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Our ambitions

For many years the turbidity of the estuary and the related effects were a subject for research. The objective of the Program ED2050 is to improve the ecological situation of the Eems-Dollard  estuary. We are aiming for a healthy estuary that meets the European objectives of the Water Framework Directive and Natura 2000. We are working step by step towards this long-term goal. In doing so, we are always responding to changing insights and new insights.


In 2050 the Ems estuary has adapted to climate change. Natural, dynamic processes in the estuary will be obstructed as little as possible by human intervention. The water of the Ems-Dollard is clearer, providing sufficient food at the base of the food chain. There are enough healthy habitats for plants and animals. There are also gradual transitions again between water and land and between fresh and salt water. Plants and animals that feel at home in such a brackish, silty transition area are massively present, Examples are the twaite shad, flounder, spotted redshank and piet avocet.

Ecology and economy in balance

Although the program focusses on ecological improvement, our ambitions go beyond that. The overarching goal is to balance ecology and economy which means create synergy with other issues like water safety, climate adaptation, regional economic development and quality of life.

Working adaptively

ED2050 offers a structural approach. It links short-term concrete measures to the longer-term vision. To deal with the uncertainties in the long term, the programme has an adaptive character. It can be adjusted according to new knowledge, insights and changed circumstances.

First period

For the first five years (2016-2021), the focus is on exploring the effectiveness and feasibility of measures that address the turbidity problem and improving habitats along the coastal area. This is done by conducting various innovative pilots and projects to improve the Eems-Dollard system. Yet, it is not clear whether the measures will also bring fundamental change to the system. That is why the research and monitoring agenda of ED2050 is an important pillar to provide more knowledge about the system, the effectiveness of measures and the measured improvement.

Second period

For the scond period (2021-2026) the programme plan will further hone the ecological target situation and make even greater efforts for climate adaptation. We will also link the project to policy targets such as liveability, recreation and future perspectives for agriculture. The second tranche revolves around upscaling pilots to larger projects aimed at bringing about structural ecological recovery of the Ems-Dollart. Read the full programme plan 2021-2026 here.