Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
An extensive area of intertidal mudflats and sandflats in the western part of the Wadden Sea, between the harbour area of Den Helder and the Amsteldiep gully (site 001 is contiguous with this site). Along the dyke are some small saltmarshes, partly extended in the late 1980s to compensate for habitat loss due to dyke reinforcement. Stock farming is restricted to dyke slopes and (occasionally) saltmarsh. The site has been entirely closed to cockle Cardium and mussel Mytilus fishing since 1993.

Key biodiversity
The site is an important high-tide roost for tens of thousands of waterbirds, and huge numbers of Chlidonias niger roost here at night in late summer, after feeding during the day on the IJsselmeer (034). It holds important breeding numbers of Recurvirostra avosetta and Sterna hirundo; the small areas of saltmarsh are the only available breeding sites for these species in this part of the Wadden Sea.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Disturbance by the public, planes and helicopters (air-force base near Den Helder) and the (illegal) taking of eggs are problems. The saltmarshes are managed as a nature reserve (but not owned) by Noordhollands Landschap.

Protected areas
National High International High6,000 ha of IBA covered by Natural Monument (Waddenzee I, 125,000 ha). 6,000 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Waddenzee, `250,000 ha' [official, incorrect figure]). 6,000 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Waddenzee, `250,000 ha' [official, incorrect figure]).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Balgzand. Downloaded from on 08/12/2022.