Frisian Wadden Sea coast

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
An extensive area of intertidal mudflats, saltmarshes, and grassland polders outside the Wadden Sea dyke of Friesland (total length 40 km). The site is contiguous with the Wadden Sea IBA (site 001), and adjacent to Lauwersmeer (015) in the east. Land reclamation by the furthering of natural accretion (intensified since the 1930s) has ended, but the existing system of dams and ditches will be maintained to reduce erosion.

Key biodiversity
This is the main feeding site for Branta leucopsis and B. bernicla in winter, in the Netherlands at least, and possibly over a much greater area. The saltmarshes and polders are an important high-tide An important area for non-breeding Platalea leucorodia and a wide variety of waterfowl.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats include increasing tourism and boating, military training (artillery practice), gas extraction in the Wadden Sea, commercial reed-harvesting since 1996/1997 (`Other' threat, above), and nutrient pollution (mainly from agriculture). The importance of the area for breeding and feeding birds is decreasing due to the natural succession of vegetation and the desalinization of the soil after reclamation.

Protected areas
National Partial International None5,504 ha of IBA covered by Natural Monument (Lauwersmeer I, 5,504 ha). 196 ha of IBA covered by Natural Monument (Lauwersmeer II, 196 ha). 113 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Bantpolder, 113 ha). 49 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Bochtjesplaat, 49 ha). 4,617 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Lauwersmeer, 4,617 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Frisian Wadden Sea coast. Downloaded from on 27/03/2023.