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Summary

In a nutshell :

The project 3WATER contributes to implement a European network of protected areas. The aim of the network is to assure the long-term survival of Europe's most valuable and threatened species and habitats while maintaining human activities.

The project 3WATER aims to restore and conserve a specific habitat types and species of Community importance in core of the Natura 2000 area in Midden Limburg in Belgium. The project targets more specifically the following species and habitat types: Bittern and Tree frog.

This project is unique, as it goes through a cooperation between private and public landowners who work together to achieve project objectives.

Thanks to an innovative approach a special attention is given to the synergy between Ecology (nature), Education (together) and Economy (work). This balanced approach is a sustainable basis for further development and prosperity of the area.

The projec is thus a model for other Natura 2000 areas in the European Union. The projec 3WATER started in January 2010 and will finish in December 2013. An amount of 2,7 million will be invested. Fifty per cent is co-funded by the LIFE+ programme.


More elaborated :

The overall objective of the LIFE + project 3watEr is the conservation of the species of Community importance in the pond area in Midden Limburg. The entire name of the project is: The ecological restoration of the Pond Area Middle Limburg through close collaboration between private and public partners, and a Triple-E approach.

But what does this mean?

  1. Ecological restoration: improvement of the living environment of specific habitat types and species of Community importance:
    • Target habitat types: oligotrophic waters, oligo-to mesotrophic standing waters, wet and dry heathlands, and hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities.
    • Target species: Tree frog (Hyla arborea) and Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
  2. Pond Area Midden Limburg: This is the area within which the project takes place.
  3. Close collaboration between public and private actors: This project differs fundamentally from other conservation projects which also aimed at nature conservation.
    Why? Such a unique private-public partnership is essential to ensure a long-term involvement of all stakeholders in the project area.
    Who? The European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) is the coordinating beneficiary of the project. It ensures the coordination of the project and collaborates closely with the following project partners: the Agency for Nature and Forest, the OVML, Limburgs Landschap, Regionaal Landschap Lage Kempen, city Hasselt and community Zonhoven. 
    Moreover, the project is supported by the Flemish government, the Province of Limburg, municipality Heusden-Zolder, De Wijers project, Flemish Land Agency and Natuurpunt Limburg.
  4. Triple E approach: The project goes through a strong integration of ecology, economics and education.