1

Climate strategy development for policy and management

During the recent period, we worked with the Wadden Academy to collate a great deal of knowledge in a position paper on the latest insights into soil subsidence, climate change and sediment management (Bodemdaling, Klimaatverandering en Sedimenthuishouding, BKS). On the basis of these and other new insights, the commissioning parties want to select the most important focus areas in order to arrive at a strategy (scenarios) for future policy and management regarding the Wadden Sea.

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2

Recovery project and awareness of the natural dynamics of island spits

The creation of dunes and drifting dikes has led to a considerable loss of dynamism along the sandy coast of the islands. Nitrogen deposition also plays a role in this. This has resulted in the disappearance of characteristic flood plains and shifting dune systems, in addition to large-scale overgrowth. The commissioning parties consider it urgent to take steps in the coming years to arrive at an approach towards restoring the natural dynamics. Safety and support are of paramount importance here.

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5

Feasibility study and pilots on the use of Wadden Sea silt

Silt is deposited in large quantities in the quiet parts of the Wadden Sea. In contrast to sand, the supply of silt in the Wadden Sea is (almost) infinite. The question is whether there are possibilities to extract silt from the Wadden Sea through silt sedimentation at strategic locations and reuse it sustainably, as has been done in the Eems-Dollard estuary. To this end, a feasibility study should be carried out into possible opportunities, including proposals for possible pilots.

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6

Development of a strategy for the sustainable and efficient maintenance of marinas

In various locations, island and coastal municipalities along the Wadden Sea coast are facing increasing dredging problems in marinas. These problems are mainly caused by environmental factors, such as long-term trends, altered morphological conditions and altered discharge regimes of freshwater bodies from the hinterland. The commissioning parties are keen to initiate a development towards the sustainable and efficient maintenance of marinas.

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7

Connecting and securing knowledge development regarding life under water

To develop the necessary knowledge, nature organisations, knowledge institutes and water boards have taken the initiative to set up a number of targeted research programmes, such as ‘Waddenmozaïek’, ‘swimways’ (both coordinated by the Coalition Wadden Natuurlijk, CWN)) and ‘Ruim Baan voor Vissen II’ (coordinated by the northern water boards). These organisations need support from the PRW with a number of implementation aspects and – more importantly – with translating the results into policy, development and management initiatives.

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8

Development of trilateral agreements regarding swimways and life under water

In the trilateral field, too, little attention has so fair been paid from a policy and management standpoint to life under water. With regard to fish, the PRW has worked with the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat (CWSS) to ensure the adoption of a trilateral Swimway Vision and a start on a structured approach to research, monitoring, policy, management and stakeholder management. This has led to trilateral agreements (Leeuwarden Declaration, 2018) that must now be converted into an action programme.

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9

Nature improvement and sustainable joint use pilots

At the heart of the perspective of a resilient and sustainable Wadden Sea region is the realisation of an ecosystem that is as natural as possible. However, nature will not heal itself. In addition to knowledge development, the PRW must also stimulate active and innovative pilots (‘learning by doing’). These should focus on improving the quality of nature, making human activity more sustainable, helping important but disappeared species re-establish themselves and then learning from these experiences.

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11

Reducing the indirect influences of human activity

Human activity outside the Wadden Sea region can also influence the ecosystem within the region. We call these ‘indirect’ influences. The most important examples are climate change, emissions of foreign substances such as medicine residues (the influence of which is often still unclear), microplastics and the introduction of external lifeforms (‘exotic species’, such as the Japanese oyster and various jellyfish species). It is important to gain a better understanding of these influences and to reduce them where this can lead to an improvement of the ecosystem.

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12

Flyway monitoring: securing and transferring

The ‘flyway’ is the East Atlantic migratory route that birds travel annually between the Arctic breeding grounds and the wintering grounds along Africa’s west coast. On this migratory route, the Wadden Sea forms an indispensable link as a breeding, stopping and wintering place – and is therefore part of a larger whole. The flyway monitoring carried out by the PRW between 2012 and 2018 shows that the Wadden Sea is a weak link for migratory birds on the East Atlantic migratory route.

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13

Development of climate change management measures

All birds visiting the Wadden Sea have the same needs: sufficient food, rest and safety. Sufficient food is not only about the presence of food in the area, but also about accessibility and/or the ability to eat undisturbed. The fact that the breeding bird populations are not doing well has various causes, such as coastal settlement, disturbance and a lack of sufficient available food. Climate change also has an important effect on the Wadden Sea and hence on the birds that live there.

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16

Quick wins to improve accessibility and mobility for the Wadden Islands

The connections to the mainland are the lifelines of the Wadden Islands. Reliable accessibility is crucial for the economy and the quality of life. In line with the perspective, the commissioning parties are firmly committed to a sustainable transport chain. This means leading the way, being distinctive, offering room for experimentation and taking decisions together about important investments that will have an effect in the long term.

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17

Long-term exploration of accessibility and mobility for the Wadden Islands

Today’s sustainable accessibility and mobility issues are not necessarily those of tomorrow. In view of the morphological developments in the Wadden Sea region, it is relevant for the commissioning parties, in close consultation with islanders and the organisations involved, to take steps now to examine whether making the current transport system sustainable will also lead to sustainable and reliable accessibility and mobility in the long term. A transition may then be necessary. The PRW is asked to contribute to the preparation/drafting of such a transition process in order to explore sustainable solutions for reliable accessibility by 2050.

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18

Long-term exploration of accessibility and mobility for the Wadden Sea ports

For the Wadden Sea ports, accessibility from the sea is crucial. The possibilities for sustainable accessibility are already being fully explored by the commissioning parties and other parties in the area. Examples include the smarter handling of silt (‘nature-based solutions’) and the implementation of measures that make use of tidal currents. With a view to the future and morphological developments in the Wadden Sea, it is also relevant for the ports to take steps now to examine whether these measures will achieve their goals in the long term. The alternative is that we may have to think about realising a different logistics or transport system by 2050, whereby we also look beyond our own borders and learn from best practices at home and abroad.

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19

Development of opportunities along the coast

The increasing effects of climate change pose numerous challenges in the Wadden Sea region. Changes in temperature, precipitation (quantity and peaks) and rising sea levels make the edges of the Wadden Sea – where man and the sea interact – an area of urgency that requires vision and action. In the coming years, managers will develop measures to improve water safety and quality. The commissioning parties ask the PRW to challenge the parties involved to make maximum use of nature and its dynamic processes.

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20

Integral area declaration and transition zone pilots

The transition zone between land and water has also become less dynamic due to various damming and reclamation works in the past, such as the reclamation of the Kop van Noord-Holland and the construction of the Afsluitdijk and the Lauwersmeerdijk. This has resulted in less varied habitats for flora, fauna and mankind. The commissioning parties ask the PRW to challenge the parties involved and to promote (integral) pilots from the bottom up in order to restore transition zones.

 

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21

Vision and pilots for a saline economy on the Wadden Sea coast

Climate change threatens to increase the salinisation of agricultural land, in parallel with the decrease in freshwater availability during the summer period. By adopting a strategy of ‘salt adaptation’, agriculture will become more conscious of the freshwater reserves that are built up from rainwater in the winter half of the year, so that freshwater shortages in the summer period and salinisation can be reduced.

 

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23

Strengthening the landscape quality

UNESCO has specified unique core values for the trilateral Wadden Sea region that can be experienced nowhere else in the world. Maintaining, developing and strengthening these special values is therefore an important aspect for the Wadden Sea region. The promotion of these core values does not only relate to new developments. The question is also how we want to deal with past developments/objects that we feel no longer fit in with the area as a World Heritage Site in the longer term (2050).

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24

Zoning and development of a value set for sustainable tourism

The protection of nature in the Wadden Sea region is paramount to the overall experience and one must be able to enjoy the core values of the Wadden Sea region ‘undisturbed’. There is, however, a tension between the small and the large scale. It is important to make attractive tourist ‘hotspots’ accessible to the general public. At the behest of the steering committee for the Most Beautiful Nature Area, a zoning map has been drawn up. Visitors are guided to places where they can enjoy the Wadden Sea region and the UNESCO core values undisturbed. Ultimately, a universal set of values must be developed and propagated.

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25

Acting sustainably: setting a good example

Government organisations and other managers in the Wadden Sea region have a duty to set an example and lead the way in making the region more sustainable. Among other things, they can do this by taking the lead in plastic-free purchasing, the electrification of vehicles and vessels and the organisation of sustainable maintenance and management. Incidentally, there are already good examples that deserve to be followed. These parties can experiment with new sustainable techniques and share their experiences with each other. The expectation is that this will also have a positive effect on the sustainability efforts of private parties.

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