LIFE Sparc

LIFE Sparc

Climate change has never been more relevant. The Flemish Government is taking measures to address the impacts of a rising sea level and more severe storms. With the Sparc (Space for Adapting the River Scheldt to Climate Change) LIFE project, Europe supports us in developing eight flood plains in the Scheldt river valley. The river and its typical estuarine nature are being given more space and we are arming ourselves against climate change.

Working together with nature pays off! This video explains why and how a controlled flood plain works with a reduced tide:

LIFE Sparc in figures

4 partners

LIFE Sparc is an initiative of Natuur en Bos, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, Flanders Hydraulics Research and Regionaal Landschap Schelde-Durme.

8 climate buffers

We are constructing 5 depoldered and 3 controlled flood plains with reduced tides in the provinces of Antwerp and East Flanders. We give the river more space and restore useful tidal nature. This concerns the regions Groot Schoor Hingene (Bornem), Uiterdijk and Vlassenbroek (Dendermonde), Groot Schoor Hamme, Wal-Zwijn and De Bunt (Hamme), Groot Broek (Temse and Waasmunster), and Klein Broek (Temse). These areas are part of the larger Sigma Plan

Read more about the specific actions in these eight regions

428 hectares of freshwater tidal nature

These 8 climate buffers form a total of 428 ha of freshwater tidal nature. Every day, river water flows in and out of the areas, to the rhythm of the tides.

This dynamic creates special tidal nature: freshwater mud flats and salt marshes, reed beds and willow-tide forests. Together, they form a robust and resilient ecosystem that is not only more adaptable to climate change, but also offers us a whole range of benefits.

Visualisation tidal nature
(click to enlarge)

8.5 million euro budget, including support from Europe

The project is carried out on behalf of the European LIFE Climate Action Programme. LIFE projects promote the protection of Europe’s ecosystems and contribute to Europe’s adaptation to climate change. LIFE Sparc runs from 2017 to 2022. European aid of EUR 2.4 million is planned. 

90 Ambassadors

From experience trails, teaching materials and guided walks to the annual Hoogtij event and more, there’s always something to do in the Scheldt river valley. Ninety ambassadors will be trained to explain how we work with nature in the Scheldt river valley to adapt to climate change. These ambassadors (30 entrepreneurs – 30 climate parents for schools – 30 guides) welcome you with open arms!

Exchanging knowledge

The LIFE Programme also ensures the exchange of knowledge between European countries. We share the solutions that we develop in Flanders with custodians of other tidal areas in Europe, like the Waterdunen partners in Zeeland, for instance. Just like us, they combine tides, nature, and recreation, but in a completely different way. We are also working with partners from other European estuaries, such as the Elbe, Ems, Weser, Humbler, and Seine rivers. We’re joining forces by exchanging knowledge and experiences through fascinating workshops and refreshing field visits.

Publications and research

LIFE Sparc leaflet: download

Z card LIFE Sparc

Bergenmeersen Project Book: download

Bergenmeersen: Construction of a Flood Control Area with Controlled Reduced Tide 

The objective of the project book of the Sigma Plan area Bergenmeersen is to explain the various aspects of the construction of Flood Control Area with Controlled Reduced Tide (FCA-CRT), from the initial conception.