In the polder area of West-Flanders (Belgium), there are many former extraction sites that are part of the Natura 2000 network (Special Protection Area, SPA), providing opportunities for ‘wetland’ restoration. This often requires a combination of groundworks and raising the water table.
In order to raise the water table, supply of external water is mostly needed. In most cases this external water is heavily eutrophicated as a result of intensive agriculture in the vicinity. Water quality problems are a common issue in restoration of old extraction sites.
In this pilot we want to test new technology for nature management during and after ecological restoration of former extraction sites.
‘t Pompje is a former clay extraction of 100 ha and part of the SPA. The 1st phase of restoration started a few years ago (mostly restoration of saline grasslands and habitats for meadow birds).
Within RESTORE, a hydrological study will be performed which will investigate
- the effects of irrigation with external, non-purified water (which is considered of bad quality in this site)
- all possible methods to reduce the loading capacity of the water system with nutrients and in this way to avoid eutrophication e.g. dephosphatization, and or helophyte filter
In a later stage of RESTORE, we want to start up the second phase of habitat restoration: the restoration of marshland. The results of the hydrological study will therefore be implemented ‘in the field’ (reedbed or other ways of water treatment). This will have direct, positive impacts on biodiversity on the site.
This action will be advised by our ‘internal’ expert panel in which all project partners are represented. This will encompass regular consultation of the specific know-how of the project partners and workshops including at least one field visit. This transnational cooperation will lead to learning of good practices and to a better understanding of the ecosystems we are working in.
Insights from the hydrological study will be extrapolated to the other pilots and other extraction sites in the whole of the NWE. The key output will be recommendations for habitat creation (and wildlife viewing) on former extraction sites and ‘on the site’ implementation of the outcomes of the hydrological study (WP2A11). This will result in concerted recommendations for best practice, promoting cohesion between regions. The key findings will be written down in a report and made available through the RESTORE website.
Download VLM updates on the 't Pompje site above (in Dutch)
Download RESTORE project information leaflet for the 't Pompje site above (in English)
Download hydrological survey reports for 't Pompje above.
- Non-technical summary in English
- Full technical report in Dutch