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Knokke-Heist - Reconstruction bird islands in nature reserve The Zwin

Ever since the late 1990's the Zwin nature reserve is suffering from a considerable silting up and as a result not enough seawater is reaching the inner part of the reserve. For this reason the existing artificial bird islands are losing their attraction for birds to settle. The birds population on and around the areas decreased over the years.

As part of the European ZTAR-nature project, Section Nature and Forest awarded Ghent Dredging a contract to create a number of new bird islands to offer new opportunities for a number of birds. In particular the seagull, the common tern and the avocet.
The new islands have been dug over the period February to April 2013.

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Included in the contract was the construction of a weir/bridge. The purpose of its construction is to make sure sufficient water will be available around the islands at all times and allowing access to the public.
To make sure the incoming seawater would stay within the nature reserve, some of the existing channels have been filled up, while other channels have been dug, ensuring a perfectly regulated water management of this nature reserve.

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Under another contract about 20 acres in the north-easterly part of the Zwin area, close to the estuary of the main Zwin-channel, have been lowered by removing the nutrient-rich toplayer. Its purpose is the recreation of the original flora. Through lowering the area is rejuvenated. The resulting mud areas should evaluate into an area rich in a variety of species such as samphire and statice, the locally well-known "Zwinneblomme".

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