Grietherort Old Rhine

The Grietherort Old Rhine nature conservation area is in direct contact with the Bienen Old Rhine, Millinger Sea, Hurler Sea nature conservation area. Together, they form a unique oxbow complex that is still largely subject to the natural flood dynamism of the Rhine.

The Grietherort Old Rhine and the Reeserward gravel excavation form the heart of this nature conservation area. Both waterbodies are particularly significant for fish fauna thanks to their connection to the Rhine. The former quarry with its many flat banks, ditches and islands offers the young fish an ideal habitat.

The soft wood native to river meadows around the banks are characteristic and one of the most noticeable things. In its lower lying bank zones, which flood regularly - often for months at a time - a very special natural habitat has developed, the soft wood river meadows. Whereas animals can retreat from floods, plants are at their mercy without any protection. This can be difficult if the flood incidents last for a long time. White willow and poplars, which mainly grow here, are real survivors in this respect. It can hardly be imagined at low water, but at high water the Rhine spreads out as far as the road and floods the surrounding grassland.

Thanks to the settled, farming way of life, the grassland developed with the help of scythes and grazing animals. The meadows and pastures have existed here for centuries, which is why rare plants such as caraway, rough hawksbeard and meadow salsify can still be found here. Traditional grazing agriculture with very little use of fertiliser still have a niche here. Horse mint is also typical; like the other plants it gives structure to the grazing land and the yellow wagtail, endangered in North Rhine-Westphalia, like to use it as a hide.

The world of birds in the Grietherort Old Rhine nature conservation areas is very rich in species. In 2009 alone 71 species of breeding birds were recorded, seriously endangered species such as common redstart, curlew, grey partridge, common quail and meadow pipit. Here, too, the Reeserward excavation plays a major role, because the extensive flat banks represent optimal breeding and feeding habitats for the redshank, for example, which is highly endangered in North Rhine-Westphalia. If you follow a short, winding path from the car park, remarkable bird sights can be viewed from a small observation hill, protected by a wooden fence.

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