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Project calendar

19-23 SEPTEMBER 2016

European Ecosystem Services Conference: Helping nature to help us (OpenNESS final conference, jointly with OPERAs, ESP and ECOPLAN), Antwerp, Belgium

Case 18 - Integration of ecosystem services in the planning of the Stevoort flood control area in Demer valley, Belgium

The project Stevoort – a flood control area with sediment catch – is part of the wider sustainable water management program of the Demer catchment (based on the EU Water Framework Directive). The goal of Stevoort flood control area is to design the river, river banks and surrounding areas in order to:

  • catch flood water;
  • trap sediment;
  • improve water quality;
  • stimulate ecological recovery of typical ecosystems in this valley (via corridor function);
  • develop green and blue services; and
  • link to recreational routes.

The project will work with active involvement of the nearby communities, owners and the involved organizations, and link to local initiatives.  However there are some important boundary conditions: the conservation objectives of the EU Birds Directive and the EU Habitats Directive, the existing and planned infrastructure for water purification, and local environmental and spatial policies.

After years of research and policy preparation, a vision of the future of the Stevoort-area was negotiated. Now it’s time to bring all this work into practice. Therefore, concrete action plans for the design of the different zones within this valley area will be developed soon.

The aim of the specific case study in Stevoort is to explore the ways in which the ES approach can help to support this process and how communication based on this ES approach can be facilitated.

INBO’s mains tasks will be to:

  • examine societal needs for ES in the implementation of the flood control area;
  • evaluate the usefulness of the  ES-based assessments and tools for scenario building, planning, and decision-making processes.

The case-study will be led by Jan Vanvelk,  Demer catchment coordinator (VMM) and Ward Andriessen (Regional Landschap Haspengouw and Voeren, RLHV). The Case Advisory Board (CAB) for Stevoort flooding area will be established in the near future.

The case study will provide new insights about integrating ecosystem services into land use planning for flood control. It will also provide further understanding about the role of green infrastructure for human well-being.