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

The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme

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Crux of the matter

Gaps of knowledge
During the approval procedure following the feasibility study, some experts from nature conservation authorities and associations generally doubted the ecological effectiveness of fresh water mudflats in the upper part of the Weser estuary. One main argument was that mudflat development in this estuary section is mainly due to an anthropogenically induced increase of the tidal amplitude. Although potential positive effects in view of invertebrates and birds (e.g. as feeding grounds) were confirmed, the experts preferred to reduce the aimed at mudflat area expansion on the project area in favor of an expansion of the shallow water zone. The respective new project scenario will result in a lower diversity of tidal habitats and a smaller contact zone between river and project area. However, the overall target achievement of the measure will not be affected or –with regard to fish fauna- even be improved. Basically, a lack of knowledge regarding the ecological functioning of anthropogenic freshwater mudflats has to be stated clearly.

Lessons learned
The agreement on the preferential scenario of the feasibility study reached and recorded in the frame of the final stakeholder meeting should additionally have been formally fixed by the heads of respective departments and associations.

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Reports / Measures / Tools

Report: Management measures analysis and comparison