The project is located in an area known as IJsselpoort and consists of the two sub-areas of Koppenwaard and Velperwaarden. The area is formed by the upper floodplains of the river IJssel, which is included in the Natura 2000 network of protected sites because of the presence of large areas of several threatened habitats and species. The area is threatened by intensification and over-fertilisation leading towards a monotonous landscape with low nature values and high euthrophication. Furthermore populations of many plant and animal species are highly fragmented, as a result of the loss of their favoured habitats
The main objectives of the 'Floodplain development' project are: To enlarge the area of characteristic riverine Natura 2000-habitats along the river IJssel and to create biotopes for species associated with these habitats; and To improve water safety by buffering and preventing the effects of climate change (e.g. high flood risks, but also drying out).
In order to restore these habitats and create a more robust ecosystem, land purchase is crucial. Therefore, a total of 83 ha will be purchased (61 ha at Velperwaarden and 22 ha at Koppenwaard). The project also has a number of secondary onbjectives, which include: Improving public accessibility and recreational zoning and extending recreational facilities in the project areas; and Involving local farmers in the (future) habitat-oriented management.
The project is part of a more extensive project, “Rivierklimaatpark IJsselpoort”, which is developing a spatial development programme for the upper floodplains of the river IJssel, in order to help mitigate any future negative impacts from climate change.
The project will result in: An enlargement of the target habitats by a total of 118 ha (this includes 78 ha of habitat 6510; 19 ha of habitat 3150; 11 ha of habitat 6120; 4 ha of habitat 3270; 4 ha of habitat 91E0; and 2 ha of habitat 91F0; Water safety improvement measures will increase the water storage capacity in the floodplains and thus reduce the risk of flooding elsewhere. Furthermore, the measures will prevent habitats from drying out during summer and improve spatial connection of habitats and populations of species that are susceptible to climate change; and Recreational measures will result in a bird observatory, a partly restored and extended footpath (Koppenwaard), shortcuts to the river IJssel and other improved facilities for visitors (e.g. wooden benches at viewpoints).