The nature conservation area Emmericher Ward is a nationally significant floodplain area and part of the International Wetlands and EU Bird Sanctuary Unterer Niederrhein. Since the 1970s, the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU) has been committed to the protection of this outstanding area. In 1985, the more than 310 hectares of floodplain grassland with remains of the old Rhine and relatively near-natural banks of the Rhine were declared a nature conservation area (NSG).
The main objectives are the preservation of the species-rich complex of still waters, sedimentation zones, extensive grassland and gravel banks along the Rhine as breeding and food biotopes of rare and endangered wading birds and waterfowl and as feeding places of wintering arctic geese as well as the development of floodplain forests. Of particular importance are the dry grasslands on the high banks of the Rhine with occurrence of endangered plant species and communities, as well as a nationwide significant presence of woodchucks such as sand wasps and solitary bees.
The Emmericher Ward houses a very diverse breeding bird fauna. Among the valuable species are waterfowl such as garganey and little grebes, waders such as the ringed plover, lapwing and redshank, as well as species of structurally rich shrubbery complexes and alluvial forests such as the stonechat, bluethroat and nightingale. Irregularly, the corncrake colonizes the tall fringe herb communities.
Within the EU bird santuary Unterer Niederrhein, the Emmericher Ward is of outstanding importance as resting and wintering area of arctic geese, ducks and waders. Important species are, for example, wigeon, shoveler, pintail and goldeneye. At intermediate flood levels with correspondingly flooded meadows, up to several thousand waterfowl and gulls rest in the Emmericher Ward.
The waters of the Emmericher Ward host very species-rich dragonfly communities, including species as specialized as the Asian marsh gull (Gomphus flavipes) on the sandy Rhine shores, as well as large amphibian populations. Since 1996, almost 380 vascular plant species have been detected in the area. The characteristic river-accompanying floral elements of dry meadows, tall fringe herbs and floodplains are numerous. Thus, the nature conservation area Emmericher Ward is, floristic, a part of the regionally to trans-nationally important floodplains of the Lower Rhine area. This evaluation is highlighted by the occurrence of 35 species of the Red List of North Rhine-Westphalia and the Lower Rhine area. Among the floristically important biotope types are dry meadows and pasture, stream valley semi-arid grasslands and sandy grasslands of the Rhine shore, tall fringe herb communities, the diverse waters of the floodplain and the temporarily water-logged mud corridors between the groynes.