The Eems-Dollard is one of the last two natural estuaries in the Netherlands. In this region, the connection between river and sea is still intact and there are still tides. This makes it a special habitat for flora and fauna that are not or are only barely found elsewhere in this composition.
However, the natural values of this unique nature area are under threat. Studies carried out by the Deltares Research Institute, Delft University of Technology , Wageningen Marine Research and Utrecht University showed that the turbidity level in water in the Eems-Dollard has increased, due to the decreased sedimentation capacity of the estuary. This is mainly caused by land reclamation of large parts of the estuary and lack of natural siltation.
Over the last centuries the hydromorphology (the interplay of water and sediment flows) of the estuary went through major changes. Yet, we do not fully understand the estuary system to improve and manage the composition of gullies, plates and water movements. Therefore, more research about hydromorphology is needed.
In 2015, a research was conducted into promising ways to improve the ecological quality of the Eems-Dollard estuary. This can be reach by structurally reducing the amount of fine sediment in the estuary. The research revealed various solutions and measures to deal with the turbidity problem.
This program Eems-Dollard 2050 (ED2050) is the result of the joint efforts of national and regional parties. The Province of Groningen, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management and the Ministry of Management and Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality have prepared the program in close collaboration with the Program ‘Ecology and Economy in Balance’. This program builds on the unique dialogue between local, regional and national governments businesses, nature and environmental organisations. They hold themselves jointly responsible for developing a healthy ecosystem that is in balance with economic development.