Oosterschelde This is an IBA in danger! 

Country/territory: Netherlands

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3, C4, C6 (2016)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 36,975 ha

Vogelbescherming Nederland
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2018 very high not assessed high
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This 40-km long water-body was formerly an estuary of the Rhine/Maas river system, via Hollands Diep (025) and Lake Volkerak (026), but has been closed off from the sea since 1986 by a storm-surge barrier which allows the tidal regime to continue with some restrictions. The sea can be completely shut out during storms or high tides. Two freshwater lakes have developed on the eastern side following the construction of secondary dams (Markiezaat and Zoommeer, 029 and 030). South of this area, Lake Veersemeer (031) came into being following the closing of the Veerse Gat in 1961. This site, together with sites 029 and 030, formed part of a single, larger site (former site NL050) in the previous pan-European IBA inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989).

Key biodiversity
This is the most important intertidal staging area for ducks and waders in south-west Netherlands. Thousands of geese Anser, feeding in adjacent farmland polders, use the area as roost. Recurvirostra avosetta and Charadrius alexandrinus breed in small lagoons (`inlagen', inland of the dyke) and at Neeltje Jans (building site of storm-surge barrier).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Oosterschelde. Downloaded from on 22/01/2022.