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Wadden Sea Long-Term Ecosystem Research

Implementation Period:
Specific Funding Programme:

Waddenfonds with additional contributions from the provinces of  North-Holland and Fryslân 

About the Project:

In order to enable effective management, many measurements are carried out in the Wadden Sea area (see map), both under standard ongoing programmes and on individual project basis. The standard programmes aim to keep a finger on the pulse and, where necessary, provide guidance at the local and regional levels. Project-based monitoring is often related to schemes which strengthen or secure ecosystem functioning of the area and provide insight into anthropogenic effects and where steering is needed. The result is a relatively large measurement effort by different research and governmental organisations on the physical, ecological and socio-economic system.

Figure 1: Boundaries of the Wadden Sea

These measurement efforts are not always well aligned to one another and the data are not always fully available. In addition, new user requirements and tightening of regulations demand a broadening or adjustment of existing measurement activities. It is for these reasons that in 2011, the WaLTER project got underway. The aims of the project are the development of a blueprint for the fundamental monitoring necessary for important themes in the Wadden Sea area, and a data portal for Wadden data. The selected themes do not only relate to environmental monitoring, but to monitoring a large variety of uses in the Wadden Sea, thereby relevant for Maritime Spatial Planning.

At the end of the project in 2015, WaLTER had published several reports and had launched a public online platform which provides advice for monitoring on 11 themes (click on the links to see the results)

Furthermore the Wadden Sea data portal has been developed containing functional data and information products (tools) for policy- and decision-making, and science. In 2017, the data portal has been transferred in the new ‘basismonitoring Wadden’ . This portal is maintained by Rijkswaterstaat, one of the Dutch National Agencies responsible for developing the Dutch MSP. In the development process of the MSP, the findings from Walter and the basismonotor Wadden are taken into account.

Project partners

WaLTER ‘Wadden Sea Long-Term Ecosystem Research’ is a combined initiative of a number of institutes and organisations that carry out multiannual measurements and research in the Wadden Sea area. These parties are:

  • Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
  • IMARES Wageningen UR
  • Sovon, Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology
  • Radboud University Nijmegen
  • University of Groningen
  • Common Wadden Sea Secretariat

Furthermore, the following parties supported the project, both in content as financial:

  • Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs
  • Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment
  • Province of Fryslân
  • Natuurmonumenten
  • Dutch Forestry Commission (Staatsbosbeheer)
  • Dutch Petroleum Organisation (NAM)