Meuse - Overdiepse Polder
Meuse - Overdiepse Polder
The Bergsche Maas was constructed in 1904 as part of the plan to cut off the connection between the Meuse and Waal rivers. The Overdiepse Polder is located between the Bergsche Maas and the Oudje Maasje. A large part of the polder is agricultural land.
The Overdiepse Polder was selected as flood retention area in the Room for the River project, a national project to ensure the current flood protection level is sustained in the future, This project is very unique, since the local residents were very involved the project in its early stages and presented the solution that will be implemented. Instead of buying out the farmers, the farmers agreed to move their farms on terps, a flood protection measure used in ancient times.
Pressures and Drivers
The Overdiepse Polder is dominated by agriculture and surrounded by embankments to ensure the polder is protected from the river. This has lead to a loss of connectivity with the floodplain and a poor quality of the remaining nature.
The project has two global objectives:
- Create ecological zone along banks Oud Maasje and create new habitat in Overdiepse polder
- Improve water retention capacity in Bergsche Maas
The project has no specific objectives for ecology besides compensation of a few protected woodland areas. For flood protection, it is expected that the measures will lower the normative high water level with 27 cm, but no evidence could be found that suggests this is also a specific objective.
Since it is unclear if the expectation of a 27cm reduction of the normative high water level is a specific objective, it is not specified as a success criterion. For ecology, no success criteria could be found in the available documentation.
A new dike is constructed along the Oude Maasje. On this dike, 9 terps are constructed for the farmers that remain in the polder. The construction of these terps is unique in the Netherlands. Building an artificial hill to protect the buildings from flooding is a measure used in ancient times (500 -1200 AD) before dike construction was common. All old buildings are then demolished and the old dike is lowered to make flooding of the polder possible when a 25yr flood occurs. One the west site of the polder, soil needed for the new terps is removed, creating a pond that where nature is allowed to develop. In the zone between the new dike and the Oudje Maasje, nature development is encouraged.
No pre- and post-restoration monitoring plans could be found in the available documentation. It is likely that a habitat survey was preformed during the permit process, but the results could not be found.
Expectations and Response
It is expected that more river nature will develop in the new ecological zone of the Oude Maasje. The new nature will improve the recreational value of the area. The normative high water level will be lowered with 27cm, significantly improving the flood protection level in the local area. In case there is flooding, it will damage the agricultural lands but the farmers will be compensated when this happens.
Since the project will be completed in 2016, no response can be described.
The project Overdiepse Polder is lead by Provincie Noord-Brabant, in cooperation with:
- Gemeente Geertruidenberg
- Gemeente Waalwijk
- Waterschap Brabantse Delta
- The Association of residents and businesses
The project is unique because of the large input of the local residents in the decision of the project plan. This high level of participation at the start of the project shows how local residents can present a very creative project plan where they will fully cooperate with the project partners. Instead of endless discussions and resistance, this option is much easier and faster provided that the plans of the local residents are sufficient to reach the goals of the project. Consistent communication via meetings from an early stage is vital for active participation of the stakeholders.
Communication with the general public is done via a project website, brochures, press releases in local newspapers and radio, excursions and newsletters.
The total cost of this project is 111 million Euro. This will be financed via the Room for the River program which has a budget of 2.180 million Euro
Name: Kees Verbart
Organization Name: Waterschap Brabantse Delta
Organization Type: Regional water authority
Phone-Number: 0031 76 564 10 00
Email: Contact Form
Provincie Noord-Brabant (2009) Rivierverruiming Overdiepse Polder: Inrichtingsplan Overdiepse Polder cf. art. 17 Wet inrichting landelijk gebied
- Improve water retention
- Increase flood frequency and duration in riparian zones or floodplains
- Set back embankments, levees or dikes
- Construct semi-natural/articificial wetlands or aquatic habitats