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Doelstellingen

Wat biedt het project 3WATER?

  1. De Europees beschermde natuurwaarden in stand houden en verbeteren. Met name de doelsoorten roerdomp en boomkikker en een aantal habitattypes zoals natte en droge heide, natte graslanden en vijvers.
  2. De samenwerking tussen private en publieke landeigenaren en organisaties in het gebied vergroten.
  3. Werken aan een duurzame streekontwikkeling volgens een vooruitstrevende Triple E aanpak waarbij Ecologie, Economie en Educatie evenwichtig in rekening worden gebracht.
  4. Het brede publiek kennis laten maken met de waarde van het gebied, het project, de samenwerking en het Europees natuurbeleid (Natura2000)
  5. Andere Natura2000-projecten inspireren tot privaat-publieke samenwerking.
  6. Het plattelandsgebruik promoten.

 

Actie(s) !

Op het terrein

Er zijn herstelwerken gepland in en rond vijvers, poelen, bossen, heide en vochtig grasland. Het landschap krijgt een meer open karakter. Er komen 16,7 ha nieuwe vijvers en poelen bij en 140 ha wordt verbeterd. 6 km grachten worden opnieuw opengemaakt. Meer dan 10 ha heide worden bijkomend aangelegd, naast de 30 ha heide die verbeterd worden. Voor de fauna wordt gestreefd naar 10 extra broedkoppels van roerdomp en een duizendtal extra mannelijke boomkikkers. Een groot deel van de werken vindt plaats op privaat terrein en is niet toegankelijk zonder toestemming. Er worden wel begeleide wandelingen en werfbezoeken georganiseerd en langs wandelpaden worden infoborden geplaatst.

Voor de bezoekers

Een extra parking, nieuwe wandelpaden en infoborden, uitkijkposten en webcams zullen de bezoeker nog meer van het gebied laten ontdekken en genieten. Op twee verschillende plaatsen (domeinen Kiewit en Heidestrand) komen interactieve tentoonstellingen. Speciaal opgeleide gidsen zorgen voor unieke wandelingen. 

Voor iedereen

Omdat het project maatschappelijk zeer relevant is, nl. het zoeken naar een goede balans tussen de maatschappelijke belangen ecologie, economie en educatie, zijn er verschillende acties voorzien om dit met u te delen. Deze brochure is er één van, naast de website en nieuwsbrieven, infokrantjes, infomomenten en tentoonstellingen, publicaties, conferenties, een educatief pakket voor scholen en tot slot een spraakmakende videodocumentaire (eind 2013).

Achter de schermen

Het project 3WATER brengt landeigenaren en ondersteunende organisaties samen om te werken aan een afgestemd beheer (en gebruik) binnen het Natura2000-gebied. Dit wordt vertaald in lange termijnbeheerplannen. Dankzij regelmatige bijeenkomsten blijft het wederzijds begrip en rekenschap tussen de partijen groeien. Ook met het beleid van De Wijers (het ruimere gebied waarbinnen dit project zich situeert), onderhouden we een nauwe samenwerking.

Het project voert ook studies uit rond waterzuivering, monitoring, communicatie, educatie en samenwerking. Samen met de deelname aan Europese conferenties en netwerken brengt dit heel wat expertise en aandacht naar het gebied. Dit bevordert op zijn beurt nieuwe investeringen, samenwerkingen, projecten en ontwikkelingen.

Conservation and Restoration

Objectives

The restoration and preservation of specific habitat types and species of Community importance in the Natura 2000 area in the pond area in Midden Limburg, Belgium. The project targets more specifically the following species and habitat types:

Species:

  • Bittern (Botaurus stellaris) (A021)
  • Tree frog (Hyla arborea) (1203)


Habitats:

  • Oligotrophic waters of the type 3110
  • Oligo-to mesotrophic standing waters of the type 3130
  • Wet heath lands of the type 4010
  • Dry heath lands of the type 4030
  • Hydrophilous tall herb fringe communities of the type 6430


Actions and tools involved:

For the ecological restoration and conservation of the target habitats and specie the following actions will be carried out for:

Botaurus stellaris: restoring the hydrological regime preceded by an eco-hydrological study, restoring a more open landscape by removing scrub and trees on the pond dikes, restoration of large mesotrophic ponds (see habitat type 3130), extension and improvement of the reed beds and fish availability, creation of predator free breeding opportunities. Some areas, vulnerable to disturbance, will be closed for the public. Additional foraging areas will be created.

Hyla arborea: restoration of aquatic habitats consisting of shallow, sunny and fish free ponds and restoration of land habitat (see habitat type 6430) for foraging and hibernation.

Habitat Type 3110 : morphological and restoration of the pond and dikes, removal of scrub and trees (shade, nutritients) and organic layer, restoration of the hydrological regime.

Habitat type 4010 : removal of scrub and trees, removal of organic layer, sod cutting, restoration of hydrological regime.

Habitat type 4030 : removal of scrub and trees, removal of organic layer, sod cutting.

Expected results:

In general, we expect that the overall conservation status of all targeted habitats and species in the area will improve. More specifically, the results expected from the restoration actions are following:  

Botaurus stellaris: to keep the current 4 to 5 breeding pairs in the area and retain additional

Breeding opportunities for additional 4 to 5 couples on public property and 5 on private property. This means a total of 13 to 15 breeding couples and an increase of the Flemish population by 35%. This, we expect to achieve through:

  • the restoration of a more open landscape (removal of bush and trees on about 9.5 km of dikes, opening of 64 ponds of a total of 158.3 hectares)
  • the restoration of about 12.6 ha mesotrophic ponds (habitat type 3130) and the improvement of an additional 141.2 hectares of mesotrophic ponds
  • The improvement and extension of reed beds (> 20 ha)
  • Reduction of the predation by fox and marten via reed islands (13.4 ha)
  • The restoration of sufficient and appropriate fish availability (on 110 ha ponds) by the improvement of 0.9 hectares suitable foraging habitats.

 

Hyla arborea: to expand the current population of 150 up to 500 - 1000 calling males. This will be achieved through the restoration of an additional 7.3 ha of aquatic reproduction habitat and the improvement of 4hectares and the restoration of about 27 hectares of foraging land habitat of type 6430.

Furthermore, we expect to restore five acres of habitat type 3110, to restore 8.42 hectares of habitat type 4010 and to restore 8.67 hectares and improve and additional 22, 75 hectares of habitat type 4030.

More than 50% of all these restoration measures will take place on private land.

Participation

Objectives:

To establish a strong and sustainable participation of the group of private landowners and a close cooperation between all stakeholders involved in the management of the area.

 

Actions and tools involved:

In order to establish a close collaboration with private landowners a good confidential contact and communication structure is crucial. This is offered by two actors. Firstly, the European Landowners’ Organization (ELO) which is the coordinating beneficiary is closely related with the group of private landowners. And also the local landowners’ organization – the OVML, as associated beneficiary is essential in this context.

Several actions are set out to enlarge the number of private landowners participating in the project, its integrated management plan (A3) and targets:

  • Identification and contact;
  • Information meeting;
  • Publication of project related articles;
  • Guided visits.


Furthermore, the conferences to be held will also focus on the participation of private landowners in Natura 2000 targets.

Beside good contacts, it is also crucial to conclude clear agreements. Such agreements should be written and the exact commitment has to be well described. These documents describe the precise engagement (actions, responsibilities, duration). So far, 7 (of the biggest) landowners have already signed such agreements.

  • The agreement states hat the landowner in question agrees with the restoration action on his property and that he will do the necessary preparatory works (studies, permissions, consultations, tenders) as well as the supervision and reports on the works. However, the landowner in question can claim unlimited administrative and technical assistance by the OVML.
  • The landowner also agrees to respect the general project agenda for the execution of actions and that he is willing to pay a certain budget of restoration works. 
  • The landowner also agrees to conserve all the restoration works for at least 10 years after the execution actions. 

 

There are at least 15 land owners who will be approached and stimulated during the project with the question to participate in the restoration actions. 

All agreements, made will be asked to become integrated and/or further adapted in line with the long term integrated management plan for the whole area.

Close cooperation between all or most of the various stakeholders of the project: since most of the stakeholders will be already involved in the steering committee of the project, the elaboration of the project itself has already been a great opportunity for further development collaboration between all or most of stakeholders in the project area. This collaboration is important to share valuable and practical information and experience, to enhance mutual respect and to establish and overall approach for the area (integrated management plan, after Life continuation plan, etc.).


Expected results (outputs and quantified achievements):

The total area of the EU protected area within the project area covers about 2,563 hectares. 73% (1871 ha) of this area is covered by ponds, forest, farmland and other (semi-) natural habitats. More than 50% (978 ha) of that is private property.

For the participation in the ecological restoration actions (and a long term management) the project can rely already on the agreements with the 7 big landowners in the project area (properties> 50 hectares, signed agreements), covering a surface of about 828 hectares. First of all, we expect to establish on these properties the results as mentioned under objective 1 for private property.

Furthermore, we expect to maximize the restoration activities on these properties and have at least and additional 5 to 10 private landowners participating in the project for a total of 150 hectares. Ten per cent of the budget foreseen for the concrete restoration actions on private property is foreseen for this purpose.

Concerning the after Life conservation plan we expect to have an even higher number of private landowners participating in the long term management plans: about 20 – 30 landowners (with signed management contracts), covering a total area of 1078 hectares.

Overall, we hope to enhance more generally on both sides (public and private), the fertile ground and atmosphere for sustainable collaboration and win-win situations.

Triple E synergy

  • Objectives:

To establish a sustainable basis for the conservation of the targeted species and habitats on a long term basis through special attention will be given to the synergy between Ecology Education and Economy in the area-the Triple E approach.


Actions and tools involved:

The overall approach of the project and the ways in which the actions are developed focus on the development of a sustainable basis for the conservation of the ecological values in the project on a long term basis. Currently, there are a lot of economic activities including tourism, fishery, farming, forestry and agriculture. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the synergy between environmental, economic and educational aspects (the Triple E approach). Only in this case, a sustainable situation can be achieved.

Education is based on the public awareness, actions and motivation for nature conservation on a long term basis. Therefore, it is a key factor for the project. This aspect will be included in:

  • A communication and education study;
  • A study on the participation of private landowners in the management of Natura 2000 areas;
  • The project website with sufficient background information;
  • Info meeting for local population;
  • Publication of various articles directed towards European landowners;
  • Dissemination materials including brochures and video;
  • Information signs;
  • Educative element in the project area, so that visitors can learn about ecology, history, targeted species and habitats;
  • Exhibition stands;
  • Education packages;
  • Special training for guides.

 

 

Expected results (output and quantified achievements):

Firstly, we wish that the conservation of specific nature values in this area would be ensured thanks to a broad and comprehensive approach on a long term basis. Not only ecological factors but also environmental and educational ones will be taken into account. We aim to get visitors closer to the Natura 2000 areas thanks to educational activities. We would like to show them the beauty and the challenges and thus to create a broader and stronger basis for nature conservation in Natura 2000 areas.

The educational aspects of action A2 and D6 aim to ensure stronger involvement of the majority of local stakeholders. These actions are accompanied by good dissemination material, Publisher articles and meetings. Moreover, visitors can benefit from the improvement of visitors¥ infrastructures. A better, more comfortable and sustainable environment for residents, schools and tourists will attract their attention to the nature values in the project area. Regarding the economic aspect, we would like to stimulate small-scale economic activities such as tourism, fish farming, sustainable agriculture and forestry and their synergy with nature conservation. During the project period, there will be developed a strategy for visitors also for the after Life period.

Public Awareness

Objectives:

The overall objective of the project communication strategy is to enhance awareness about Natura 2000 at the local, regional and national level.

 

Actions and tools involved:

Each communication and dissemination action will highlight Natura 2000 concept.

 

Expected results (output and quantified achievements):

We are convinced that the project will greatly contribute to the enhancement of the general public awareness about Natura 2000. The use of Natura 2000 logo will help to achieve this goal. The logo will be displayed on all dissemination materials. It will be monitored how many visitors have seen Natura 2000 logo. The final number will be based on the number of distributed dissemination materials, the number of published articles, the number of conference attendees and the website traffic.

 

Pilot project

Objectives:

A group of landowners will be involved as an important and reliable partner in the management of Natura 2000 areas. This concept will be implemented taken to demonstrate and further develop a participatory approach.

 

Actions and tools involved:

A best-practice method on Ñhow to make landowners to commit to a sustainable management of Natura 2000 areasì will be further developed in the study on the participation of private landowners in the management of Natura 2000 areas. This study will be presented at several conferences. The project itself is actually a best-practice demonstration. Most landowners in the project area are involved in the ecological restoration. A good cooperation between various stakeholders showcases also a participatory approach, as landowners are represented in the extended project committee. We hope that this best practice, the project results and a participatory approach will be disseminated to relevant target groups thanks to communication actions including the website, published articles, brochures, posters, a video, exhibition stands and conferences.

 

Expected results (outputs and quantified achievements):

We are convinced that the project will be a good example of the involvement of private landowners in the management of Natura 2000 areas. The results will be monitored as well as the achievement of objectives one and two. Lesson learned will also be observed. The results will be embraced in the study on the participation of private landowners in Natura 2000 management which will be presented during the conference on the aforementioned topic as well as field experience and the video documentary. The final project conference will present the project as a whole. Thanks to dissemination activities, we aim to reach the public interested in the methodology used for this project.