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Sledgehammers, cranes and bulldozers: restoring dunes and marshes by removing buildings and soil
Herrier, J.-L.; Van Nieuwenhuyse, H.; Deboeuf, C.; Deruyter, S.; Leten, M. (2005). Sledgehammers, cranes and bulldozers: restoring dunes and marshes by removing buildings and soil, in: Herrier, J.-L. et al. (Ed.) Proceedings 'Dunes and Estuaries 2005': International Conference on nature restoration practices in European coastal habitats, Koksijde, Belgium 19-23 September 2005. VLIZ Special Publication, 19: pp. 79-94
In: VLIZ Special Publication. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISSN 1377-0950, meer

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 
Documenttype: Congresbijdrage

Author keywords
    Flemish coast; Vlaamse kust; Nature restoration; Natuurherstel; Demolition of buildings; Earthworks

Auteurs  Top 
  • Herrier, J.-L., meer
  • Van Nieuwenhuyse, H., meer
  • Deboeuf, C.
  • Deruyter, S.
  • Leten, M., meer

    Flanders has the most urbanised coastline of Europe, north of the Pyrenees and the Alps. During the 20th century seaside resorts grew to one another to finally form one urban agglomeration from the Dutch to the French border, only locally interrupted by some rather small not built up areas of dunes. However even the remaining and legally protected 'natural areas' often include buildings, roads or even dredging sludge dumps. In this situation of an extremely damaged and fragmented natural environment, management by mowing and grazing is not sufficient to restore it to a satisfactory level. Open space and physical conditions have to be restored in order to create chances for the redevelopment of natural habitats and wild species. In this paper an overview is given of the most important nature restoration works that have been or are currently being carried out by the Nature Division along the Flemish coast since the year 1995 . These projects include: (1) the demolition of the buildings of the former children-home 'Georges Theunis' - to reactivate large scale sand drift (1995) and the removal of a soil dump - to recreate a wet dune slack (1997) in the Flemish Nature Reserve 'Ter Yde' at Oostduinkerke; (2) the digging off of soil dumps and the excavation of a former raceway - to restore decalcified fossil dunes (1997-2000) in the Flemish Nature Reserve 'D'Heye' at Bredene; (3) the complete demolition of the former military harbour and the digging off of the dredging spoil-dumps - to restore mud flats, salt marshes and sand dunes (1999-2003) in the Flemish Nature Reserve 'The Yzer-rivermouth' at Nieuwpoort; (4) the demolition of the former 'Swimming Pool' - to create a pond, a wet dune-slack and grey and white dunes (2004) in the Flemish Nature Reserve 'Zwin-dunes and polders' at Knokke; (5) the demolition of the former sewage treatment plant of Nieuwpoort - to restore calcareous marshland and humid dune slack areas (2004-2005) in the fossil beach-plain of the regional nature domain 'Groenendijk'. The paper describes how these projects have been conceived, planned, prepared and finally executed and, if the necessary data are already available, it compares their results with their initial objectives concerning stimulating natural processes and increasing biodiversity. All the concerned sites are included in the proposed Special Area for Conservation 'Dunes including Yzer-rivermouth and Zwin' which has been proposed under the European Habitat-directive 92/43/EEC. All the above mentioned projects aim at an active implementation of this directive. Although it is more economic to demolish constructions than to restore them, such large scale demolition- and ground-works are relatively expensive in proportion to the rather limited budgets which are available for nature conservation. EU financial contribution was obtained under the LIFE nature - projects 'Integral Coastal Conservation Initiative' (ICCI) and 'Fossil Estuary of the Yzer-Dunes Restoration Action' (FEYDRA). It has been of significant importance to facilitate the dismantlement of the military harbour and the demolition of the sewage treatment plant, both of which were situated at Nieuwpoort.

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