Group photo of the REST-COAST and WaterLANDS members at the joint annual meeting in Groningen.

Working together for a healthy Ems-Dollard: Joint annual meeting of the REST-COAST & WaterLANDS projects

25 April 2024

The third annual meeting of REST-COAST took place between 15-19 April in Groningen, the Netherlands and was jointly organised with one of our sister projects - WaterLANDS. As the two projects share a common Pilot Site - the Dutch part of the Wadden Sea, Ems-Dollard, the restoration actions within this area received a strong focus.

The Ems-Dollard estuary is located on the border between the Netherlands and Germany, where the river Ems meets the Wadden Sea, one of the world’s largest tidal systems. The estuary is renowned for its mudflats. Members of the Province of Groningen, Deltares and Wageningen University, partnering both in REST-COAST and WaterLANDS, have joined forces in improving various components of this marine ecosystem that spans the entire gradient of salinity, from marine to brackish and freshwater and their habitats. The conservation and restoration measures developed on this site address some of the key challenges associated with climate change, human activities and the dynamic nature of this ecosystem. They include reduction of sediments , sludge capture and settlement, clay ripening for dike reinforcement, wetland restoration and connectivity. As such, the coastal zones and estuary dynamics within this Unesco World Heritage site can be restored and better managed. 

The week-long event was attended by more than 100 participants, representing REST-COAST, WaterLANDS, as well as the other two Green Deal cluster projects MERLIN and SUPERB. Representatives from local authorities were also present, and the meeting was opened with a speech by the King’s Commissioner Rene Paas. The meeting began with a two-day field trip across the Ems-Dollard, where the partners were able to explore some of the project areas such as the Breeding Island, Double Dike, the dikes of the city of Delfzijl, as well as the Marconi salt marshes.

Panel discussions, presentations and updates from the project partners continued through the remaining days of the meeting, which took place at the Forum Groningen. Organised by project members of the Province of Groningen, the annual meeting of REST-COAST and WaterLANDS was deemed a great success, as it not only provided the participants the opportunity to share updates, knowledge and ideas for future implementation of restoration actions, but also provided room for intense networking and discussing collaborations on scientific level and beyond. 

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