Meerbruch-Steinhuder Meer lake and wetland complex
The Meerbruch area is part of the Steinhuder Meer lake and wetland complex, a wetland of international importance. The site is an expansive area of grassland on fen soils (nutrient-rich damp meadows, reeds and swamps, nutrient-poor sedge-fen communities) with isolated birch and alder carr communities, pond reedbeds and ditches. The growing intensification of agriculture in the region in recent decades has been detrimental to its function as an important breeding and resting site for species dependent on wet grassland. Endangered breeding bird species include the curlew (Numenius arquata), oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa), lapwing (Vanellus vanellus), ruff (Philomachus pugnax), common redshank (Tringa totanus) and common snipe (Gallinago gallinago), as well as the Eurasian crane (Grus grus) and the white stork (Ciconia ciconia).
The objective of the project is to safeguard and develop valuable damp and wet meadows as a habitat for bird species dependent upon damp and wet grasslands, and to reduce fertilizer and pesticide pollution of the waters.
During the course of project implementation, numerous sites in the core area were successfully acquired. This was the prerequisite for the extensification of land use and for the implementation of rewetting measures. The habitat management measures taken included the damming of drainage ditches and the creation of bog lakes. In addition, footpaths were diverted and observation platforms repositioned to minimize the impacts of human intrusion.