GUE is big on environmental conservation for all the right reasons and Project Baseline is central to this effort. Now we are given an opportunity to have a direct and immediate impact on conservation right here at home. Natuurpunt vzw, Flanders’ largest conservation organization, approached us with the request to help explore and catalog the flora and fauna in the ponds at the Bos van Aa.
The Bos van Aa, near Mechelen, 15km North of Brussels, has been recently set aside as a protected area. It is not open to the general public. Natuurpunt manages the site and is turning this 115ha area and the surrounding 65ha farmland, into a nature reserve.
There are three large ponds with depths between 4 and 12m, and several small ones. Bird and insect life is astonis- hingly rich. There’s wild orchids, frogs, endangered salamanders, deer, fox, even a handful of Galloways…
But nobody knows what’s living in those ponds… nobody’s been fishing, swimming, sailing or diving here (all illegal)… and that’s where we come in…
We’ve been given exclusive access to explore these virgin waters.
The project goals are:
- To explore and document the underwater environment with photos and video
- To count and identify the species of fish we encounter (there are unconfirmed rumors of catfish sightings)
- To confirm/update depth profiles (there are only some outdated underwater maps)
- To collect and analyze water, soil and plant samples 8 To have some good fun. Some of these ponds are big enough you need a DPV to get around.
Our next events are on May 2, July 26 and September 13. Come join us.
Peter Cosemans & Koenraad Van Schuylenbergh,