Endangered species of meadow birds will get the chance to thrive in a new trial area along the Regge river in the eastern Netherlands. The initiative of our co-founder and co-owner Maurice Roetgering aims to restore his native region’s natural values in close cooperation with specialists in the field of meadow birds and countryside management. Five hectares of nature reserve in the historical Regge brook valley is allowed to become wetland in an attempt to make the flora and fauna of yesteryear visible to everyone.
For many years, the bird population in the Netherlands has been declining at an alarming rate. Intensive agriculture does not mix well with preserving biodiversity. Many species are struggling, especially meadow birds. These include waders such as the black-tailed godwit, lapwing, curlew, redshank and oystercatcher, but also partridge, meadow pipit, yellow wagtail and skylark. Even where well-intentioned farmers decide to postpone the spring mowing in order to save nests, in practice it turns out to be difficult to provide enough time, rest and space to give these endangered species a real chance again. Foxes and crows always have an eye on the eggs and chicks. Meadow bird chicks typically survive only by finding a safe haven on 'non-productive' land: ditch and field edges where natural vegetation and insects can still be found.
Thankfully, an approach that puts biodiversity above productivity can turn the tide quickly: Mother Nature is a resilient interplay and many species benefit from each other's presence. This is the idea behind the initiative in the countryside around Enter, the rural village where our headquarters is located, in the Twente region. Coulisse co-founder and co-owner Maurice Roetgering was born and raised here. Maurice decided to give the natural values in his native region a new impulse. With his childhood friend Chiel Bolscher, he acquired land along the Regge river, which once meandered freely through the Twente fields and woods, but was canalized in the years of agricultural expansion. The first step in his visionary approach was to allow the river its natural space again wherever possible.
Major plans were drawn up in collaboration with the regional water board, the municipal and provincial authorities. A new conservation area of more than 27 hectares connects existing nature areas and will provide plenty of room for future biodiversity. Five hectares will be allowed to develop further as a wetland area in the old Regge brook valley. From now on, the river can flood here and create the ideal conditions for meadow birds. The pilot area has been designed in accordance with the recommendations of meadow bird specialists and the regional foundation for agricultural nature management. Specific seed mixtures of the flowers and herbs that naturally belong in wetlands were carefully sourced. At the end of each summer, the mower clippings will be spread over a length of more than twelve kilometres along the river.
Local residents, cyclists and passers-by all react very positively to the area’s redevelopment. Maurice himself is visibly enjoying the project, and he is far from finished. Now that the new nature reserve is taking shape, he and his brother Christiaan have started restoring the adjoining De Parel farmstead, a historic farmhouse with outbuildings dating from 1600. The partially collapsed farmhouse has been saved from ruin and will be resurrected to its full former glory by our founders and owners. "When we were boys, we cycled around the area and used to buy ice creams here. In those days, the place was a campsite called the Pearl of Twente. Since then everything has fallen into disrepair and it's just like nature in this area: it will all disappear if we don't do something about it. We want to preserve what is good and authentic. It was once a pearl here, and we are going to try to make it the most beautiful pearl of Twente".