10. Hedwige and Prosper Polder: a cross-border project of tidal marsh water restoration and flood control
On the Dutch-Flemish border, in Beveren and Hulst, the Hedwige and Prosper polders can be found. As part of the Sigma Plan, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv (Flemish Waterways plc) and the Dutch Province of Zeeland, are taking measures to lower the water level and restore rare tidal nature within these polders. The field trip offers an insight into this unique cross-border project. As part of the scope of the Hedwige-Prosper Project, two polders which cover 465 hectares, will be returned to the river Scheldt: the Hedwige Polder on the Dutch side of the border and the Prosper Polder on the Flemish side. The levees will be breached in order to give room to the Western Scheldt, which will reduce the chance of flooding. When the project is finished, the polders will be part of a future 4500 hectares border park, Europe's largest brackish tidal area.
The development of the Hedwige and Prosper polders, is a constant exercise in maintaining the balance of the Sigma Plan cornerstones. The ring levee, ring canal and fish-friendly pumping station will protect the residential area beyond the two polders against flooding. Since water from the river Scheldt will flow into the de-poldered areas, mudflats and marshes will gradually develop. The activities on Flemish territory are already well advanced. The project’s structural elements (ring levee, pumping station,…) are in place and waiting for the adjacent area to be realised. The Dutch government recently received green light to expropriate the area, hence an important step in the transformation of the Hedwige Polder has been taken as well. During this filed trip we will show the measures that have been taken and tell you all about the challenges we had to come this far!
Time of departure: 7:30
Time of return: 18:00
Duration: 10:30 h
Transportation by: bus, foot
Key words: flood control, tidal marsh restoration, polder
Organization: Flemish Waterways plc, in collaboration with Nature and Forest Agency (ANB).