Ending a national disgrace. Finally. Slowly
AMSTERDAM – After years of dawdling, the murky Markermeer lake off Amsterdam is headed for a makeover ending years of silting that has killed off much bird and aquatic life. The Dutch Nature Preservation Society has attracted €45 million _ from a nation-wide lottery and the government _ to start preparing for a rejuvenation project, called the “Marker Shoals.” The project will be built along the Houtribdijk causeway, the lake’s northern boundary. It involves digging silt-trapping trenches, creating marshlands, shoals, an artificial reef and building up a large island from silt dredged from the lake bottom.
“We count on regional and local governments to kick in another €30 million. We hope the works can start in late 2014,” says Heleen Paalvast of the Natuurmonumenten preservation society.
The cleanup appeals to the Dutch yachting sector if it yields good boating opportunities, says Gerdina Krijger, a spokeswoman for the Dutch boating lobby HISWA. She adds over the years “a slew of projects” have been proposed for things like a bridge, power pylons, housing, wind parks and even no-go areas. “There is no overall vision” for the Markermeer, says Krijger. Perhaps the Marker Shoals can change that.