A bountiful and healthy Wadden Sea is an indispensable link in the life cycles of many migratory birds and fish. This is why the Wadden Fund and the three Wadden provinces – Groningen, Friesland and Noord-Holland – strive for the creation of such a rich Wadden Sea. To this end, the Wadden Fund granted a large subsidy to the ‘Wadden Mosaic’ project (Waddenmozaïek) by Natuurmonumenten, the University of Groningen and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ). The aim of the project is to determine the condition of the underwater nature in the Wadden Sea and to test possible remedial measures.
Sand, silt, shells, rocks, mussel beds, sea-grass beds, flat oysters: the Wadden Sea bed comprises a diverse mosaic landscape. There are, however, strong indications that the once varied underwater landscape has become more monotonous, with major consequences for fish and sea-bed dwellers. With Wadden Mosaic we aim to record the variation and biodiversity in the underwater of the Dutch Wadden Sea for the very first time. We also look at potential control measures for the protection and recovery of the subtidal Wadden Sea, the parts which are constantly underwater.
Five sub-projects have been formulated within the entire project. In the first sub-project, researchers from the RUG and NIOZ will map the underwater landscape. The other sub-projects will focua on include a practical experiments in which the researchers will test the effectiveness of the control measures, such as the closure of areas for soil-disruptive fishing (RUG), the re-introduction of hard subtrates, the recovery of sea-grass beds (RUG) and of oyster and mussel beds (NIOZ). The acquired knowledge will help informed decision making by managers of the area.
The Wadden Mosaic project is part of the overarching ‘Wadden Tools’ project. Four projects fall under this umbrella, oriented around measures regarding underwater diversity, fish migration, migratory and breeding birds. These projects jointly aim to improve the management of the Wadden Sea, making it healthier and more bountiful.