Protection and restoration of peat in valley of the Black Creek managed by Natuurpunt (BE)

The Flemish Minister for Nature Zuhal Demir invests 4,2 million euros in the protection and restoration of the existing peat layer in the valley of the Black Creek ('Zwarte Beek'). The area is located upstream from the Interreg Care-Peat project area and represents an important reinforcement of our efforts in the valley to restore Flanders' main peat area.

The water level of the centrally located ‘Oude Beek’ is raised by raising the stream bottom and by dampening the existing drainage canals. This will stop further oxidation of the peat layer and stimulate carbon storage in the future. In addition, all kinds of man-made constructions are being removed. Dilapidated weekend houses, stables, wire fencing or old bridges which no longer have a function are eliminated.

> More information (in Dutch)

Natuurpunt feels supported in the work they are doing in the valley. In the neighbouring Care-Peat area the preparation of the restoration works is ongoing.

In this area the peat layer stretches wide across the valley and measures approximately 1000-1500 meter on its widest point. In the past drastic measures were taken to drain and cultivate the land. In Care-Peat Natuurpunt will restore and rewet the area but is coming across quite some challenges. 
Besides the central Black Creek, three other overdimensioned creeks are highly responsible for the drainage of the area. Several preparatory consultations with the waterboard managers led Natuurpunt only a few small steps forward. Therefore extra input of INBO and experts (ANB - Gebiedsgerichte Werking) is being collected to model the impact that these three creeks have on the pilot site. Also extra data on the fluctuations of water levels in the main creeks is needed to complete the hydrology modelling, this will be done by volunteers of Natuurpunt.
Periodically the data of the hydrology monitoring network is being collected, this is done in winter and in summer (picture). On the banks of the Black Creek 4 extra dip wells are being installed to monitor the adjusted management that will be implemented, this will be done in collaboration with the 'Vlaamse Milieu Maatschappij' (VMM).
The procurement and the permit for the first part of the restoration plan (the internal hydrology, except for the courses managed by others) is in its final stage, the works will start in October 2020 and will consist of closing up ditches, removal of man-made structures and exotic plant species.

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