Nature clubs want more space for recreation and nature along the rivers

Thirteen nature organizations believe that there should be more space for nature and recreational opportunities in the Dutch river area.

The coalition including ANWB, World Wildlife Fund WNF, Scouting Netherlands and Natuurmonumenten makes this call in a manifesto that was presented to politicians in Nijmegen on Thursday. 

They believe that there is enough space for even more nature along the rivers. The coalition calls on municipalities, provinces and water boards to enter into cooperation with farmers for the management of extensive grasslands, brush and thickets. 

Collaboration is also possible for river and nature management. The current austere flood management would be at the expense of nature and does not lead to necessary nature restoration. The WWF even warns of a new 'legal lock' on the Netherlands, just like with the nitrogen crisis. 

With their Manifesto for Living Rivers, the thirteen organizations want to achieve improvements in Integrated River Management (IRM), as part of the upcoming new Environmental Act. These plans have been in preparation since 2019.

More than half of the floodplains along Dutch rivers are used for agriculture, industry and sand extraction. According to the World Wildlife Fund, at least 30,000 hectares of new river nature must be added to the 68,000 hectares of total space that exists between the dikes of the Maas, Rhine, Waal, IJssel and the Biesbosch.

Joining forces with agricultural nature associations and farmers could lead to a more natural river system and an attractive landscape with more variation. This plea refers to the Rivierenland Collective, which includes several hundred farmers in the floodplains of the Maas and Waal.