Case study:Dommeldal: cross-border habitat restoration in the Dommel Valley

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Location: 51° 9' 44", 5° 33' 52"
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Project overview

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Status Complete
Project web site
Themes
Country Belgium
Main contact forename Tom
Main contact surname De Beelde
Main contact user ID
Contact organisation Natuurpunt
Contact organisation web site http://www.natuurpunt.be/default.aspx
Partner organisations
Parent multi-site project
This is a parent project
encompassing the following
projects
No
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Project summary

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In the 1950s, the river Dommel was straightened, the water levels became lower and changes in land use practices led to increased input of nutrients, afforestation with exotic tree species and abandonment of extensive uses. Habitats and species decreased in variety in consequence.

The ‘Dommeldal’ project aimed to establish an ecological corridor between the heath habitats of the Hoge Kempen and the heath habitats in North Brabant by restoring habitats along the valley, supporting species migration along the river.

The project resulted in the restoration of valuable habitats from Peer in Flanders up to Valkenswaard in the Netherlands. Typical Campine nature, such as land dunes, heathlands, ponds, irrigated grasslands (‘vloeiweiden’), orchid-rich hayfields and alluvial forests, were restored, and new opportunities were created for threatened species, such as the European nightjar, the natterjack toad ( Epidalea calamita) and the alcon blue butterfly (Phengaris alcon).

As part of the project, many lots were swapped with local farmers to stop soil degradation and area loss. A total of 130 000 m3 nutrient-rich soil was removed and land topography was restored. A dozen ponds were created along with the easing of smooth transitions towards drier sandy land. Around 25ha of uniform softwood stands at Hageven-De Plateaux were removed to restore heath habitats.

Hiking paths were reconstructed and new visitor guides were created to ensure local involvement. Also much information has been disseminated in the area, by means of information panels and exhibitions. Local farmers and volunteers associated with the beneficiary will be involved in the management of the area after the LIFE project.

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Lessons learnt

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Catchment and subcatchment



Site

Name From source to Hageven - De Plateaux
WFD water body codes
WFD (national) typology
WFD water body name
Pre-project morphology
Reference morphology
Desired post project morphology
Heavily modified water body No
National/international site designation
Local/regional site designations
Protected species present Yes
Invasive species present Yes
Species of interest Floating water-plantain (Luronium natans), Eurasian bittern (Botaurus stellaris), Little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus), Western marsh harrier (Circus aeruginosus), Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica), European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), Woodlark (Lullula arborea), Tawny pipit (Anthus campestris)
Dominant hydrology
Dominant substrate
River corridor land use
Average bankfull channel width category
Average bankfull channel width (m)
Average bankfull channel depth category
Average bankfull channel depth (m)
Mean discharge category
Mean annual discharge (m3/s)
Average channel gradient category
Average channel gradient
Average unit stream power (W/m2)


Project background

Reach length directly affected (m)
Project started
Works started
Works completed
Project completed
Total cost category
Total cost (k€) 5,818.650
5,818.65 k€
5,818,650 €
Benefit to cost ratio
Funding sources

Cost for project phases

Phase cost category cost exact (k€) Lead organisation Contact forename Contact surname
Investigation and design
Stakeholder engagement and communication
Works and works supervision
Post-project management and maintenance
Monitoring

Supplementary funding information

EU contribution 2,676,579.00 €



Reasons for river restoration

Mitigation of a pressure
Hydromorphology
Biology
Physico-chemical
Other reasons for the project


Measures

Structural measures
Bank/bed modifications
Floodplain / River corridor
Planform / Channel pattern
Other
Non-structural measures
Management interventions
Social measures (incl. engagement)
Other


Monitoring

Hydromorphological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Biological quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Physico-chemical quality elements

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative

Any other monitoring, e.g. social, economic

Element When monitored Type of monitoring Control site used Result
Before measures After measures Qualitative Quantitative


Monitoring documents



Additional documents and videos


Additional links and references

Link Description
http://www.natuurpunt.be/nl/natuurbehoud/life-natura-/life-dommeldal 742.aspx Project Website
http://www.natuurmonumenten.nl/sites/default/files/Report-LIFE-Dommeldal-2012-English.pdf LIFE Dommeldal. A cross-border Natura 2000 project
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/Projects/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.dspPage&n proj id=2921&docType=pdf Dommeldal - Transboundery habitat restoration in the valley of the Dommel

Supplementary Information

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