May 21, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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Nature today | Once again space for the river at Millingerwaard

Millingerwaard is part of Gelderse Poort, a large Natura 2000 area along the river. Millingerwaard is a true riverine nature. As a human, you can roam all over the floodplains with riverine forests, swamps, grassy grasslands, lakes, and river dunes. Wild horses and cattle roam freely and keep the flora short and varied.

Water safety and water quality

If you now look at Millingerwaard from above, you will see arm in hand and fingers in view of the river: these are the freshly dug seepage channels. The larger main channel – the arm – together with the channel of the flow path – the hand – provides more safety in the water. When the river water rises, it first fills the floodplain through a branch downstream and stores the water. At very high water levels in the river, the floodplain itself becomes part of the flowing riverbed. This allows the river water to drain quickly. This contributes to the safety of the four million people behind the levees. Smaller channels – fingers – improve water quality and increase dynamics. Due to the interaction between land and water stimulated by these larger and smaller channels, there is more room at Millingerwaard for an enormous variety of birds, fish, insects and plants.

sand and water game

Sylvo Thijsen, director of Staatsb Glosbeheer, is proud of the result. “Thirty years ago the lawns in Millingerwaard were basically there, they were green and narrow like pool clothes. Now all the different flow speeds in the area create a special nature, who would have thought that? It’s a great example of how to properly integrate challenging intervention like flood risk management and then Adding a lot of nature. We usually feed on nature for economic purposes, but nature has been added to that. A very wonderful job has been done together.”

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The dynamics in the natural river at Millingerwaard are enhanced by the presence of the beaver

Dutch custom

Sylvo describes Millingerwaard as an important link in our delta nature. “Typically Dutch. We have tamed this delta nature with barriers and reclaimed land, but the Millingerwaard redevelopment has brought back the dynamics. It is one of the first areas in which the concept of ‘dynamic nature’ was passed on to the engineers of Rijkswaterstaat. This is well taken up and integrated here with sand mining. and mud.Water safety and giving space to nature do not always go hand in hand.The smoothness of the areas desired by the Rijkswaterstaat is at odds with what we would like to see, for example the growing woodland.But you will get there in good consultation, by sitting around the table with each other, and above all Something, drawing together. Because drawing helps, especially in complex situations.”


Marjolijn van de Zandschulp, chief engineer and director of Rijkswaterstaat East Netherlands, also looks back on the collaboration with a good feeling. “Millingerwaard is an important area for the Room for the River programme. It is located where the branches of the Rhine split in the Dutch Delta Arboretum. Here we organize the distribution of water to the main rivers. Several tasks had to be stacked during the redevelopment: flood risk management, nature development, and promoting charging and recreation. Sometimes he “hovers” between those goals. If you listen to each other as parties, you get there: What are our goals here and how do we learn from each other? That was very successful with the Millingerwaard redesign.”

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Beavers on beaver castle

Pioneering work

“Certainly in a region with remarkable natural dynamics, we are looking for ways to intelligently combine high water safety, our primary goal, with the development of nature. It is groundbreaking work. Countries focus on cyclical management and making room for nature; we want to be able to properly regulate the water level. For example, how do you deal with overgrowth? By explaining the ideas we have about this from both sides, we come to a good conclusion.”
“As Rijkswaterstaat, we manage a vast area of ​​land along the rivers. This creates responsibilities: How do we properly pass the river area with all its nature to future generations? I see the cooperation with Staatsb Glosbeheer that we have obtained at Millingerwaard is a good breeding ground for collaboration on projects Others We will also need each other to be able to respond properly to the new challenges in the river area, such as water levels that are high but also very low. These extremes will increase. We have to think together about how to design the areas in a way that can withstand that, and how to give space to the operations The newly furnished Millingerwaard is now a fine example of this resilient design.”

more information

  • in the magazine About Millingerwaard You can read more about how much work has been put into this project and what the results are for biodiversity, for example.
  • For those who want to go and have a look and take a walk through Millingerwaard, there is a file way of listening created. In it, Millingerwaard tells his own story.