The LIFE-project 'Biotope improvement and development for Bittern and Great reed warbler in the IJsseldelta', also known under the acronym 'A better LIFE for Bittern, takes place in two areas in the IJsseldelta. This concerns the Natura2000 sites Zwarte Meer (NL9802031) and Veluwerandmeren (NL9802033). In these two areas the sub sites of the LIFE-project are situated, being Rietmoeras zuidoevers Zwarte Meer and Rietmoeras Drontermeer.
The key objective of the project is to improve and enlarge the area of reed beds in the two involved Natura2000 sites in the IJsseldelta. This in order to create optimal biotopes resulting in the increase of the population of Bittern and Great reed warbler, the main target species of the project. Other target species are 4 other species of the Birds Directive: Purple heron, Spotted crake, Savi's warbler and Sedge warbler and several other bird species associated with reed beds. Finally, also the fish species European weather loach and Spined loach will benefit from the project measures.
The populations of the Birds Directive species which are the target species of this project strongly decline in the Netherlands and North-western Europe. The Natura2000 sites Zwarte Meer en Veluwerandmeren still host a significant part of the Dutch populations. This is especially the case for Great reed warbler. Based on both local and national trends it is clear that without additional, project-based measures the Natura2000 goals for the species will not be met at both Zwarte Meer and Veluwerandmeren.
Both beneficiaries, Natuurmonumenten and Provincie Overijssel, give substance to the project objective by:
1. restoration of reed beds (sub site Rietmoeras zuidoevers Zwarte Meer), resulting in biotope improvement for the target species over about 300 hectares, and
2. nature development (subsite Rietmoeras Drontermeer), resulting in an area of 34,7 hectares with new reed beds for the target species.
At the sub site Rietmoeras zuidoevers Zwarte Meer a significant increase of the populations of the target species is expected after restoration. The development of the new reed beds at the sub site Rietmoeras Drontermeer creates a new habitat for reed bed birds and colonisation of the area is expected. For both Bittern and Great reed warbler this means that in the Natura2000 site Veluwerandmeren 25% of the aimed number of breeding pairs, in accordance with the Natura2000 goals, will be achieved as a result of the project measures.
In september 2019 the Layman's Report of the project has been published. You can read it here.