Partnership on Biodiversity

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Partnership on Biodiversity: Nature Reserve Upper Geer : tripartite management that is win-win oriented.

Hollogne sur Geer, BelgiumHollogne sur Geer
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Any Belgian ornithologist will tell you so: Hollogne-sur-Geer is a true paradise for indigenous birds and enthusiastic bird-watchers. The reservoirs of the sedimentation system originate from the beetroot refinery in the country town where 230 species of birds have been listed. When the refinery stopped its activities, this ecosystem was threatened.
The non-profit organization called “Nature Reserve Upper Geer” struggles for its safe-guarding.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The site was threatened with a complete drying up, meaning the end of this fragile mosaic of different environments. Each year Hesbaye Frost used to dump into the river some 300,000 m³ of purified water from the washing and blanching of vegetables. The cooperative of local farmers, Apligeer, certain years had a lack of water and used to draw the groundwater to irrigate the surrounding fields. This future nature reserve was unknown to the inhabitants of the surrounding towns.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

2011 Purchase of discussed land/Biotope inventory by Natagora specialists/Identification of water needs/Writing of a Founding Charter involving the three partners. 2012 Placing of a 3 km long pipe, from the factory to the site/Water supply in the dried ponds/First days of reserve management in partnership with schools, non-profit organizations and scouts 2013 GreenDay: Organization of a walk for the citizens and farmers of the town and Hesbaye Frost staff members to introduce them to the societal partnership. Setting up of the non-profit association "RNHG" Nature Reserve Upper Geer. 2014 Stands for the recognition as a nature reserve. The irrigation system has been inaugurated.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

This is a UNIQUE example, one of a kind, where industry, agriculture and nature preservation have the opportunity to reconcile their respective interests. Following Natagora’s invaluable advice, this water flow goes a step further into green ambition as appropriate water levels are maintained during the breeding season. With the help of volunteers, the site is looked after and run accordingly, to safeguard its biodiversity. The key to this partnership also lies in the fact that filling and harnessing cycles match those of nesting and irrigation.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The site currently covers an area of 26 hectares. The Geer Administration has acquired some wet meadows running along the reserve and is about to acquire some old settling basins at 500m’s distance (as the crow flies) from the reserve. The company Hesbaye Frost as it is, is the owner of the site called “Bois du Manil” next to the reserve. These expansions might – in the long run – become a protected area of some 100 ha. Added to this, it could serve as an example and be the driving force behind the takeover of the nature reserve of Waremme, which herself was built on previous settling basins as well. Unfortunately, it has started drying up, due to the lack of water intake.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

This project is very special, even unique and one of a kind in Walloonia, as it associates partners who – in principle – did not have any complementary objectives. As such, the project fundamentally differs from other Nature sites that are managed by Natagora. If it turns to be successful in the long term, this project will serve as an example for other initiatives of private / public / voluntary partnerships in the protection of natural areas. It also shows that a commercial business can be very concerned about respecting the environment, through concrete actions in the long term.
Team

Team

Each of the three partners has delegated two voting members (Commissioner included) within the General Assembly, who holds a meeting four times a year, in the presence of a representative of the municipality and various advisors. A management fee, a kind of board of directors, consults regulary (often on an informal way) and makes concrete proposals for the management of the site to promote both the safeguard of biodoversity and the educational dimension of the site. This approach is reflected in the drafting of a management plan, still under development, and is aiming to obtain recognition (authorization) by the Walloon Region.
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