Luneplate

Tidal nature compensation area, measurements and results

In the 14th century, the Weser estuary was a delta with several separate channels and was also connected to the Jade. Butjadingen was then still an island. The tidal channels were constantly changing course. The island of Luneplate formed around 1800 in the Weser estuary as a result of mud deposits and was covered with reeds. It was separated from the mainland by the tidal river Lune, the Weser and a tributary of the Weser, the ‘Alte Weser”. It was reclaimed in 1922 and put into use for agriculture.

Since 1996, an area of 1438 ha of the Luneplate was in steps given a nature function as ecological compensation for the expansion of the Container Terminal Bremerhaven. The Luneplate nature reserve (1438 ha) has been ongoing since 1996 but was extended especially from 2003 onwards.

Luneplate

coordinates Google Maps 53.48163 , 18.52673

Since 1996, an area of 1438 ha of the Luneplate was in steps given a nature function as ecological compensation for the expansion of the Container Terminal Bremerhaven. The Luneplate nature reserve (1438 ha) has been ongoing since 1996 but was extended especially from 2003 onwards.

With the realization in 2012 of the tidal polder it was completed.

Thomas Wieland - Bremen Ports ©Mark Schuurman - AnderBeeld.nl

The latter is a remarkable form of managed retreat as tidal channels, banks and tidal flats have been constructed in a former agricultural area which is in open connection with the Weser estuary via an inlet with a storm surge lock.

Thomas Wieland from Bremen Ports gives us an guided tour.

For the expansion of the Bremen Ports, the Luneplate have been rewetted in order to serve as an ecological compensation area.

There are three main actions in the Luneplate:
Grassland area in which the higher areas are grazed in order to create transition areas. Extensive grassland without fertilization and with high water levels. Especially as a habitat for breeding and guest birds. And the tidal polders, a flat area of around 200 hectares inland, with an open connection to the Wese.

From the observation tower we can see the tidal polder. With brackish water, the mesohaline zone with a salt content of around 2 to 8 per thousand. The water of the Wese flows into and out of these tidal polder.

The adjustment in the inland still has to flow through the tidal polders (still 30km2). The barrier to sweep the storm surge is the connection to Wese. The area of ​​the Tidepolder is silting up relatively fast. It implies that the areal extent of subtidal and perhaps intertidal areas will decrease, which will lead to a loss of natural diversity.

The higher parts are grazed with water buffalo all year round as a transition to natural parts. Outside dike is grazed with Galloways all year round. And farmers in the area use a mixture of cattle that are not that heavy and do not damage the walls.

Sedimentation was measured by boat. The excavation of a tidal temple (-1.20 mtr.) has now a height of 1.80 mtr. So in nine years a landing of 3 meters. In the upper area it is 20-30 cm. What is deeply exhausted is quickly full again. And with that a lot of money for a short period. It is expected to continue, but the question is how far. The creeks are deepened at an angle. In general, the banks have become thicker and the tides have deepened. It seems it makes no sense to build deeper areas in the Wadden Sea region, because they are quickly sedimented. It should be interesting to follow the Luneplate and Kreetsand measure in combination. But the measures are not pointless. In 2012 this area was still arable and building land. The vegetation has developed rapidly and since 2014 the vegetation has been positive for the birds.

Time was to short, but it was interesting to walk to the banks of the river Weser and understand that here also nature restoration measures has been taken. And that the gully is developing naturally.

Knowing more?