Near-tropical weather was a welcome circumstance today as we traveled to Lelystad to begin on the Marker Wadden charrette. We will spend four days gathering impressions of the openness of the Markermeer, the ecological conditions of the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve, and hearing presentations from community input, engineering and avian ecology experts.
The Marker Wadden is a project begun by the Natuurmonumenten, and headed by project leader Roel Posthoorn. Joined by Roel and Jan Wouter Bruggenkamp, we met for an introduction to the project at the Nieuw Land Museum, then proceeded on a bicycle tour taking us over the shipping lane locks. to Antony Gormley’s “Exposure,” a look over the Markermeer to the future site of the Marker Wadden, and back along the dike to a bird blind in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve.
Lelystad is the Provincial capital of Flevoland, the newest province of the Netherlands established in 1986. Made up of polders drained from the former Zuiderzee, the land potions of the province were diked and fell dry in 1942, 1956 and 1968. The Zuiderzee, diked from the North Sea in 1932, became the IJsselmeer (“IJssel Lake”), and a second dike in 1974 subdivided this water body and created the Markermeer (“Marker Lake”).
This second dike, the Houtribdijk, was originally intended to enclose a fourth polder, the Markerwaard. Controversy over converting this open-water area to land caused the cancellation of this plan. The Houtribdijk now serves as a second barrier from the North Sea, and holds a highway and bikeway that link the old land and the city of Enkhuizen to the new land and the city of Lelystad.
This conversion from sea to lake, the hard dike armoring of the entire edge, and a near uniform 3 to 4 meter depth, allows wind-driven suspension of silt in the lake and the exclusion of most natural processes. The Marker Wadden seeks to remedy this undesireable ecological condition by creating islands that trap silt, create avian and aquatic habitat, and provide possibilities for human recreation.
Students will start in analysis teams, then transition to design teams in the coming days. We will return to Utrecht Wednesday afternoon where teams will work and receive desk reviews to prepare them for final presentations Wednesday April 9.