Biodiversity in the Empelse waard

26-06-2016 – HAS University – ‘s-Hertogenbosch

The Empelse is a nature reserve that is managed by Natuurmonumenten, but will soon be co-managed by HAS University of Applied Sciences. A renovation has taken place in the Empelse so that the area can function as a buffer for water storage when the water level of the Meuse is too high. To investigate the consequences of the redesign, the chemical water quality was measured both before and during the renovation. In addition to the water quality, we also studied winter and breeding birds. Furthermore, a monitoring plan has also been drawn up to monitor the development of the chemical water quality, the fish and the birds in the future. For the chemical water quality, the following values were measured in the three pools: pH, nitrate, ammonium, oxygen, phosphate, chloride and water transparency. The results were compared with the KRW-guideline interpret the data and estimate the water quality. The analysis showed that the renovation had an influence on the nutrient concentrations. An explanation for this is the connection of the Meuse to the pools in the Empelse Waard. The mixing of the Meuse water with that in the pools could have an influence. In addition, the activities for this renovation play a major role. This has stirred up the soil, possibly allowing soil nutrients to be released in the water.

For winter and breeding birds the target species drawn up by natura 2000 were used as a reference point.  Furthermore,  the Hedelse waard, a comparable area lying on the other side of the Meuse, was also used as a reference point. Additionally, the amount of observed red list bird species has been noted. It appeared that 4 of the 14 natura 2000 target species occurred and 13 red list species were observed. The Hedelse waard was shown to be fairly similar to the Empelse in terms of bird species.

Follow-up monitoring of birds and water quality is recommended to be able to follow the development of the Empelse waard.