8. The Kempen: Where landscape and infrastructure cross borders
The Kempen is a geographic region across the Flemish-Dutch border. Typically this nutrient poor, sandy area is a small scaled landscape with relicts of heathland, oak/pine forests and fens mixed with meadows and linear urban development. Several roads and canals criss-cross this region. Along these infrastructures a wide variety of mitigation measures have been installed that will be visited on this trip. This excursion focuses on cooperation and integration of infrastructure on a landscape scale.
We will first visit Ecoduct Kempengrens across the E34/A67 at the Dutch-Flemish border. This is the first green bridge in Europe that has been exactly constructed on the border of two countries and an example of partnership in all aspects of a project (IENE project award winner in 2014). Information on the technical construction in relation to ecological goals, results of the monitoring, management options and problems with unwanted ‘co-users’ will be discussed.
Next we will visit several fauna-exits along the canal Dessel-Schoten. The reinforced banks of this navigable canal are steep and make the canal a barrier for animals to cross. Fauna-exit constructions in the banks allow animals to get out of the water and prevent them from drowning.
Our third stop will be to visit landscape defragmentation measures at the new N19g road. This is one of the few new road projects (missing links) in Flanders. Here tailor-made mitigation measures have been taken in conformance with the EIA. This includes a large landscape bridge, an eco-valley, adapted culverts, wildlife tunnels and fences for amphibians and mammals.
Our fourth and last stop for the day will be at the Kamperbaan (N73) where a wildlife detection system will be installed. The N73 runs through the military area ‘Kamp van Beverlo’ (Natura 2000 area) and is a blackspot for wildlife collisions with wild boar. The road will be fenced leaving two crossing zones equipped with two different wildlife detection systems connected with dynamic warning signs to reduce traffic speed.
Time of departure: 8:00
Time of return: 18:00
Duration: 10:00 h
Transportation by: bus, foot
Key words: green bridge, wildlife underpass, natural canal banks, animal-detection system
Organization: Agency for Roads and Traffic (AWV) and Nature and Forest Agency (ANB), in
collaboration with Department of Environment and Spatial Development (DOMG),
Flemish Waterways plc and Bosgroep Zuid-Nederland.