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Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 149–158 | Cite as

Reintroduction of eelgrass (Zostera marina) in the Dutch Wadden Sea; Review of research and suggestions for management measures

  • Jonge V. N. de 
  • Jong D. J. de 
  • Bergs J. van den 
Special Feature Research Papers

Abstract

Eelgras (Zostera marina L.) in the Dutch Wadden Sea historically covered an area varying from 65–150 km2 in the eulittoral as well as the sublittoral zones. At present, this area comprises less than 1 km2 eulittoral eelgrass stands, with an associated decrease in habitat diversity. The causes for this decline are presumably connected with the ‘wasting disease’ and the closure of the former Zuiderzee in the early 1930s resulting in increased tidal range and increased currents. After a slight recovery of the eelgrass populations on the intertidal flats a definite decline started in the early 1970s, possibly connected to increased turbidity. The present water quality and turbidity do not negatively influence eelgrass growth up to a depth of at least 0.6m below Mean Sea Level. Based on mesocosm experiments and field experiments it is concluded that re-establishment of eelgrass should be possible in sheltered bays and on unexposed tidal falts. The most suitable depths for a reintroduction are those between 0 and 20–40 cm below mean sea level.

Keywords

Eulittoral Sublittoral Tidal range Water quality 

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Copyright information

© EUCC; Opulus Press Uppsala 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonge V. N. de 
    • 1
  • Jong D. J. de 
    • 2
  • Bergs J. van den 
    • 3
  1. 1.RijkswaterstaatNational Institute for Coastal and Marine ManagementHaren (Gn)The Netherlands
  2. 2.RijkswaterstaatNational Institute for Coastal and Marien ManagementMiddelburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.RijkswaterstaatDirectorate Noord-NederlandLeeuwardenThe Netherlands

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