The newly opened island, certainly one of 5 created within the Markermeer as a part of the Netherlands-based Marker Wadden rewilding mission, attracted crowds of nature lovers. By creating new habitat and enhancing water high quality, the mission is reconnecting individuals with wild nature and boosting biodiversity.
The weekend of September eight and 9 noticed almost 3000 individuals witness spectacular birdlife on a newly opened island within the centre of the Markermeer (Lake Marken) within the Netherlands. The island has been created as a part of the continued Marker Wadden mission, certainly one of Europe’s largest, most formidable and most revolutionary nature restoration initiatives. Overseen by Dutch non-profit organisation Natuurmonumenten (the Dutch Society for Nature Conservation), the mission has been a member of the European Rewilding Network (ERN) since 2017.
“The opening of the island is an actual milestone in our mission,” says Natuurmonumenten mission director Roel Posthoorn. “One among our mission goals is to reconnect individuals with wild nature, and it was implausible to see so many individuals – each Dutch and worldwide – make the voyage.”
Those that took the 10 kilometre boat journey had been definitely given a deal with after they arrived, with an abundance of birdlife on show. This included round 1200 avocets, in addition to different waders, terns and spoonbills. Entry to a variety of strategically situated hides, together with one that permits customers to see underwater, has been enabled via a 12-kilometre lengthy footpath.
One of many largest freshwater lakes in western Europe, the 700 square-kilometre Markermeer is a shallow lake with a depth of between three and 5 metres. It was a part of the Zuiderzee, a saltwater inlet of the North Sea, which was dammed off in 1932.
Following the abandonment of a land reclamation mission within the 1980s, the Markermeer turned a useful ecological and leisure asset. The lake is a Natura 2000 web site, and an necessary breeding, resting and wintering habitat for quite a few hen species. It’s also house to wide selection of fish species, on which many hen species rely.
Sadly the biodiversity of Markermeer has declined drastically over the previous couple of a long time. As a result of separation of the lake by dykes, sediment which was as soon as carried away on currents now falls to the underside of the lake, making the water turbid and negatively impacting fish and hen populations, in addition to crops and molluscs.
The Marker Wadden mission, which started in 2014, has seen the creation of 5 islands within the lake, utilizing positive sediment from the lake backside. This isn’t solely offering a variety of useful new habitats, however can be fixing the issue of siltation by altering water dynamics and creating deeper gullies the place suspended silt can settle out. Improved water high quality is benefitting many species of birds, fish and macrofauna by boosting ecological productiveness, in addition to these concerned in leisure actions on the Markermeer.
“We’re delighted to report that up to now our island creation is working as supposed,” says Natuurmonumenten’s Posthoorn. “We now have seen a marked enhance within the quantity of zooplankton in shallow waters, which signifies that turbidity has decreased. This, in flip, supporting larger fish and hen numbers.”
The not too long ago opened island is the one one accessible to the general public – the opposite 4, which at the moment are present process a technique of vegetation, are solely for the advantage of wildlife.
Whereas constitution ferries at present make the journey out to the island just a few instances every week, the service ought to develop into extra common by 2020. A seashore has additionally been created subsequent to the marina, so guests are anticipated to incorporate a mixture of nature lovers, seashore lovers and train fans.
“We’ll proceed our monitoring, in fact, however I’m optimistic in regards to the end result of this huge restoration,” says Natuurmonumenten’s Posthoorn. “Benefitting wild nature, native residents and guests, this pioneering rewilding mission can hopefully function a task mannequin for different large-scale initiatives throughout Europe and farther afield.”
Scaling up rewilding
Rewilding Europe is a part of a burgeoning pan-European rewilding motion which has seen many spectacular and provoking initiatives develop over current years. With rewilding-related tasks persevering with to multiply and flourish throughout the continent, the target of the ERN is to attach, help and strengthen them.
The ERN has displayed spectacular development since its launch on the WILD10, the World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca in October 2013. It operates on a stronger collectively philosophy, selling rewilding as a conservation strategy. Members meet often – often by way of webinar – to share data, perception and examples of finest follow.
Rewilding Europe extends a heat welcome to all rewilding initiatives and encourages them to use for membership of the ERN. Please view this page for extra data on software.