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Helgoland Marine Research

Open Access

Policy plans and management measures to restore eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Dutch Wadden Sea

  • V.N. de Jonge,
  • D.J. de Jong and
  • M.M. van Katwijk
Helgoland Marine Research54:00540151.10152


The Dutch Wadden Sea has been changed dramatically over the last centuries by human activities like land reclamation and different forms of fishery. This has, amongst other things, led to changes in the number of biological communities. One of the changes was the near extinction of eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) in the Dutch Wadden Sea. The deterioration of the area led to policy plans in the late 1980s that aimed at restoring the original natural communities of which the eelgrass community was one. This paper presents a restoration strategy which contains a selection procedure for suitable transplantation sites. The selection procedure is based on factors such as sediment composition, exposure time, current velocity and wave action. These were combined in a GIS-based map integrating these factors. One important action in the restoration process is to increase the number of freshwater discharge points to meet the requirements of the brackish water community in general and the growing conditions for eelgrass in particular.

Key words Policy plansManagement measuresEelgrassZostera marinaWadden Sea