Always wanted to know more about the wildlife of the coastal dunes in the Netherlands? This field trip to  the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park will tell you all about it. The province of Noord-Holland and ProRail, responsible for the national railroad network, planned and constructed three green bridges in this reserve. Together they reconnect 7.000 hectares of dune habitat which is part of the Natura 2000 network. The three bridges are unique as they have been primarily build for insects, lizards and other small animals; larger wildlife species may use the crossing structures, but are not the main target species. During the field trip we will walk in this beautiful nature reserve and visit two of the green bridges.

First we will visit overpass ‘Zeepoort’ (Sea Gate), which was constructed in 2017. We will tell you about the different dune ecosystems that surround the overpass and in particular about the migration of small animals. We will explain the design of this green bridge, with emphasis on architectural details, and how the overpass has been engineered. After we have focused on small animals, it is time to see some big ones. We will visit the area ‘Kraansvlak’ where European bison have been introduced. We will provide you with details on this experiment, including the motives for this introduction and how the bison population developed.

Our next stop will be green bridge ‘Zandpoort’ (Sand Gate), which was constructed in 2013. During the planning and design phases of this overpass we experienced considerable resistance from citizens that lived nearby the site. Good communication and cooperation between all project partners was therefore highly important, both before and during the construction of this bridge. Human co-use of the green bridge is facilitated through a cycling track. Why this combination of nature and recreation? And how do we ensure that the use by animals is not impacted? Another issue that we would like to discuss with you concerns invasive fallow deer. How do you manage a population of deer in an (sub)urban area? What measures were taken at the overpass to address the issue? We will tell you about our challenges with invasive deer and the solutions we applied. Maybe you can spot some deer too!

Time of departure:    8:00

Time of return:          18:00

Duration:                    9:00 h

Transportation by:     bus, foot

Capacity:                     50

Key words:                  coastal dunes, green bridges, bison, fallow deer

Organization:              Province Noord-Holland, in collaboration with PWN, Waternet,
                                     ProRail, Arcadis and Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.