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Our approach

With the help of the the ED2050 program we protect and restore the special nature in the Ems-Dollart. We do this by reducing turbidity and strengthening natural habitats. The measures we take must be climate-adaptive. Through these measures nature will become stronger and the estuary will be better protected against the consequences of climate change. At the same time, they create space for economic development and recreation.


In the period 2021-2026, we are deploying various strategies to find solutions:

  • Removal and beneficial use of fine sediment: we structurally extract large quantities of fine sediment from the Ems-Dollart and use this sediment on land. For example: the pilots Clay Ripening, Broad Green Dyke and Raising Agricultural Lands. Our goal is to extract at least 1,000 tons of silt from the estuary by 2026.
  • Sedimentation outside the dikes and reinforcement habitats: we create sheltered zones outside the dikes where sludge particles can settle and underwater animals, fish and birds can live. For example the pioneer salt marsh in Delfzijl and nesting area Stern in the Ems.
  •  New habitats inside the dikes and the capture of fine sediment: along the coast we create nature areas to soften the hard transition between sea and land and between fresh and salt. For example the Pilot Twin Dike and the redevelopment of Polder Breebaart, Kleine and Groote Polder.
  • Smarter dredging and distribution of sand and fine sediment: we explore whether a different way of dredging and dumping silt reduces turbidity and preserves habitats that are in danger of being lost due to sea level rise.
  • Nesting areas and high tide refuges: we are monitoring current nesting areas and high tides refuges and exploring whether expansion is needed.
  • Improving waterbed and underwater life: we explore whether it is possible to recover shellfish in the Ems-Dollart and restore underwater life. For example the Hond-Paap restoration of mussel bed pilot, the mollusc posts
    and tidal pools along the Rich Dike and the pilot Reef blocks.
  • Nature management inside and outside the dikes: we will better protect newly developed nature areas by managing them from the start and making clear agreements about this.

Cooperation with Germany

Cross-border cooperation is a prerequisite for achieving a healthy estuary. This cooperation is taking shape (among other things) in the elaboration of an ecological sediment management strategy and the exchange of knowledge.In the next period, we will focus on making plans for the ecological sediment management. This consists of exploring the possibility of joint pilot projects and a joint approach for the sediment management.

Working adaptively

Ems-Dollart 2050 is an adaptive program, in which we constantly respond to new insights and developments. In a dynamic system such as the Ems-Dollart, these developments can sometimes be rapid. That is why we keep a finger on the pulse with knowledge development and monitoring. Evaluation and progress monitoring of projects are also important for adaptive work.

Read more about our approach in the programme plan 2021-2026.