Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen)
The Wadden Sea World Heritage in Lower Saxony embraces the National Park Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer. This area lies between the Dollard and the river Elbe and measures 2767 km², including parts of the North Sea by Borkum and Baltrum. These North Sea areas are important for common scoters when moulting their flight feathers. This is also where the Borkum Reef Grounds are, a remnant from the next to last glacial period. This reef still determines the sea current flow in this part of the Wadden Sea. Furthermore, the Borkum Reef Grounds make an ideal habitat for numerous animals.
Salt marshes as breakwaters
You find lots of salt marshes in Germany. A number of these areas were once embanked by man. Outside of the dikes new salt marshes were constructed. They help to protect the hinterland and make good breakwaters. They are certainly very handy during storm surges! In the meantime, the salt marshes have become a good habitat for plants and animals.
Influence from the rivers
Inside the National Park Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer lie three embayments that are in contact with the Wadden Sea: the Dollard, Jadebusen (or Jade) and Leybucht. The influence of the rivers Weser and Ems is very obvious and tangible. But even the more northerly lying Elbe doesn't leave the landscape untouched. Because the fresh river water gradually mixes with the seawater in these areas, brackish regions are created where unique and sometimes rare plants and animals can be found. Furthermore, they have adapted to the extremely changeable circumstances which make the tidal flats so extraordinary. An extremely exclusive habitat develops under these varying conditions. It forms a nursery for fish such as flounder. On the salt marshes, you find around 400 species of insects that have specially adapted themselves to the 25 species of plants that grow here. An insect life as found on the salt marshes of the Wadden Sea is found nowhere else in the world!
In the National Park Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer, you find the recently formed island Kachelotplate. Seawater transported so much sand to this former sandbank that it became too high to be flooded during high tide. There is even grass growing on it and small dunes have formed. That is why Kachelotplate was declared an island in 2003. And it forms one of the best examples of how landscapes take shape in the wadden region!