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Nature friendly maintenance of water buffers

In order to prevent flooding and/or foresee irrigation water during droughts, the province has created different “water buffers”. These are mostly located in intensively used agricultural regions. Given their specific properties (wetlands, open water, required accessibility for maintenance and flood control etc.) they have the potential to be developed into small islands with a high ecological value. Next to water buffering, this is also a very important function, given the fact that they can serve as stepping stones for high value species to travel inside a region that is not supportive to these species. This because of an intensive land use and being a densely populated area.

The maintenance of these green areas however is very labour intensive. Given their wet nature, they are difficult to access with big machines. Hence the work has to be done by hand (or hand carried tools). We aim to make conservation plans for the different buffers and specify these labour intensive tasks that are preferably executed by social economy enterprises. This both stimulates nature value, but also creates a long time perspective for social economy enterprises. Moreover, a skill certification system will be developed for this sector of the social economy.

Further reading

Detailed pilot project definition (English)

Nature conservation plans (English summary, study Dutch)

Link to the website of the companies carrying out the works (Dutch)