in Doel in the 1960s and was diked in the 1980s, but there was never built on it). A faint slope was created between 5m TAW and the level of the mudflat already in front of it, to create a good situation for marsh formation. The new dike was constructed next to the old dike and afterwards the old dike was excavated. This site resembled a breached site because some existing tidal mudflats remained between the river and the restored area.

Developing this kind of habitat is expected to contribute in de reduction of tidal energy, increase of flood protection, improvement of oxygen condition, improvement of nutrient conditions, and improvement of self-purifying power.

Analysis of the evolution after restoration fits in with the decisions about the Development outline 2010 and Long Term Vision 2030 (Dutch and Flemish agreement on integrating accessibility, naturalness and flood safety) and the updated Sigmaplan (Flemish plan for flood protection combined with ecological objectives), of the Dutch and Flemish governments, that committed them to leap forward with the ecological rehabilitation of the Scheldt estuary. An important challenge is the creation of tidal wetlands by transformation of woods or agricultural land into tidal mudflats and marshes. In order to assess the feasibility and to identify possible problems any similar small scale projects already in place, such as Paardenschor, are studied in detail to improve our apprehension of the larger scale future plans.

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Report: Management measures analysis and comparison