The subject of the project is the conservation and development of estuarine habitats on the Lower Elbe tidal flat on the Elbeinsel Krautsand (Stade district, Lower Saxony). The 2,800 ha planning area is dominated by agricultural land - predominantly grassland - and crossed by tidal creeks and ditches. The planning area is almost entirely a Natura 2000 site (bird sanctuary and FFH site). Of the habitats typical for the area, vegetation-free mudflats, freshwater and brackish water reeds, and fragments of tide-influenced floodplain and marsh forests have been preserved over a total area of 300 ha. These are habitats typically found in estuaries (river mouths to the sea) where they occur on the river banks and riparian areas of floodplain waters as far as tidal influence extends. Since many waters in the planning area are cut off from tidal influence, hydraulic engineering measures and partial reconnection to the tide are intended to increase the area of estuary-typical habitats and achieve a more natural state for the surrounding grassland. Compensation measures already underway in the planning area are to be further optimized by the project. The entire complex is to be preserved and developed as a habitat for plant and animal species typical of the natural area.
The following goals are pursued:
- Restoration of estuary-typical dynamics
- Preservation, improvement and expansion of estuary-typical habitats and species-rich grasslands
- Control of the sediment balance in the water network on Krautsand
- Targeted development of suitable habitat structures for estuary-typical species (e.g. hemlock and bittern) and improvement of breeding and resting areas for birds
- Development of a near-natural water management in harmony with the interests of agriculture.
To implement the objectives, the following measures are planned, among others:
- Creation of tide-influenced waters with estuary-typical zoning
- near-natural redesign of tidal creeks
- Reconstruction or retooling of the sluice structures
- Creation of waterway widenings in the area of the tideways and of small water bodies in the grasslands
- deconstruction of bank reinforcements
- extensive grassland management
- extensive watercourse maintenance
- Visitor control