Rhine - Meinerswijk
Rhine - Meinerswijk
Meinerswijk is a floodplain situated in the centre of the city of Arnhem. The brick industry has had a big influence on the area by sand and clay extraction. In 1988 the municipality decided to develop Meinerswijk into a freely accessible nature area as part of Plan Ooievaar. The floodplain is an important recreational area for the city and it is a unique nature area in the center of a highly urbanized area.
Meinerswijk has been chosen as one of the areas that have to be developed to improve the flood protection scheme described in the Room for the River plans. The river bend at Meinerswijk is a bottleneck for river flow due to the urban development in large parts of the original floodplain. Improving the possibilities for water retention during peak flows is essential to lower the water level near the city of Arnhem and further downstream during high water conditions.
Pressures and Drivers
Urbanization and industry have played a large role in the current look of Meinerwijk. For the brick industry clay and sand was extracted from the flood plain, creating deep pools. In the 70s some of these pools were filled up with garbage from the city. Currently, Meinerswijk is an important recreation area with elements of the historical IJssel line. The river itself has been channelized for navigation and has 3 large weirs downstream to create a regulated flow to increase the discharge in the IJssel.
The global objectives of the construction in Meinerswijk is to improve the distribution of flood discharge in the Waal, Nederrijn and IJssel and to preserve and improve the robust flood plain nature with low dynamic groundwater-fed pools and marshes from Meinerswijk to Bakenhof.
The normative high water level of the Nederrijn should be reduced with 7 cm in 2015.
For ecology no specific objectives were made. The current protected habitats had to be sustained.
The criterion for flood protection is that the normative high water level of the Nederrijn should be reduced with 7 cm. This criterion was set up in the national Room for the River program and is therefore obligatory by law.
To reach the flood protection criteria, measures were taken to increase the flood retention capacities of Meinerswijk. In the figure above, each measure is showed by a number. The banks at the upstream part of Meinerswijk (1) are raised with 50 cm to compensate for the sedimentation caused by the redesign of the Noorderlijke Rijnkade (A). Between the John Frost Bridge and the ASM harbor (2), rubble used for bank fixation is removed to improve the discharge to the Green River during high water. The largest measure is the creation of a Green River (3), a side channel that connects to the main channel during high water. In normal discharge conditions, the Green River is fed by groundwater and creates a nice marsh/reed habitat for typical riverine species. To ensure proper discharge, the shrub vegetation is maintained by mowing and extensive grazing. A drainage ditch (4) is filled up and more shrubs are removed near the Uitweg (5) to improve the discharge of the Green River. A part of the summer levee (6) near the Plas van Bruil is lowered for quicker inundation. Further downstream, a permanent side channel is made (7) which is not connected to the Plas van Bruil. This side channel is an important site for recreation. Also the Sleuteldam, a cultural heritage, will be restored (8).
A standard species survey for species of the birds/habitat directive and red list species has been carried out as part of the permits process.
No post-restoration monitoring was planned in the project. Rijkswaterstaat will be responsible for maintaining the roughness by monitoring the vegetation. The ecological monitoring will probably be outsourced by the municipality.
Expectations and Response
The project will be finished in 2015, so an exact response on the measures cannot be given.
It is expected that the ecological potential of the area will be increased. The Green River will create more groundwater dependent habitats which are essential for many species. Habitats that are already present will be preserved. Discharge into the floodplain at high water is improved which will benefit habitats and species that are dependent on more dynamic conditions created by flooding.
The measures are designed to lower the normative high water level in the Nederrijn. It is therefore expected that the objective will be reached and that the people and properties near the Nederrijn are protected.
The creation of more recreational infrastructure and the expected more attractive habitats will give a positive boost on recreation for the citizens of Arnhem.
Some of the measures can have a negative impact on navigation, but this is compensated in other areas of the project area. Overall, it is expected that navigation will have no hindrance of the new situation in the floodplain
The project is carried out by Rijkswaterstaat in cooperation with Provincie Gelderland, Gemeente Arnhem, Waterschap Rivierenland and Staatsbosbeheer. GMB Civiel-Van Oord is the contractor.
There is cooperation with stakeholders during the project process. The main stakeholders are internal stakeholders in Rijkswaterstaat, mainly other divisions that represent navigation. Also a cooperation of local residents, Vrienden van Meinerswijk, is involved in the plans via a participation process.
The land of one of the bigger land owners in the area, the real estate company Phanos B.V., was avoided in the project because no agreement could be established.
Communication and participation with the local community is very important in this project and a lot of time and effort is invested to ensure a good communication. Bert Pijpers, the contact person, described the project area as an arena with 70000 onlookers on both sides. To communicate with the local stakeholders and general public, a participation process has been developed. First, a future vision of the area was developed together with the stakeholders. Direct contact was maintained by many consultation sessions and evening meetings where the stakeholders could give their opinion on the plans. The contractor was chosen because of their public friendly approach with much contact and direct action when problems arise.
For further communication, a website is maintained with monthly news letters. There is also a small information center where everybody who is interested can get more information and the contractor organizes a monthly excursion for interested locals.
Technical reports were publically available during the permit process, but the most recent versions are not easily available. The discussion to keep these documents available on the project website is currently ongoing.
The Meinerswijk project is part of the national Room for the River project, which has a total budget of 2.180 million Euro. The project Meinerswijk has a budget of 14 million Euro.
Name: Bert Pijpers
Role: Technisch Manager
Organization Name: Rijkswaterstaat
Organization Type: National water authority
Phone-Number: 0031 651505289
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
- Lower river banks or floodplains to enlarge inundation and flooding
- Link flood reduction with ecological restoration
- Initiate natural channel dynamics to promote natural regeneration
- Other measures
- Adjust land use to develop riparian vegetation
- Retain floodwater
- Construct semi-natural/articificial wetlands or aquatic habitats