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  • The preparations were completed in mid-July but still no digger is rolling through the area. How is this possible? The day for the start of construction on August 1st came and went because the area had not yet been officially declared as clear by the public order office and district government. We are waiting in the wings to begin work immediately because the available time frame until October is very short. At the moment, two hearts are beating in our chest: the biologist is desperate for rain when he sees the withered meadows during this time of drought, but the builder also knows that rain would make the construction work even more difficult. So in any case: keep calm and keep on smiling.

    Graugans Nahaufnahme4Michael Schmolz

    greylag goose (Michael Schmolz)


  • To ensure that the construction work could be carried out safely, the area was searched for explosive ordnance in advance. It is known that the area was heavily bombed during World War 2. The ordnance disposal service was able to clear the area, they even had to blow up two bombs because they could not be defused otherwise. Now the area can finally be declared safe and construction work can begin. In this context, a big thank you also goes to the Emmerich Fire Department and the affected farmers for their cooperation and support!

    Apart from explosives there was a lot of metal hidden in the ground. Photo: NABU-Naturschutzstation Niederrhein



  • Something is happening in the Emmericher Ward! Plants were cut back and the area was searched for explosive ordnance – all in preparation for the extensive construction work starting this summer. Silted-up oxbow lakes and flood depressions are to be restored and water will be retained with weirs.

    The NABU-Naturschutzstation Niederrhein as project sponsor invites all interested people to a festive kick-off to celebrate the start of the two-year period of construction.

    The guests can expect
    - a reception
    - information about the project and the nature reserve
    - an excursion and guided tour of the construction site in the nature reserve
    - a colorful family program including a photo exhibition "Auen Leben" and a children's program "AuenforscherInnen

    Date: Saturday, August 27, 2022, at 4 p.m.

    Place: Hüthum hikers' hut, on the edge of the Emmericher Ward NSG, Runde Straße, 46446 Emmerich am Rhein.

    Arrival: By bicycle if possible. (There is limited parking for cars).

    All measures are carried out within the framework of the LIFE project "Wetland Emmericher Ward", which is financed by the European Union and the state of NRW.

    Photo: NABU-Naturschutzstation Niederrhein



  • Our team has published a research paper on the "Initial biological development of a newly established side channel at the Lower Rhine" in the Journal "International Review of Hydrobiology". It describes the ecological and morphodynamic development of the side channel of the Emmericher Ward using data from before and after its completion. Ecological parameters include macrozoobenthos, fish, avifauna and vegetation.

    To read the paper on the Journal´s website use the following link:

  • What looks like a strange piece of agricultural equipment is part of the explosive ordnance disposal. Starting on Friday, it will be used to drive over the grounds of the Emmericher Ward nature reserve to discover metal in the soil such as World War II bombs. Possible finds will be mapped and later excavated.

    This is the next step in rewetting the silted-up flood depressions and water bodies. These were cleared of vegetation in February. Restoration of  the water bodies will start in late summer. Keep your fingers crossed that we don´t get an explosive surprise.

    Photo: NABU-Naturschutzstation-Niederrhein

  • Emmerich – There is nothing fishy going on when saws and excavators move into the Emmerich Ward nature reserve this week. The clearing is part of the maintenance and development measures carried out by the NABU Lower Rhine Nature Conservation Station and funded by the EU and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The aim is to preserve the Emmericher Ward as an important floodplain habitat for endangered species and as a resting place for migratory birds.

    The Emmericher Ward nature reserve is part of the internationally important wetland and EU bird sanctuary "Unterer Niederrhein", which stretches from Duisburg to the Netherlands. However, this wetland suffers from a lack of water due to the deepening of the riverbed of the Rhine, increasing periods of low precipitation and groundwater levels that have been falling for years. The Emmericher Ward has become too dry as well.

    EU project for rewetting

    As part of the EU-funded LIFE project "Wetland Emmericher Ward", silted-up oxbow lakes and tidal pools are being restored and water is being retained in the landscape as it used to be. "These measures will create the basis for typical floodplain habitats," says Klaus Markgraf-Maué, board member of the NABU Lower Rhine Nature Conservation Station and responsible project manager. "we also hope to bring back some endangered species, such as the curlew, which used to breed here."

    The project has supra-regional significance. Markgraf-Maué: " This is a pilot project to test how to sucessfully rewet an area, so that other areas with similar problems can benefit from our experience."

    Clearing of wood in February

    One of the rewetting measures is to turn silted-up floodplain waters back into actual bodies of water. To start the actual measures these areas need to be cleared of already established woody plants, which began on Monday. In the next step, they will be inspected by the explosive ordnance disposal department so that they can then be dredged in the summer.

    Project for nature and people

    The LIFE project "Wetland Emmericher Ward" contributes to the fulfilment of the obligations of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia to preserve and develop the EU bird sanctuary "Unterer Niederrhein". The construction work is financed by the EU and the state of NRW.

    Wherever possible, local companies will be commissioned to carry out the construction work, so that this project not only benefits the fauna and flora and the floodplain habitat, but also the local economy.

    large curlew (Numenius arquata)
    (Photo: Otto de Zoete)


    Grubbing-up work
    (Photo: NABU-Naturschutzstation Niederrhein)

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