The nature restoration project 'Most-Keiheuvel: nature restoration on the transition from peat bogs to drift sand' is situated in the municipality of Balen, on the western rim of the Campine Plateau.
The as good as intact transition from land dunes (Keiheuvel) to an oligotrophic, seepage-fed peaty depression (Most) makes the project area particularly interesting from an ecological point of view.
- The project proposal gives priority to the restoration of the most characteristic and valuable habitats (open grasslands on land dunes, dry heaths, quaking bogs, forests) An ecohydrological study will be implemented in order to set out the hydrological restoration management for the Most.
- Besides this, the project will also seek to eliminate some eight fish migration bottlenecks.
- Communicating on the nature restoration measures is an important part of the project and will focus on awareness raising about vulnerable fish species, among other things.
- The orientation of recreational flows will also receive due attention. This implies the development of sustainable recreational services within a valuable natural environment (holding a very specific biodiversity, typical of the region), which will present an extra asset for tourism initiatives in the region (e.g. the camping lot, ...) and the local catering business.
The project officially started on 1 June 2012 and will run until 31 May 2017. This LIFE+ project was approved by the European Commission. The overall cost amounts to 4,095,945 €, of which Europe pays half the sum, the other partners paying the remaining half.
The project is a cooperation between several partners : the 'Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos', the 'dienst Integraal Waterbeleid' within the Province of Antwerp, Kempens Landschap vzw and Bosgroep Zuiderkempen vzw.