The Lower Rhine has a federal to nationwide importance as a breeding ground for black-tailed godwit, redshank, corncrake, terns and various duck species. As a resting area, the Lower Rhine has an international significance for wintering arctic geese and several other wading and waterbird species. Therefore, it was designated as a Ramsar area and EU Bird Sanctuary in 1983. With the size of 26,000 ha, this EU Bird Sanctuary is the largest one in North Rhine-Westphalia and one of the largest inland bird sanctuaries in Germany.
The Lower Rhine is situated in the Northern part of the Rhenish Bay and extends from Duisburg along the Rhine through the districts of Wesel and Kleve to the German-Dutch border at Emmerich (right bank of the Rhine) and Kranenburg (left bank of the Rhine). The natural area is characterized by an open agricultural landscape with numerous excavated waters, river remains and small relicts of secondary alluvial forests. The core area became Ramsar and EU Bird Sanctuary in 1983 (see above). Additionally, some parts of the former floodplain, such as the Düffel, the Momm lowlands and the Hetter including the Millinger Bruch, belong to the Lower Rhine area.